This month is Free Wills Month

For October is Free Wills Month and you have the chance to support our work for years to come by leaving a legacy for the animals. If you are an animal lover aged 55 or over, from October 1-31, you have a unique opportunity to either make a new will or revise your current will, for free! There is absolutely no obligation to include a charity in your will in order to participate. This is the last year the VHS is participating in this program, and a great opportunity to plan for the future.
You can have a simple will written or updated free of charge through lawyers participating in this campaign. If you’d like to participate or get more information, please visit the Free Wills website. If you have any questions, please contact Claire Yarnold at 604 266 9744 or email


Treating people and their pets with dignity

For many people, their pet is their lifeline and mental health support. We know from separation anxiety, cuddles, and protective behaviours that the feeling is mutual! Across Canada, people face difficult decisions as they struggle with poverty, and sometimes those decisions involve the well-being of themselves and their best friend. VHS received a two-year grant from the B.C. government to create a training program for animal services providers to ensure their programs provide trauma-informed care to people and their pets. We’ve recruited Celeste Morales as Lead Researcher to do this work. Celeste has a Master’s in Sociology and wrote her thesis on poverty reduction. (See full bio.) Welcome Celeste!


VHS supports pets in need due to Covid-19

Calls have been pouring in to our veterinary assistance hotline as the COVID-19 shutdowns continue. Each month, more and more people are experiencing financial crisis. They are stressed and worried; the sighs of relief are tangible when our program coordinator, Terri, confirms that their pet can be helped. We would not have been able to help all the cases that come to us without the financial support from the Community Response Fund, made possible by the Vancouver Foundation, Vancity Credit Union, United Way Lower Mainland, and the City of Vancouver. They provided $10,000 to ensure we are able tomeet the increased demand for the program. Thank you also to our donors who give generously to the McVitie program!


More municipalities take action on cruel rodenticides

The story of Lucky the owl, who was found poisoned in North Vancouver not once, but twice in a matter of weeks, has revived public calls for a ban on anticoagulant rodenticides. Wildlife are often the victims of poisons used by businesses, landlords, municipalities and homeowners to control rodent populations. These “secondary poisonings” happen when birds of prey or other predators eat poisoned rodents, causing a slow and painful death.

Thankfully, Lucky survived and was released after receiving treatment, but other animals who encounter these poisons aren’t so fortunate. The good news is that a growing number of B.C. municipalities are now taking action. In the months following Lucky’s poisonings, several municipalities have banned rodenticides on municipal properties, including the District and City of North Vancouver, Port Moody, Victoria and a number of other Vancouver Island communities. Most recently, West Vancouver has voted to consider a ban. Given that the wider use of rodenticides is regulated at the provincial level, the next step will be for municipalities to urge the province to consider a B.C.-wide ban.

VHS has submitted letters of support for municipal rodenticide bans and will advocate for a province-wide ban. We’ve also joined Owl Watch BC, a coalition of wildlife advocates. To learn more about taking action to ban rodenticides in your community, email VHS Campaign Director, Emily Pickett, at  


Go Veg ads hit streets (and elevators) in Metro Vancouver

With regular summer events and outreach put on hold this year due to COVID-19, VHS has been busy finding other avenues to share our Go Veg message. We’re pleased to report that the new ads have been running on billboards and elevator screens throughout Metro Vancouver this summer and we’ve received positive feedback about the new designs and messaging. You can see all of the new ads by visiting our Go Veg homepage.

We’ve also been busy online, presenting our plant-based programs to an audience of approximately 2000 people at an online music festival in July. In addition, we hosted a webinar, featuring VHS Executive Director, Amy Morris and Campaign Director, Emily Pickett. The discussion focused on powerful actions we can take as individuals to protect animal welfare. If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here.  


Horses and traffic don’t mix

In August, VHS launched a campaign calling on the Vancouver Park Board to remove the horse-drawn trolley from Stanley Park.

Having horse-drawn trolleys or carriages in urban settings is just not safe. This became clear in 2016, when the Stanley Park trolley’s horses were spooked by traffic noise and bolted, nearly taking a trolley full of tourists off the sea wall.

Due to a changed traffic configuration, the trolley was sharing the roadway through the park with motorist and cyclists. This created an additional safety hazard as drivers attempted to pass the slow-moving trolley by veering into the cycle lane.

The horses, who spend long hours on hard pavement in all weathers, are also exposed to vehicle exhaust.

Nearly 7000 people signed our petitions to the Park Board to remove the trolley.  To date, the board has not responded.


Speak up for animals!

Join us on Tuesday October 20th for an evening of entertainment and learning at our first annual virtual storytelling event!

You can connect with fellow animal lovers in the community, as we hear stories from B.C. based advocates about their journeys through animal protection, animal advocacy and awareness raising.

Our guest speakers include Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) storyteller and ambassador Amanda Nahanee; animal lover and CTV News Vancouver weather anchor Ann Luu; Squamish-local James Slade, a long-time conservationist specializing in the field of law enforcement, having worked in anti-poaching in Southern Africa for 10 years; actor, filmmaker and animal rights activist Katherine Ramdeen, who will share her plant-based journey; and there will be a live freestyle performance from Afro Van Connect, an organization that empowers the voices of African descent youth through conversation, collaboration, creation and performance.

You don’t want to miss it. Purchase your tickets today!


Join our online silent auction Oct 20-26!

We’re holding our first ever online silent auction this fall with more than 60 items available to bid on, all generously donated by local businesses. The auction will run from October 20-26, so be sure to mark your calendar.  

There’s something for everyone in our auction, including: hotel stays and pet food, plants and plant-based gift boxes, clothing and accessories, books and beauty products, mountain biking lessons and yoga classes, just to name a few! The silent auction is the perfect place to purchase unique holiday gifts for loved ones or to treat yourself to something special, and all for a good cause.

The silent auction will provide much needed assistance to improve animal’s lives after our plans for in-person events in 2020 were grounded due to COVID-19 restrictions. All proceeds from the auction will go towards our work for animals.

To browse the items available in the silent auction, click here. To register to receive updates on the items available in our silent auction, and to be notified when the auction starts, please email: If you do not have internet access but would like to participate in the auction, please call Claire Yarnold (604 266 9744), who will register you to place bids via phone.


New allegations of animal cruelty at Abbotsford farm

Animal activists release video of animal cruelty at Abbotsford egg farm

Video has been released by local animal activists which appears to show yet another case of extreme animal cruelty at an egg farm in Abbotsford, B.C.

Similar cases of alleged cruelty to chickens at farms in Abbotsford occurred in 2017 and 2018.

The group, BC Animal Ag Uncovered, released the following video and press release.(Warning: graphic):

ELITE Farm Services Abusing Birds Again (2020) **DISTURBING CONTENT**

July 16, 2020 – Covert citizen footage taken at an egg farm at the 32000 block of Huntingdon Road in Abbotsford, BC shows egg-laying hens being loaded on trucks destined for Superior Poultry Processors slaughterhouse in Coquitlam, BC. One of the workers is seen wearing an ELITE Farm Services safety vest.


Video taken on July 15, 2020 shows severe animal cruelty at an egg farm on the 32000 block of Huntingdon Road in Abbotsford, B.C. The disturbing footage shows workers callously throwing spent egg-laying hens into crates, grabbing the chickens by a single leg or wing. One of the workers is seen wearing an ELITE Chicken Catching Services shirt. 

Unedited longer video clips can be viewed here and here

The witness who took the new video said, “the chickens were being flung into crates head-first,” “some were thrown in cages by their wings and many thrown in by one leg. I saw workers close the crate lids on the necks and limbs of these poor birds.” 

After reviewing the footage, Veterinarian Dr. Nadine Meyer stated, “improper handling of chickens, as seen here several times, may result in injuries ranging from bruises and head trauma (concussions), to fractured bones or dislocated joints.” 

Sadly, this is not the first time Elite Farm Services Ltd. has been caught abusing animals. In June 2017, Elite was the subject of a video exposé after a whistleblower of animal rights group Mercy For Animals filmed employees stomping on live birds, ripping conscious chickens apart and violently slamming others against crates & walls. CTV coverage can be viewed here

Additionally, Elite was associated with another animal cruelty investigation at a different Abbotsford egg farm in 2018. Media coverage for the story can be found here and here

The company was charged with 38 counts of unlawfully harming chickens related to the 2017 Mercy For Animals investigation. Their pre-trial conference was in New Westminster Thursday August 13, 2020. There will be a preliminary inquiry on September 28 and Elite is scheduled to be tried by Jury in January 2021. 

“In 2017, Mercy For Animals exposed egregious animal abuse by Elite Farm Services, with chickens having their limbs torn off and being tossed around like footballs, slammed into objects and hit and kicked,” said Leah Garcés, president of Mercy For Animals. “It’s very concerning that this new footage suggests the company, which still has charges pending for its beating and loading of chickens in the prior case, apparently has not done enough to stamp out rough handling and callous treatment of animals.”  

According to section 6 of the industry’s own Code of Practice for the Handling of Laying Hens,  

“Hens have weak bones by the end of lay. As a result, there is a high risk of bone fractures when hens are handled prior to transport (2). Care in handling, such as catching end-of-lay hens by both legs rather than one, reduces bone breakage (8). If layer hens are carried by one leg only, there is a greater chance of birds suffering from fractures and hip dislocations.” 

“All parties involved in the catching and transporting process have a responsibility and obligation to ensure catching, transfer, and holding on-farm is undertaken in such a manner that minimizes stress and injury.” 

“Birds must be placed in transport containers gently…” 


VHS is monitoring the situation and will comment further as details emerge. Media coverage can be seen here.


Stanley Park

Stanley Park’s horse-drawn trolley is a tragic accident waiting to happen.

Let the Park Board know you support removing the trolley

In 2016, horses pulling a tram full of tourists through Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park were spooked by traffic. The frightened animals bolted off the roadway, crossing a bike path and smashing a park bench before nearly taking the tram over the seawall.

Stanley Park horses spooked by car horn take tourists on wild ride

Some tourists in Vancouver’s Stanley Park went for an unexpected ride after a pair of horses pulling a carriage were spooked during an anti-pipeline protest….

Fortunately, no horses or people were seriously hurt, however, such incidents could easily occur in the future. Stanley Park’s horse-drawn tram is a tragic accident waiting to happen.

Being surrounded by motor vehicle traffic forces horses to inhale toxic exhaust and causes them mental distress, which can make the animals unpredictable and potentially dangerous to park pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles. There are also concerns about traffic being slowed in the lane currently allocated to motor vehicles, leading to motorists unsafely passing the tram in the lane allocated to cyclists.

Many cities, including Montreal, have banned such vehicles. It’s time for Vancouver to do the same.

The Vancouver Humane Society and UBC Animal Justice have sent a letter to Park Board Commissioners calling on them to end the horse-drawn tram in Stanley Park and put the safety of the horses, cyclists, and motorists first.

You can help prevent a tragic accident from happening – sign the petition now.

How you can help

Say no to horse-drawn trolleys in Stanley Park