Categories
News/Blog

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!

Categories
News/Blog

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: claire@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca. 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.

Categories
News/Blog

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.

MORE ANIMAL ABUSE CAUGHT ON VIDEO AT ABBOTSFORD EGG FARM 

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…” 

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

Categories
News/Blog

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

Categories
Opinion Editorial

Canada needs to take the threat of disease from wildlife seriously

Article originally published in The Province.

Despite calls from experts to take action against the global wildlife trade, which scientists believe is a likely source of COVID-19, the response from national governments has been muted and mixed, with virtual silence from Canada. That’s a shame, as there is plenty Canada could do to improve our own safeguards against diseases from imported wildlife.

Whatever the precise source of COVID-19 might be, the science has been clear for years that zoonotic disease (disease transmitted from animals to humans) from wildlife is a serious threat, accounting for at least 70 per cent of all emerging diseases. And that threat is not just from the much-discussed wet markets in Asia. It’s from a legal global trade worth US$300 billion and an illegal trade worth US$23 billion, both of which involve and affect Canada. Yet there are questions about the coherence and effectiveness of Canada’s defences against disease from imported wildlife.

Currently, responsibility for keeping Canadians safe from foreign zoonotic diseases is spread across several government agencies, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), which are in turn networked with a myriad of other bodies, such as the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.

A 2016 study criticized this system, stating: “Canada lacks a coherent and effective regulatory framework to address emerging zoonotic diseases,” arguing that “there are gaps in disease surveillance, wildlife health concerns are not given due priority, risk assessment processes do not explicitly consider the impact of human action on wildlife health, and there is insufficient collaboration between government sectors.”

There also appear to be loopholes in the CFIA’s system for controlling which animals are allowed into the country. For example, the agency does not inspect reptiles (except turtles and tortoises) imported into Canada. As its website states, “there is no Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requirement to obtain an import permit, nor a health certificate. Under normal circumstances, there are no border inspections. Imports are permitted from any country, for any use, to any destination in Canada.”

Yet, reptiles are known to carry zoonotic diseases. Snakes were an early suspect in the research into the source of COVID-19, although they’ve since been ruled out.

The CFIA also says rodents (with some exceptions) can be imported into Canada without an import permit, health certificate, or inspection. So, for example, someone could import capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, into Canada, despite the fact they are known to carry dangerous ticks and have been known to shed coronaviruses. They are also sold online as pets.

The CFIA’s surveillance system is reactive rather than preventative, relying on prior intelligence indicating that a specific animal is a disease carrier. The system’s weakness was demonstrated when Canada prohibited pet Gambian rats from entering the country four months after they caused an outbreak of Monkeypox in the United States in 2003. Before the outbreak became manifest, the CFIA would have allowed the rats into Canada. Use of the precautionary principle, in the form of a ban on exotic pet imports, would be a far better safeguard.

Another concern is the lack of resources Canada devotes to fighting the illegal wildlife trade, one of a number of tasks given to the federal Wildlife Enforcement Directorate. According to a 2017 article in Canadian Geographic, the directorate had only 75 field officers nationwide. The article quotes the head of the directorate on the continued rise in wildlife crime: “And when you couple that with downward trends in government spending, that means more work for us and fewer resources to do it.” A 2017 survey of the directorate’s employees found that 65 per cent felt the quality of their work suffered because of “having to do the same or more work, but with fewer resources.”

Clearly, Canada must take the threat of disease from the wildlife trade more seriously. It needs a coherent regulatory framework to address the threat from zoonotic diseases. It needs to ban the import of wild and exotic animals and it needs to devote more resources to stop wildlife smuggling.

In July 2003, the medical journal The Lancet described the wild animal trade as “a disaster ignored” and called for its end. The warning went unheeded and that disaster is now upon us. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

Categories
Media Release

Vancouver Humane Society calls for investigation into animal care at Greater Vancouver Zoo

Call follows euthanization of moose and allegations of poor animal care

Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) says disturbing images of an emaciated moose at the Greater Vancouver Zoo and allegations of poor animal care should be investigated by the BC SPCA.

The moose, which has now been euthanized by the zoo, appeared to be emaciated in photos posted online by a zoo visitor. Subsequent media reports included allegations of poor animal care by an individual claiming to be a former zoo employee.

“The photos of the moose were very disturbing,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker, “but equally troubling are allegations that animals at the zoo have not been receiving adequate care and that a number have recently died.” He said the zoo should publicly report all animal deaths.

Fricker said the allegations should be investigated by the BC SPCA using independent veterinary experts rather than veterinarians paid by the zoo.

VHS is encouraging the former zoo employee to make a confidential report to the BC SPCA.

VHS recently released a report that called on the zoo to improve conditions for its animals, stating undersized and barren enclosures are preventing animals from engaging in natural behaviours.

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Categories
Media Release

Thought-provoking billboard urges Vancouverites to “Go Veg”

New Vancouver Humane Society ad campaign promotes kindness to all animals

Media release
July 23, 2020

Vancouver – A striking new billboard in downtown Vancouver is encouraging Vancouverites to treat farmed animals with the same compassion as other animals by transitioning to a plant-based diet. The billboard is part of The Vancouver Humane Society’s (VHS) new Go Veg campaign.

The billboard, which shows the faces of a cow and a dog with near-identical markings, states: “Animals are the same in all the ways that matter” and urges people to “Be kind to every kind.”

“Farmed animals are thinking, feeling beings, with complex emotional lives – just like the pets we open our homes and hearts to,” said VHS campaign director Emily Pickett. “They suffer greatly under today’s industrial animal agriculture system. Our Go Veg billboard calls on society to recognize that animals, regardless of the label they are given – farmed or companion – are the same in all the ways that matter.”

Pickett said that, in 2019, more than 830 million land animals were raised and slaughtered for food in Canada. “Our overconsumption of animal products has led to the rise of the industrial animal agriculture system, characterized by large numbers of animals confined in cramped, barren and unnatural environments and subject to painful procedures, lengthy transport journeys and frightening slaughter conditions.”

The billboard ad will run in select locations in Vancouver throughout the summer. In addition, VHS is running ads in 24 Vancouver condo buildings, also promoting a plant-based diet.

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Vancouver Humane Society billboard near the intersection of Georgia & Richards in Vancouver.
Categories
Media Release

Vancouver Humane Society says horse carriage rides in Stanley Park are unsafe

Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is commenting on the controversy over the traffic problem caused in Stanley Park by horse-drawn carriages. The society says the carriages not only create a risk to public safety but also compromise the horses’ welfare.

This week, the operator of the carriage horse rides was quoted in media stating that conducting rides under a new traffic configuration in the park was an “accident waiting to happen.” 

But VHS points out that a near-disastrous incident involving a runaway carriage took place in 2016, when spooked horses left the roadway and came close to falling off the seawall.

“The horse carriages have always been an accident waiting to happen, whatever the traffic arrangement in the park,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Now is the opportunity for the City to listen to local residents and prioritize safety, ensuring the increase in cycle traffic is adequately accommodated.”

Fricker said the current temporary arrangement, which provides one lane for motorists and another for cyclists might be a reasonable compromise but putting horse carriages in the mix appears unworkable. “If the new traffic pattern gives much-needed access to the park to both motorists and cyclists, it would be a shame to scrap it because of one business putting public and animal safety at risk unnecessarily.”

VHS opposes carriage horse rides in the city because of the dangers of the horses’ close proximity to traffic, the exposure to noise and pollution and long hours standing in all weather conditions.

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Categories
Uncategorized

Free Wills Month postponed until October 2020

Due to COVID-19, this year’s Free Wills Month has been moved from May to October 2020. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

You can support our work for years to come by leaving a legacy for the animals this Free Wills Month! If you’re an animal lover aged 55 or over, starting October 1, you have a unique opportunity to either make a new will or revise your current will, for free! VHS is participating in a campaign that allows you to provide for family and friends and make a significant contribution to charity, if you choose to do so. There is absolutely no obligation to include a charity in order to participate.

Free Wills Month brings together respected charities to offer people aged 55 and over the opportunity to have simple wills written or updated free of charge by using participating lawyers.

For more information, visit: www.freewillsmonth.ca. If you have any questions, contact Claire Yarnold claire@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca or call 604 266 9744.

Categories
Uncategorized

A sneak peak at our new Go Veg ads

While COVID-19 has put a temporary hold on our work with schools to put more plant-based options on cafeteria menus, we’re continuing to speak out and work behind the scenes to support food system change that will benefit animals, the planet and public health.

We’re excited to share a sneak peek of our brand new Go Veg ads, which build on our popular “Food vs. Friend” bus ad campaign that we’ve run the last few years. The ads will touch on the benefits of a plant-based diet and will be running online and in public spaces (see billboard above) throughout Metro Vancouver in the coming months.

VHS also participated in the City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency survey and advocated for climate actions that include transitioning public menus toward fewer animal products and more plant-based options. The consumption of food makes up nearly half of the City of Vancouver’s ecological footprint and animal products have a larger environmental impact than plant-based foods, making this an opportunity to change the food system to help protect both animals and the planet.

VHS executive director, Amy Morris and projects and communications Director, Peter Fricker also recorded a podcast in which they discuss local plant-based foods and food sustainability. You can hear their discussion here.