animal welfare compassion Cruelty-free Food and Drink News/Blog

Shop and eat cruelty-free this Christmas

If you’re looking to do some cruelty-free Christmas shopping or stock up on vegetarian or vegan goodies, here are a few excellent businesses we recommend.


Vegan Yarn StudioVegan Yarn Studio logo

Vegan Yarn Studio is a local business that hand dyes and sells their own cruelty free vegan yarn in their home studio.  Not to be missed if you’re part of Vancouver’s knitting community!

422 Fader Street New Westminster, BC
V3L 3T1
(778) 232-6752


Nice Shoes

Nice Shoes Nice Shoes is Vancouver’s only vegan shoe store.  You can find other accessories as well as shoes: purses, bags, belts, wallets, guitar straps, and vegan cookbooks.  Check it out for cruelty free accessorizing!

3568 Fraser Street Vancouver, BC
V5V 4C6
(604) 558-3000



Karmavore is a 100% vegan owned and operated specialty shopKarmavore2 featuring its own deli café, bakery, eco-friendly shoes, cosmetics, cookbooks, personal care items, and animal rights gear.  An essential place to visit for any animal rights enthusiast.

610 Columbia Street New Westminster, BC
V3M 1A5
(604) 527-4212


Elephant in the RoomElephant in the Room 2

Elephant in the Room is a mission-driven, non-profit organization that believes in “compassion shopping.” On their website, you can buy things like apparel and accessories for men and women, facial, body, and hair care products, and “eco-friendly pillows in whimsical designs.” Of course, all of the products are 100% vegan.

Vancouver, BC
(604) 355-1442


3G Vegetarian Restaurant
3G Vegetarian Restaurant

Voted “Best in the West” by VegNews Magazine, 3G Vegetarian Restaurant is the place to go for vegan Chinese food in Vancouver. With a full menu that includes dim sum, homemade gyoza, and  fried udon, it’s a cruelty-free dining experience not to be missed!

3424 Cambie St Vancouver, BC
V5Y2A9 (604) 568-9008


Fairy CakesFairy Cakes

Fairy Cakes sells delicious cupcakes and other baked goodies made with the highest quality ingredients; it’s 100% vegan, dairy- free, egg -free, and nut-free. The place to go if you’ve got a sweet tooth.

3586 Fraser St Vancouver, BC
V5V 4C6
(604) 442-YUMM (9866)


Zimt Artisan ChocolatesZimt Artisan Chocolates

Zimt Artisan Chocolates is a local business that sells delectable organic, fair trade, and vegan chocolates in a variety of flavours. Next time you buy a gift, try out Zimt Artisan Chocolates.

1025 Commercial Dr
Vancouver, BC
V5L 3X1
(604) 707-0088


Dazey Dog Pet PhotographyDazey Dog Pet Photography

Tanya Halvorson, the creator of Dazey Dog Pet Photography, is a member of Vancouver’s animal rights community. Her company specializes in cruelty free pet photography.  Fun photos capturing exactly who your rescued pet is!

Vancouver, BC
(604) 730-2899


The AcornThe Acorn

Late night restaurant and bar The Acorn provides vegan, raw, and gluten free options for the vegan diner. The bar is open until 2am with a special bar menu starting at 10pm every night. With specialties that range from “Hen of the Woods” and Halloumi to their signature cocktails, it’s a must try!

3995 Main Street Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P3
(604) 566-9001


Dharma KitchenDharma Kitchen2

Dharma Kitchen is a fully vegan restaurant, which offers a nourishing diet for the physical body and a meditative atmosphere for the spiritual mind. Options include “tempeh” burgers, salads, soups, brown rice bowls, and much more!

3667 West Broadway (at Alma)
Vancouver, BC
V6R 2B8
(604) 738-3899


Edible FloursEdible Flours

Edible Flours is a natural vegan bakery offering goodies to satisfy all your sweet cravings.  Their baked goods are natural as well as dairy and egg free. They offer baked chocolate chip cookies, birthday cakes, and yummy items for special events.

2280 West Broadway Vancouver, BC
(604) 734-8351



Vegan Pizza HouseVegan Pizza House

Vegan Pizza House offers a wide variety of pizzas (including gluten-free options) in addition to donairs, lasagna, and spaghetti.  The best place to go in Vancouver for vegan pizza!

15565 Marine Drive
White Rock, BC
V4B 1C9
(604) 248-5334



Coquette Faux FurriersCoquette Faux Furriers3

Coquette Faux Furriers is a cruelty free store for burlesque dancers! If you’re in the business of burlesque, and you’re looking for that perfect classic “fur” accessory, then you’ve found the right place. All of the accessories here are animal friendly faux fur!

Victoria, BC





What is it that beautiful women have that every woman wants? Beautiful, healthy, radiant skin. Every woman can be a natural beauty with Nucelle Mandelic Marine Complex. Recapture the essence of your natural beauty.











Snail House BakerySnail house bakery 3

Vancouver’s premiere vegan bakery in Kits, Snail House Bakery has homemade vegan treats for order and pick-up. Wheat-free, gluten-free, and soy-free options are available.  They carry delicious custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies, truffles, and more!

5955 Yew St
Vancouver, BC
V6M 3Y7
(778) 230-6849



Loving Hut Express TruckLoving Hut Express Truck

Loving Hut Express, the fastest growing international vegan food chain, makes some of the best sandwiches, onion rings, burgers, and fries in Vancouver.

On the South corner of Davie and Pacific Boulevard Vancouver, BC
(604) 780-1029



Kama Natural SoapKama

100% plant-based soap and candles made with only pure essential oils. Combining different plant oils results in a soap that doesn’t melt into the soap dish and using herbs, grains and essential oils make it smell intoxicating!

Ganges P.O. Box 505
Gangex, Salt Spring Island, BC
V8K 2W2
(250) 537 8846




Tucker 1And don’t forget! – the perfect cruelty-free gift is one in honour of your loved one at Christmas! Send a donation (by cheque, credit card or online through our website) to VHS in lieu of a Christmas gift. Remember to include the name and address of your loved one and we’ll send them a card acknowledging your thoughtfulness. Questions?: 

VHS was able to save Tucker (left) from certain death thanks to the generous support of our donors.  

animal welfare compassion cruelty News/Blog rodeo

Majority of BC residents oppose rodeos, trophy hunts and killing animals for fur

Calf-roping is cruel

A majority of British Columbians are opposed to rodeos, according to a poll by research company Insights West.

The poll found that 56% of B.C. residents are opposed to rodeos, with only 38% in favour of them.

The poll also revealed that large majorities of people in B.C. are opposed to trophy hunting and killing animals for fur.

“Across British Columbia, only one-in-ten residents (10%) are in favour of hunting animals for sport, while 88% are opposed to the practice. Killing animals for their fur is endorsed by just 15% of British Columbians, and rejected by 81%,” said Insights West’s press release on the poll results.

Insights West has also published a more detailed report on the poll findings.

animal welfare compassion News/Blog

The power of love – a dog story from the heart


Robbie & Leanne - seawall stroll

The following is a story from VHS’s current newsletter.  Sadly, as the newsletter went to print, Robbie’s condition began to deteriorate. In a final act of kindness, his life was ended peacefully and painlessly. 

Leanne McConnachie has arms even Michelle Obama would kill for. Slim, strong and tight as coiled steel. At age 47 she is a picture of athletic grace.

Yet she never goes near a gym. Or a track. The reason McConnachie, the Vancouver Humane Society’s director of farm animal programs, looks so good is love and the sacrifice that goes with it. McConnachie is the “mom” of a ten-year-old boxer dog named Robbie with degenerative myelopathy. Robbie can’t use his hind legs anymore, which means if he wants to go anywhere — and he does, constantly — he has to be carried there.

Never mind that he weighs 33 kilos, or 10 kilos more than the largest suitcase Air Canada will allow you to take free from Vancouver to Toronto. Never mind that McConnachie only weighs 20 kilos more. Robbie still has to be carried, so McConnachie carries him. It’s what love is about.

Robbie wasn’t always this way. When McConnachie, and her husband, Rob, adopted him from Boxer Rescue five years ago, he was fine. As lively, playful and spirited as most boxers are. But three years later he started to drag one of his hind paws. Then he had trouble moving his legs. Eventually when he was diagnosed with myelopathy, a disease in which his immune system literally attacks his nerves and spinal cord, Robbie became paralyzed.

But not immobile. The McConnachies saw to that. Three times a day they hauled him out for walks. They picked up his hind end using a specially designed harness that let him “run” using his front legs only. The catch was that they had to run too. When that got to be too much, they bought a special doggie wheelchair for him. Now they use it to “walk” him to the beach, where he digs in the sand.

Because the remarkable thing about Robbie, says McConnachie, is that he doesn’t appear to know he’s sick. “I see him trying to stand up all the time,” she says. “Another dog will come by and he’ll want to chase him. Or he’ll want to chase a ball. He’s completely oblivious to the disease. So we joke ‘He’s okay as long as someone’s got his bum’.”

Except it can’t go on forever. One day the disease will reach Robbie’s front legs, and he’ll have to be euthanized before they too become paralyzed. McConnachie knows that day is coming very soon and she will have to summon the courage to do what he needs her to do.

The only thing she is certain of is that when Robbie goes, she’ll never get another boxer. Because like so many other owners of so-called purebred dogs, she’s learned they’re too fragile, too delicate, too prone to illness to lead strong healthy lives. Selective breeding has seen to that. Toys and miniatures suffer from dislocated kneecaps. Large dogs succumb to heat prostration because they can’t cool their bodies properly. Bulldogs’ large heads and narrow hips mean they now can only be born by Caesarian section.

There’s now a genetic test for degenerative myelopathy, so Dr. Andrew Forsyth of Como Lake Veterinary Hospital advises anyone hoping to adopt a dog that’s prone to it — German shepherds, corgis and boxers are among 43 breeds that are — should adopt that dog from a “responsible” breeder who’s tested their breeding pairs.

That’s no longer enough for McConnachie. “So many of these terrible diseases and skeletal problems are the result of us selfishly breeding in genetic traits to achieve an arbitrary look. Maybe if we expanded the genetic pool and allowed them to revert back to a more natural look, they’ve have fewer problems and their owners would suffer less heartbreak.”

In the meantime, however, love is going to see her and Robbie through. It’s what being a good mom — even a good dog mom — is all about.

Nicholas Read is a journalism instructor at Langara College, an author and a former Vancouver Sun reporter.  He is a long time supporter of VHS and a great friend to animals. 

animal welfare compassion Food and Drink News/Blog

Gardein: A pioneer in meat-free products


Gardein founder Yves Potvin talks to VHS about the popularity of meat alternatives.

VHS encourages people to transition to a plant-based diet because reducing or eliminating meat consumption ensures fewer animals will suffer on cruel factory farms or be killed in slaughterhouses.

But many people who have always had meat at the centre of their meals find making that transition difficult.  Sure, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks and lots of resources online, but for those who don’t like cooking or are pressed for time it can still be a challenge.

This is where meat-free convenience foods have a role to play.  The market for these products is currently booming, with new producers emerging and established ones growing fast.  One of the most successful is B.C.’s own Gardein, which produces a wide range of plant-based foods (everything from Chick’n Scallopini to Stuffed Turk’y to Meatless Meatballs).  With most of its sales in the U.S., Gardein is now in more than 18,000 stores and sales are almost doubling every two years.

Gardein’s founder and president Yves Potvin met with VHS staff recently to discuss the growth in plant-based products and Gardein’s place in the market.  Potvin, who pioneered the first veggie dog with his previous company, says the meat alternatives industry, with about $1 billion in sales, is still relatively small but has great potential.  “The cattle meat business is over $100 billion, so we’re not even touching one per cent,” he says.  “It’s a young industry.” Nevertheless, Potvin sees encouraging precedents such as dairy alternatives (e.g. soy, almond milk), which he says is about eight per cent of the dairy market.

The growing demand for alternative sources of protein is being driven by several factors, says Potvin.  One is the unsustainability of meat production, which is environmentally damaging and resource intensive; another is the health risk associated with overconsumption of meat (obesity, heart disease, diabetes); and, of course, ethical concerns about eating animals, especially those raised on factory farms.

Potvin believes his customers, who are mostly between 18 and 40, understand these issues and are open to change.  “The young consumer gets it,” he says, adding that younger women are especially attracted to Gardein products’ low calorie count.  There’s no doubt that Gardein’s brand emphasizes healthy ingredients (such as non-GMO soy protein, organic ancient grain flour, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables) and health benefits (cholesterol free as well as trans and saturated fat free), but convenience is a major selling point.

“We are in the convenient food business,” says Potvin.  “We’re really into healthy, convenient food made from plant-based protein.”  But convenient, processed food has its critics – and Potvin takes them head on:

“There are the Michael Pollans of this world that say well, it’s processed food. Okay. Bread is processed. Pasta is processed. Our process is very similar to bread or pasta. If you eat bread or pasta, yes its processed food. And other arguments are ‘well why do you have to do it like a McDonald’s nugget?’. Well, one of the biggest things that I heard from consumers in their letters is ‘my son plays baseball and after the game we all end up at my house and if we have your nuggets the kids don’t know the difference.’ He’s happy. He fits in. It’s inclusive. “

“And let’s face it. When you finish a game of baseball you’re not going to go and eat kale!”

Gardein works to make its products fit into familiar, mainstream patterns of eating, avoiding the negative stereotyping of vegan and vegetarian foods.  “There’s a perception that you have to be wearing Birkenstocks or be a hippy to eat this kind of food,” says Potvin, explaining why it’s important to make people feel comfortable and at home with Gardein meals, right down to every detail of production.  “We use similar shapes and forms that people are accustomed to.”

But Potvin, a trained chef, is no enemy of traditional cooking from scratch. He simply acknowledges the reality of today’s culture, in which convenience food is a major element.  If people are going to eat it anyway, why not make it healthier, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly?

From VHS’s point of view, anything that reduces meat consumption and helps people transition to a plant-based diet is welcome.  For the billions of animals suffering on factory farms, the transition can’t come soon enough.

This article is from the current edition of VHS’s newsletter.

For more information on Gardein products visit

For information on VHS’s Eat Less Meat project visit:

animal welfare compassion cruelty Food and Drink News/Blog

VHS bus ad now on Metro Vancouver routes

087Our ad “Food, Friend, Why?” is now on Translink diesel buses throughout Metro Vancouver.  The ad raises an important and provocative moral question: why do we eat one animal and befriend another? Most of us wouldn’t dream of eating a cat or a dog, but when one considers the intelligence and sentience of farmed animals, it doesn’t make sense to consider cows or pigs or chickens as somehow so different.


Thank you to the generous donors who made this ad possible.




animal welfare compassion fundraising News/Blog Scotiabank

VHS reaches Scotiabank Charity Challenge goal of $25,000!

photo of 2013 Scotiabank charity Chicken Runners from VHS
Some of the Chicken Runners Team after the race: From left to right: Jennifer Kelly, Miles Linklater, Leanne McConnachie, Debra Probert, Alexandra Cadman, Kaitlyn Anderson, Liberty Mulkani, Anneliese Probert, Odie Probert (asleep).

We did it! We reached (and exceeded!) our goal of $25,000 at the 2013 Scotiabank Charity Challenge!

On Sunday, June 23, 2013, VHS supporters walked or ran in support of the Vancouver Humane Society’s work on behalf of animals.  To date, we have raised $25,626 from 273 sponsors of our team members. That’s amazing!

There is still time to donate (and you can check out how much each of our team members raised) – but hurry, donations must be received by July 8th.

Even though we exceeded our goal, your donation will not only make a difference to an animal that needs help, but it will also improve VHS’s chances of winning an extra $5,000 Scotiabank award for the highest amount raised per runner! We won it last year, thanks to many of you, and we’re hopeful that we’re in the running again (as of now, VHS is in 4th place overall).

This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and we’re extremely grateful to everyone for such incredible support. Every single donor will receive a personalized thank you from the VHS Board of Directors and staff.

Maybe you can run (or walk) for VHS next year. Watch this space for more updates!

animal welfare compassion fundraising News/Blog PETA

A remarkable champion for animals

Dog with AshleyAshley Fruno has spent her life working for animals.  She trained with VHS as a teenager and went on to work for PETA in Asia, campaigning fearlessly in places where animal welfare laws are weak or non-existent, where protesting can be dangerous and where life for animals can be particularly hard.

Now, she is making a personal appeal for help with an incredible project she has taken on in the most challenging circumstances.  Her story is here. Please help if you can. Like most charities, VHS focuses on its own work and doesn’t usually promote other fundraising appeals. But we’re making an exception – for an exceptional champion for animals.

compassion cruelty News/Blog plant-based diet

Two ways of looking at animals

photo of animal Goat


With compassion

This heart warming video about a goat sanctuary demonstrates animal sentience and capacity for emotion.

As a commodity

This CBC story shows how the same animal is viewed as just a product, whose only value is economic.

Humans can choose not to treat animals as commodities by moving to a plant-based diet.