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Media Release

Why is the veterinary profession silent about cruelty to rodeo animals?

VANCOUVER, July 4, 2019 /CNW/ – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) to speak out against cruel rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede and rodeos across Canada. More than 1400 people have emailed the CVMA about the issue, as part of a VHS campaign.

The society says the CVMA should act in accordance with its own position on the use of animals in entertainment by taking a public stand against inhumane rodeo events.

The CVMA’s position statement on animals being used in entertainment and recreation states that it “opposes activities, contests, or events that have a high probability of causing injury, distress, or illness.” It also states that: “Animals should not be forced to perform actions or tasks that result in physical or mental distress or discomfort.”

VHS says it is self-evident that animals in certain rodeo events are forced to perform actions that result in, at the very least, distress and discomfort. “So why is the CVMA silent on the abuse of these animals, which are subjected to fear, pain and stress for the sake of entertainment,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.

Fricker points out that the CVMA website says “Animal welfare advocacy is a priority of the CVMA and the Canadian Veterinary Oath requires CVMA members to “prevent and relieve animal suffering.”

“The CVMA needs to live up to its principles and take a public stand against rodeo cruelty,” said Fricker.

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Media Release

New poll shows majority of Chilliwack residents oppose rodeos

Vancouver- The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has asked candidates for Chilliwack mayor and council to state their position on the controversial Chilliwack Fair rodeo, as a new poll reveals that most Chilliwack residents are opposed to rodeos.

The poll, commissioned by VHS from Research Co., found that 52 per cent of Chilliwack residents are opposed to rodeos, with 40 per cent in favour.  VHS has provided each candidate with the poll results.

The poll also found that 62 per cent of B.C. residents are opposed to rodeos, with 29 per cent in favour.  It also found that 70 per cent of B.C. residents aged 18 to 34 are opposed to rodeo, with 25 per cent in favour.

“The poll shows that most people in Chilliwack don’t agree with rodeos and we’d like to hear the candidates’ response to that,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.  “It also shows that there is little support for rodeo among younger people in B.C., suggesting rodeos will become even more unpopular in the coming years.”

Fricker said that VHS hoped candidates would be forthcoming with their views, given the public controversy over the Chilliwack Fair rodeo during the summer.  “We think people running for office should be willing to give their position on a matter of public interest,” he said.  Each candidate was contacted by email on September 25.

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Media Release

Photos show electric shock devices in use at Chilliwack Fair rodeo

Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has obtained photographs showing an electric shock device apparently being used on animals at last weekend’s Chilliwack Fair rodeo.  VHS says such devices are cruel and should not be used to make rodeo animals perform.  The society says it will make a formal complaint to the fair and will demand an explanation as to why the electric prods were present.

VHS says the photos show the device being held by a man preparing bulls for release from the chutes in several bull-riding events at the rodeo.  The device appears to be an electric prod known as a “Hot-Shot”, which can generate 4500 volts.

“No animal should be exposed to electric shocks just to make them perform for a crowd,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.  “Rodeo animals already suffer from being roped, spurred and goaded into performing.  Now they have to endure electric shocks as well?”

VHS also obtained a number of other photos at the rodeo, which it says clearly shows rodeo animals in distress.

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Media Release

Pamela Anderson tweets her opposition to Chilliwack Fair rodeo – August 8, 2018

Superstar and B.C. native Pamela Anderson has added her voice to a campaign against B.C.’s Chilliwack Fair rodeo, which starts this Friday.

Anderson yesterday tweeted her support for the campaign by the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) calling for an end to cruel rodeo events at the fair. Her tweet to more than a million Twitter followers said: “Let’s end rodeo cruelty in Chilliwack.”

VHS has been calling for an end to cruel events such as calf-roping, steer-wrestling and team-roping at the fair’s annual rodeo and urging local businesses and residents not to support the event. “There is no doubt that animals suffer in rodeos and people who care about animals should take a stand against the cruelty involved, said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.

“We appreciate Ms. Anderson’s support and acknowledgment of the inherent cruelty involved,” Fricker said.

VHS has published online photos of rodeo animals in distress taken at previous Chilliwack Fairs.

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Categories
Media Release

Vancouver Humane Society calls for chuckwagon race to be suspended after horse dies

VANCOUVER, July 12, 2018 /CNW/ – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Calgary Stampede to suspend its chuckwagon race after yet another horse had to be euthanized after being injured in the event on Wednesday. More than 60 chuckwagon horses have died at the Stampede since 1986.

“Nearly every year horses die in this race, which clearly puts them at undue risk of injury and death,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker. “The Stampede has failed to stop horses dying and the public should let them know this is unacceptable.”

VHS is calling on the Stampede to suspend the race and set up a panel of independent experts to review the event to determine if it can be made safer. Fricker said companies that sponsor the race should withdraw their support until this happens. VHS is also urging the Stampede rodeo to eliminate calf-roping and steer-wrestling, which it says are undeniably cruel.

The Vancouver Humane Society is a registered charity dedicated to the humane treatment of animals.

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Media Release

Still no charges in horrific 2017 Chilliwack animal cruelty case

Media release

May 30, 2018

Still no charges in horrific 2017 Chilliwack animal cruelty case

Vancouver Humane Society calls on BC Attorney General to act

Vancouver- The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on B.C. Attorney General David Eby to ensure those responsible for extreme acts of animal cruelty in a June 2017 animal abuse case in Chilliwack are brought to justice.

It has been nearly a year since animal advocacy group Mercy for Animals released disturbing undercover video of workers at a Chilliwack poultry farm allegedly abusing and torturing live chickens. The video showed chickens being kicked, stomped on, sexually abused and having their limbs torn off.

The B.C. SPCA has produced a report for Crown Counsel recommending animal cruelty charges, but no charges have been laid.

In a letter to the Attorney General, VHS says: “We are concerned at this undue delay and any potential impact it might have on a successful prosecution proceeding. There would no doubt be considerable public outrage if the alleged perpetrators of these extreme acts of cruelty were not brought to justice.”

The letter calls on the Attorney General to “take whatever action is necessary to expedite Crown Counsel’s work on this case.”

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Media Release

Animal protection groups raise plight of wildlife and pets caught in cruel glue traps

Media release

May 22, 2018

Animal protection groups raise plight of wildlife and pets caught in glue traps

Heartbreaking photos illustrate impact on birds and other animals

Vancouver – B.C. animal protection groups say wildlife and pets are being caught in inhumane glue traps used for rodent control.

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has been calling for local retailers, including Rona, The Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Walmart Canada, to stop selling the traps because of the cruelty to rodents, which suffer slow, painful deaths when they become stuck in the traps.  VHS says there are alternatives to the traps, including measures to exclude rodents from the home.

But glue traps are also causing wildlife to suffer, as the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. and the B.C. SPCA have confirmed with heartbreaking photographic evidence of wildlife and even pets being inadvertently caught in the sticky traps.

Wildlife Rescue says it has encountered 74 animals caught in glue traps in the last three years, including songbirds, bats, a hummingbird and a squirrel. The B.C. SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) has also treated a number of animals suffering in glue traps, most recently a house sparrow that did not survive.  The society also pointed to the case of a kitten caught in a glue trap in Kelowna in 2015, which survived thanks to treatment at the Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.

“Retailers need to stop selling these cruel traps, which are causing wildlife to suffer, as well as their intended victims,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.

“Every year Wildlife Rescue is reminded of the deadly consequences these glue traps have on our local wildlife,” said Sam Smith, spokesperson for Wildlife Rescue. “As long as glue traps are offered to the public, wildlife will suffer.”

“The public assumes that because these products are sold at major retailers, they are humane and they are effective in solving problems, when it is just the opposite. Animals caught on the sticky traps linger in panic, struggling to get free, injuring themselves or dying from shock, exhaustion, dehydration, or suffocation. These traps should never be sold to the public,” said Sara Dubois, B.C. SPCA Chief Scientific Officer.

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Categories
Media Release

Civic election candidates surveyed on animal welfare issues

Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is asking civic election candidates to state their position on a range of animal welfare issues. VHS surveyed candidates in Metro Vancouver who are running for mayor, city council, school board and Vancouver park board and is publishing their responses on its website.

The survey asked candidates their positions on issues such as factory farming; keeping cetaceans in captivity; plant-based diets; using animals in entertainment; pet-friendly housing; and Meatless Mondays.

“Our survey will give candidates an opportunity to state their views on animal issues and will allow voters to evaluate those views,” said VHS program coordinator Emily Pickett.  “We’ll update the survey responses on our website to ensure voters have the latest information.”

Pickett said VHS will not be telling voters to favour any particular candidate, as this is prohibited by charity regulations, but will encourage voters to respond to the candidates’ views and to engage them in conversation about animal welfare.

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Categories
Media Release

Vancouver Humane Society calls for Garden Bros. Circus performances to be cancelled

Media release

October 12, 2017

Vancouver Humane Society calls for Garden Bros. Circus performances to be cancelled

Society raises animal welfare and safety concerns

Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling for the B.C. performances of the Garden Bros. Circus to be cancelled because of concerns over the circus’s animal welfare record.

The circus has performances scheduled for Kamloops (October 19), Vernon (October 20) and Chillliwack (October 22).  VHS says it is asking each of the venues to cancel the circus’s appearance.

VHS says Garden Bros. has a poor animal welfare record, which has been well-documented by animal protection groups.  Although the circus will apparently only feature dogs and ponies on its B.C. tour, it has faced past allegations of mistreatment of elephants and other animals in the United States.

report by a veterinarian engaged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in June concluded two elephants in the circus’s care were “…suffering physically, in a state of psychological deterioration, and compromised welfare attributable to their standard of care and living conditions…”

A PETA press release in September also reported claims by a former Garden Bros. employee that elephants in its care “…were electrically shocked backstage and left dripping blood from wounds inflicted by bullhooks…”

Another U.S. group, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, has published a report detailing a long record of alleged animal abuses, poor business practices and customer complaints.

In September, the circus’s performance in Winnipeg was shut down due to safety concerns, with media reports quoting parents’ complaints that the performance was a “disaster.”

“Clearly, this circus has a record that should ring alarm bells with the venues where it is scheduled to appear,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.  “All its performances should be cancelled.”

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Categories
Media Release

BC SPCA and VHS seek leave to intervene in Vancouver Aquarium lawsuit against City of Vancouver Park Board

UPDATE (Sept 19, 2017): We are disappointed to report that the B.C. Supreme court has not granted VHS and the BC SPCA leave to intervene in the Vancouver Aquarium’s lawsuit against the Vancouver Park Board.

Today (Sept 7), as described in the press release below, VHS is joining with the BC SPCA in seeking to speak on behalf of the animals who may be affected by any challenge to the Vancouver Park Board bylaw that currently bans the keeping of cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Sept. 7, 2017. For immediate release. Vancouver – The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) and the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) are seeking leave at the British Columbia Supreme Court to intervene in the Vancouver Aquarium’s lawsuit against the Vancouver Park Board.  The aquarium’s lawsuit aims to invalidate a bylaw passed by the Park Board that bans the keeping of cetaceans in Stanley Park.

The BC SPCA and the VHS fully support the ban on cetaceans at the park because they say the animals’ complex needs cannot be met in captivity, which compromises their welfare.

Both organizations believe that if the bylaw is struck down, it could deter elected officials from considering animal welfare when drafting laws that impact animals.  They say it would also set a dangerous precedent, limiting their ability to influence the drafting and implementation of laws affecting animals.

If granted intervenor status by the court, the BC SPCA and the VHS will submit that the Park Board is acting within its legislative capacity and is exercising its authority in the public interest, which includes consideration of the humane treatment of animals.

“If this bylaw is overturned it will not only compromise the welfare of cetaceans, it could undermine animal welfare across Canada,” said VHS executive director Debra Probert.

“The BC SPCA believes this bylaw serves the best interests of cetaceans. As an organization that speaks out on behalf of wild, companion and farm animals, we have a responsibility to support laws and bylaws that promote good welfare,” says Craig Daniell, chief executive officer of the BC SPCA.

The BC SPCA is the largest animal welfare organization of its kind in North America and the largest animal sheltering society in the world. The VHS is a registered charity dedicated to the humane treatment of animals.   Both organizations are being represented by Vancouver lawyer Rebeka Breder of Breder Law.

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The BC SPCA/VHS application to intervene is available here.