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.
A 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.”
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.
The BC SPCA/VHS application to intervene is available here.
Vancouver Humane Society to resume campaign against rodeo cruelty at Chilliwack Fair
Fair refuses to drop steer-wrestling and calf-roping from rodeo
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) will resume its campaign against animal cruelty at the Chilliwack Fair rodeo, following a decision by the Chilliwack Fair Board of Directors to retain steer-wrestling and calf-roping.
The Fair had stated in August that it would review the two events but today announced that it would only modify rules on how they are carried out, rather than cancel them.
“The rule changes will make no significant difference to animal welfare at the rodeo,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Terrified calves will still be roped and thrown to the ground and steers will still have their necks twisted until they are forced off their feet.”
Fricker said the rule changes do nothing to address the fact that animals are being subjected to fear, stress and pain for the sake of entertainment.
VHS will resume its campaign against the rodeo at next year’s Chilliwack Fair. “We will redouble our efforts to bring public attention to the rodeo and we will raise concerns about additional events such as team-roping,” said Fricker.
Vancouver – The City of Vancouver has proclaimed May 15 Meatless Monday and the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on other Metro Vancouver municipalities to join the Meatless Monday movement with their own proclamations of support.
A number of institutions throughout Metro Vancouver are participating in the movement, including ten schools offering meatless dishes on their Monday menus. VHS has supported student groups and food service providers in bringing the initiative to their cafeterias by sharing tips, best practices and resources and helping to promote the concept.
Meatless Monday is a global initiative, active in more than 30 countries and growing in popularity in Metro Vancouver. The campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about the impact of food choices and improving access to humane, healthy and sustainable food options.
VHS has written to mayors and councils in Metro Vancouver, explaining the concept and encouraging them to pass a similar proclamation in solidarity with not only the City of Vancouver, but also the schools, organizations and residents who are actively participating.
“We’re thrilled that Vancouver is supporting this initiative. As a city committed to developing food systems that are sustainable and that support community well-being, Vancouver is taking a step in the right direction,” said Emily Pickett, VHS’s Program Coordinator. “This also serves as an inspiration for those looking to do their part to help tackle issues like factory farming, climate change and public health.
“Every time we sit down to eat, we have the chance to stand up for a kinder, cleaner and healthier community. This is what Meatless Monday is all about and we’re encouraging Metro Vancouver residents to join us on Monday, May 15 in this effort.”
Vancouver Humane Society calls for end to cruel rodeo events at Chilliwack Fair
Society says photos from 2016 fair show rodeo animals suffering
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling for an end to calf-roping and steer-wrestling at the upcoming Chilliwack Fair rodeo (August 11-13).
VHS has written to Chilliwack City Council asking for a ban on the two events and has also called on the Chilliwack Agricultural Society, which runs the fair, to voluntarily drop them from the rodeo program. VHS has launched an online campaign to urge the public to contact the council, the fair and its sponsors to ask for an end to the events.
VHS says calf-roping and steer-wrestling subject animals to fear, pain and stress for the sake of mere entertainment. “Terrified calves, only three months old, are chased, roped to a sudden halt, picked up and thrown to the ground before being tied up and steers have their necks twisted until the are literally bent to the ground,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Tormenting animals to amuse a crowd should be unacceptable in the 21st century.”
VHS obtained photographs taken at the 2016 Chilliwack Fair, which it says show rodeo animals in distress.
A 2015 survey by polling company Insights West found that 66 per cent of B.C. residents are opposed to rodeos.
Sir Paul McCartney praises Meatless Monday effort in Metro Vancouver
Former Beatle sends message to Vancouver Humane Society
Sir Paul McCartney has sent a message via the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) praising the cities of Vancouver, New Westminster, North Vancouver and Port Moody for proclaiming Meatless Monday on May 15th in their communities. Meatless Monday raises awareness about the links between diet and the environment, health and animal welfare. The superstar and animal lover wrote:
“Congratulations to Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, New Westminster and Port Moody for going meat free on Monday 15 May. A great step forward in showing how easy and fun it is to have meat free days and help protect the planet from climate change. Well done. Love Paul and family.” – Paul McCartney
The proclamations were inspired by the ongoing Meatless Monday initiatives of VHS and local schools. To date, eleven secondary and post-secondary institutions are pairing meatless options on Mondays with information on the benefits of plant-based eating. VHS is sharing Sir Paul’s message with the four municipalities and the participating schools.
Meatless Monday is a global initiative, active in more than 30 countries and growing in popularity in Metro Vancouver. The campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about the impact of food choices and improving access to humane, healthy and sustainable food options. Reducing our overconsumption of animal products and increasing our consumption of plant-based foods helps fight climate change, protects individual and public health and reduces the demand for cheap meat that drives factory farming.
UBC hosts Canada’s first-ever plant-based culinary training and summit for food service professionals
Vancouver – Chefs and food service professionals from across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island and from as far as Winnipeg will be gathering this week at UBC for Canada’s first “Forward Food Culinary Training & Summit”. This workshop has helped over 1,100 food service professionals in the United States meet growing demand for healthier, more sustainable and cost-effective menu items.
Hosted by UBC Food Services, in partnership with Humane Society International/Canada, The Humane Society of the United States, and the Vancouver Humane Society, the two-day culinary experience will help chefs refine their plant-based cooking skills and will offer hands-on training, led by Chef Wanda White, former Executive Operations Chef at the University of North Texas who opened the U.S.’s first vegan university dining hall. Chef Wanda will instruct attendees on how to prepare delicious meatless, eggless, and dairy-free entrees that will appeal to guests of all dietary preferences.
“It’s wonderful to see the high level of enthusiasm for plant-based meals among chefs and food service managers in BC,” said Gabriel Wildgen, Campaign Manager for HSI/Canada. “We expect this event to be the first of many across Canada. Together with our partners in the education and nutrition, we’re creating healthier, more sustainable communities, all while providing delicious meals that cut costs.”
Following the May 29th and 30th culinary training will be a Forward Food Summit on May 31st, geared towards food service professionals and offering insights into the latest trends in both implementing and marketing plant-based menu items. The summit includes a series of speakers, a cooking demonstration, lunch at the UBC Farm (weather permitting) and opportunities for attendees to share skills in a peer-to-peer environment.
“UBC Food Services is passionate about this topic,” said Melissa Baker, Registered Dietitian and Manager of Nutrition and Wellbeing with UBC Food Services. “We know about the many health benefits of eating a primarily plant-based diet, including a reduced risk for chronic disease. Plant-based diets are also more sustainable. This event is an opportunity for our food services team and other institutions to raise awareness of these benefits and to better meet the growing demand for plant-based offerings in food service operations across Canada.”
UBC Food Services intends to incorporate some of the recipes being featured in the culinary training into campus menus, including at a dedicated vegetarian stations at all three residence dining halls starting September 2017.
Plant-based eating is gaining momentum throughout Metro Vancouver and beyond, with new veggie-based restaurants and meat-alternatives launching on a regular basis. Meanwhile, meat-reduction initiatives like Meatless Monday are being embraced by local students, who are helping add plant-based items to cafeteria menus with the help of the Vancouver Humane Society.
“We’re thrilled to be supporting eleven local schools with their Meatless Monday campaigns and the feedback so far has been very positive,” said Emily Pickett, Program Coordinator for the Vancouver Humane Society. “Students passionate about health and sustainability have been keen to introduce their peers to the delicious world of plant-based eating and Meatless Monday is a great way to do just that.”
In an effort to support the participating schools and to highlight the benefits of reducing our overconsumption of animal products, the cities of Vancouver, North Vancouver, New Westminster and Port Moody each passed proclamations earlier this month declaring Monday, May 15th as “Meatless Monday.”
All of this makes veg-friendly Vancouver the prime location for Canada’s first “Forward Food Culinary Training & Summit” and organizers are excited to help attendees get creative with plant-centred plates at this sold-out event.
Students lead the way, as more schools offer plant-based meals
Vancouver – In an effort to raise awareness of the links between diet and the environment, health and animal welfare, the Cities of Vancouver, New Westminster, North Vancouver and Port Moody have proclaimed today Meatless Monday. Students in Metro Vancouver are leading the way in introducing the concept, with a number of secondary and post-secondary schools offering plant-based meals in their food facilities on Mondays.
To mark the occasion Vancouver Councillor Adriane Carr will visit David Thompson Secondary at 1755 E 55th Avenue at 11:30 a.m. to congratulate students and staff on the success of their Meatless Monday initiative.
Eleven Metro Vancouver schools will be participating by offering at least one meatless dish on their menu in addition to their regular menu items. Two of these schools, Argyle Secondary and Lord Byng Secondary, are launching their initiatives today.
The Carnegie Community Centre, which serves the Downtown Eastside, will be offering a special Meatless Monday menu today. The centre aims to offer healthy, culturally diverse and delicious food on a daily basis for the community.
Meatless Monday is a global initiative, active in more than 30 countries and growing in popularity in Metro Vancouver. The campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about the impact of food choices and improving access to humane, healthy and sustainable food options. Reducing our overconsumption of animal products and increasing our consumption of plant-based foods helps fight climate change, protects individual/public health and reduces the demand for cheap meat that drives factory farming.
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is questioning claims by the Vancouver Aquarium that its marine mammal rescue program is threatened by a ban on cetacean display at the aquarium. The Vancouver Park Board voted in March to amend a bylaw to ban the display of cetaceans at the aquarium.
VHS points out that other major wildlife rehabilitation facilities in British Columbia do not put rescued animals on public display, despite dealing with many more rescues than the aquarium.
“Wildlife rehabilitation is not about rescuing animals to put them on display,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “The mandate is to rehabilitate and release animals.” He said the aquarium’s current non-releasable rescued animals do not need to be on display to meet their welfare needs.
VHS argues that the aquarium should seek to work with the Whale Sanctuary Project, which is proposing to establish sea-pen sanctuaries for former captive cetaceans and non-releasable rescued cetaceans.
Vancouver Aquarium should end cetacean captivity now
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) says the Vancouver Aquarium should end cetacean captivity now and not import more beluga whales to the facility. VHS says the aquarium’s announcement that it will import several belugas and put them on display until 2029 appears to be a tactic to pre-empt a potential decision by the Vancouver Park Board to end cetacean captivity much sooner. VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker said the aquarium should not waste its resources on expanding its captive cetacean facility. “The tanks should stay empty and the money should instead be used to work with the Whale Sanctuary Project.” The Whale Sanctuary Project is a non-profit group of scientists and other professionals working on the development of a seaside sanctuary for whales and dolphins who might be retired from entertainment facilities or rescued from injury or sickness in the wild. VHS is also concerned that the aquarium may use its rescue program as a loophole to acquire cetaceans for its new facility. “We worry that rather than aim for genuine rescue and release, the aquarium will aim for rescue and retain. They haven’t promised to end captivity, only the display of belugas.” VHS is skeptical about the aquarium’s claims to use the imported belugas for research. A report published by VHS and Zoocheck found that the value of the aquarium’s captive cetacean research to date is questionable.