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Today is Meatless Monday in Vancouver

Media release

May 15, 2017

Today is Meatless Monday in Vancouver

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.

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Media Release

Vancouver Humane Society questions Vancouver Aquarium’s claims on marine mammal rescue

Media release

April 27, 2017

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.

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Media Release

Vancouver Aquarium should end cetacean captivity now

Media release

February 20, 2017

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.

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Media Release

Report challenges claims that keeping whales and dolphins captive is justifiable

Media Release

For Immediate Release

December 14, 2016

REPORT CHALLENGES CLAIMS THAT KEEPING WHALES AND DOLPHINS CAPTIVE IS JUSTIFIABLE

The recent deaths of beluga whales Qila and Aurora have thrust the issue of captive display of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in Vancouver back into the spotlight. The Vancouver Humane Society and Zoocheck Canada are holding a media conference to discuss captive cetacean issues and release a new report, A Crumbling Case for Cetacean Captivity? that specifically examines the kind of cetacean information provided to the general public and the impact of captive cetacean-associated research, and challenges some of the industry’s claims.

“Whale advocates, experts and members of the public have long been skeptical of the industry’s publicly-stated reasons for keeping cetaceans captive,” states Debra Probert, Executive Director of the Vancouver Humane Society. “Many of those arguments are now being vigorously challenged. We decided to look into a couple of key aspects of education and research at two captive cetacean facilities to see if they are really making a difference in the lives of wild cetaceans.”

“Given that the biological and behavioural needs of whales and dolphins cannot be met in an aquarium and there is little, if any, value in the education or conservation programs associated with keeping cetaceans on exhibition, it is time to empty the tanks,” said Zoocheck Campaigns Director Julie Woodyer.

According to marine mammal scientist Dr. Naomi Rose, “Society’s attitude toward whale and dolphin captivity is changing rapidly. Recently, Ontario banned the possession of orcas, the National Aquarium announced plans to retire its dolphins to a seaside sanctuary, SeaWorld pledged to end the breeding of its captive orcas, the State of California codified this corporate policy in law, the Whale Sanctuary Project was formed to establish the first cold water cetacean sanctuary in the world and the US government designated the Sakhalin-Amur population of belugas in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk as depleted, meaning the import of these animals is prohibited. The times they are a’changin’ and Vancouver needs to evolve and change as well.”

Speakers include Debra Probert, Executive Director, Vancouver Humane Society; Julie Woodyer, Campaigns Director, Zoocheck Inc.; Dr. Rebecca Ledger, animal behaviourist; Dr. Sara Dubois, Chief Science Officer, British Columbia SPCA, and; Dr. Naomi Rose, Marine Mammal Scientist, Animal Welfare Institute.

When: Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 11:00 AM

Where: 1430 Segal Centre, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St.,Vancouver

Contact: Julie Woodyer, Zoocheck, 416-451-5976 Debra Probert, Vancouver Humane Society, 778-994-9744

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Media Release

VHS urges Whistler Film Festival to resist pressure to withdraw sled dog film

Vancouver Humane Society urges Whistler Film Festival to resist pressure to withdraw sled dog film

VANCOUVER, Dec. 1, 2016 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is urging the Whistler Film Festival to resist calls from the sled dog industry to withdraw a documentary questioning the treatment of dogs within the industry. The film, Sled Dogs, is set to premiere at the festival this Saturday.

According to media reports, the festival has received letters from lawyers calling for the film to be withdrawn and has attracted opposition on social media.  VHS, which was interviewed for the film, says it’s important that people see what the documentary reveals and make up their own minds.

“This is a matter of free speech,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker.  “The plight of dogs used in this industry needs to be exposed.  We hope the festival will not succumb to pressure to silence those who question the treatment of sled dogs.”

VHS campaigned for a ban on sled dog tours and races in 2011, following revelations that dozens of sled dogs belonging to a Whistler tour company had been brutally killed.  Despite public outrage, new regulations introduced by the B.C. government did not end the industry practice of tethering dogs for long periods and it remains legal to kill dogs by gunshot.

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Top Canadian animal groups call on A&W to go cage-free

VANCOUVER, Feb. 2, 2016 /CNW/ – Six leading Canadian animal protection agencies today called on A&W Food Services of Canada to stop using eggs from caged-hens. A joint letter – signed by Animal Justice, the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Farmed Animals, Humane Society International/Canada, Mercy for Animals Canada and the Vancouver Humane Society – urges the fast-food chain to join the growing number of food companies switching to cage-free eggs.

Despite announcements by other restaurant chains, including Tim Hortons and McDonald’s Canada, that they will go cage-free, A&W has committed to using “enriched cages” for laying hens, which are only slightly larger than the notoriously cruel battery cages that have been widely condemned.

The joint letter, addressed to A&W CEO Paul Hollands, states: “Enriched cages severely restrict important physical activities including running, flying and wing-flapping and do not permit unrestrained perching and dustbathing.” The letter says consumers have turned against eggs from caged hens and that, “To them and to the wider public, a cage is a cage.”

An online petition calling on A&W to go cage-free has gathered more than 6000 signatures.