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Eat, shop or donate to help animals this Giving Tuesday

We are so pleased to announce that VHS is partnering with The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary this Giving Tuesday, to make life better for farmed animals.

Between now and December 1st, you can donate directly to our joint campaign, or help by supporting the generous local businesses who are partnering with us!

How your donation helps

Happy Herd provides a loving home to 36 animals rescued from the farming industry. Earlier this year, they welcomed two little lambs to their herd, Lincoln and Lola. Both lambs were born on commercial farms and rejected by their mothers. Lambs are typically sold for slaughter before they reach six months of age. 

Caring for this many animals, comes with a high cost of feed, veterinary expenses and grooming expenses. Your generous support of our campaign will have a lasting impact on the lives of these animals. 

VHS educates and supports individuals, institutions and policy makers, in transitioning towards a plant-based diet and cruelty-free lifestyle.

With your support, we will be launching an Online Plant-based Resource Center in 2021. The resource center will offer marketing tools for food service agencies, guidance to sourcing ingredients, recipe plans and online culinary training.

Visit our Plant-based Plates and Go Veg pages to find out more.

Thank you so much for your support of both of our organizations!

  • BRED – will be donating proceeds from the sales of their dog biscuits for the month of December
  • Chickpea Food Truck – are donating 15% of all food truck sales on December 1st
  • Down 2 Earth – will be donating a percentage of proceeds from the sales of their three holiday beverages on Giving Tuesday
  • Ergogenics – are donating a percentage of their sales on December 1st, and offering a 10% discount for online shoppers, using the code GOVEGAN. If you spend $100 or more, you will also receive a free bottle of Ergogenics Plant Protein Berry 420g.
  • Kayefleur Prints – are donating 50% of sales from each animal and flower crown print purchased via www.society6.com/kayefleur from now until December 1st
  • Kind Cafe – are donating proceeds from sale of their Tahini Choco Cookies on December 1st
  • Kula Kitchen – are donating 5% of profits from online sales on December 1st
  • Lita’s Mexican Foods – are donating 5% of proceeds from retailer sales from Nov. 30th – Dec. 7th
  • Lotus Seed Vegan – are donating 50% of sales on December 1st
  • Modern Meat – are donating a percentage of proceeds from sales on Giving Tuesday
  • Nice Shoes are donating 10% of sales on December 1st
  • Panago – locations in Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver will be offering any large plant-based pizza for $10 on December 1st. $1 will be donated to our Giving Tuesday campaign for every plant-based pizza sold. Please use the code PLANT10 at time of order
  • Plant Veda are donating 10% of sales from their subscription box throughout December
  • Sprouted Oven by Silver Hills Bakery – are donating 3% of sales on Giving Tuesday
  • The Pie Hole – are donating 15% of sales from vegan purchases online and in store on December 1st. (Online orders must be ordered on December 1st for pick up on a later date!)
  • Vegan Supply – are offering 15% off from December 1st – 7th, with 15% of sales coming to our Giving Tuesday campaign. Discount code will be shown here shortly
  • Vegan Yarn Studio – are donating 20% of all sales on December 1st
  • Veronica’s Gourmet Perogies – are donating a percentage of proceeds from sales of vegan perogies on December 1st
  • Westpoint Naturals – have generously made a donation towards our campaign
  • Willow’s Wax Bar – are donating a percentage of sales on December 1st
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Speak up for pigs

Ask pig farmers and Canada’s major grocery retailers to keep their promise to move away from cruel gestation stalls

Speak up for pigs

Canadians overwhelmingly oppose the common industry practice of confining pregnant pigs in what are known as “gestation stalls”. These individual stalls are so small that pigs are unable to even turn around or engage in any natural behaviours. Animal welfare scientists, veterinarians and other experts have described gestation stalls as one of the cruelest forms of animal confinement and the equivalent to living in an airline seat.

So it was welcome news when, in 2014, the Canadian pig farming industry committed in the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs to end the continuous use of gestation stalls and transition to open housing by 2024. Similarly, the Retail Council of Canada, which represents grocery retailers in Canada, committed to “sourcing pork products from sows raised in alternative housing practices as defined in the updated Codes by the end of 2022”. 

The industry gave themselves 10 years to transition from gestation stalls to open housing. Now, they are pushing for that deadline to be extended until 2029, which will result in hundreds of thousands of pregnant pigs continuing to suffer in barren, cramped gestation stalls.

What can I do?

  • The public can comment on the proposed amendments to the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs, including calling for the industry to uphold its original commitment to transition to open housing by 2024, in an online survey. The deadline for comments is November 19th. The comment period is now closed.
  • Use our email tool below to request that the Retail Council of Canada and its grocery members honour their promise to move away from sourcing pork products from sows kept in gestation stalls by 2022.

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Speak out for sled dogs

Sign the pledge not to take part in sled dog tours

Sled dogs are tethered for long periods and it is still legal to shoot surplus dogs

Speak out for sled dogs

Who can forget it? The 2010 killing of 56 sled dogs in Whistler shocked B.C. and made headlines around the world. The public outcry prompted government intervention but has life really changed for sled dogs?

Many questioned whether justice was served when the sled dog tour company employee who killed the dogs was sentenced to three years’ probation, a $1,500 fine, 200 hours of community service, and a ten year firearms ban. It was alleged he had been instructed by the company to “cull” the dogs due to a downturn in business following the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Nevertheless, there was hope that public outrage would lead to positive change. The “Whistler sled dog massacre,” as it came to be known, shone a light on the sled dog tour industry and its treatment of the dogs. The provincial government responded with a code of practice and standards of care for the industry. But the effectiveness of these actions has long been questioned.

In a sad irony, it is still legal for tour companies in B.C. to shoot surplus sled dogs, provided the operator has “made reasonable efforts to rehome the sled dog, but those efforts have been unsuccessful” and the operator follows certain guidelines (as illustrated below).

A major problem with the provincial government’s regulation of care standards for sled dogs is lack of enforcement. This became clear when the regulation was introduced and no government funding was allocated to the BC SPCA to enforce the regulations. Tour operations are not inspected and action can only be taken if a complaint is made to the BC SPCA. In short, no one is watching to ensure regulations are followed.

Although the sled dog standards of care were a step forward, they did not ban tethering or chaining of dogs, which VHS and many animal advocates had called for. The standards only require that: “An operator must ensure that each sled dog is released from its containment area at least once in each 24-hour period, for the purposes of socialization and exercise.” This means a dog could be tethered for 23 out of 24 hours with violating the regulations.

Tethering is a contentious subject, with sled dog tour industry claiming it is humane while many animal advocates call for it to be banned. The 2016 documentary Sled Dogs, which revealed how tethering is the norm in the industry, quoted animal behaviour and animal welfare scientist Dr. Rebecca Ledger: “When they’re tethered they may live in community with other dogs, but that’s not a community – it’s a prison.”

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations states that “Tethering of dogs (i.e., chains or ropes used to tie the dog to an immoveable object such as a stake or building) is not allowable as a method of confining a dog to a primary enclosure, nor as the only means of containment.”  If true for a dog kennel, why not for a sled dog kennel?

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Joyful George needed help

9-year-old George means everything to his owner Leah. Whenever Leah comes home, George dances in circles of joy.

Leah has bipolar and told VHS that she can’t imagine getting through her dark days without him.

He always knows when I am down and will cuddle and lick me when I’m very depressed.

Leah, George’s loving owner

Leah took George to her local veterinary clinic earlier this month after noticing his teeth were causing him pain. She was told that George’s teeth were badly abscessed and that he would need urgent treatment. The vet also noticed a cyst in George’s eye had grown and recommended doing a biopsy to confirm whether it needed to be removed.

Leah was able to put down a deposit for George’s treatment, but as she is struggling on low income, she was unable to pay the full cost of almost $1,000. That’s why she reached out to the McVitie Fund for help.

Could you help cover the additional costs of George’s medical treatment?

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Support for women and pets fleeing homelessness

Support for women and pets fleeing homelessness

Will you match our $30,000 grant for a bigger impact?

Women and pets experience homelessness in more potentially dangerous ways than men. Women are uniquely affected by homelessness because they are less likely to appear in shelters, drop ins, public spaces or access social services. They may continue living in a risky situation, such as staying on couches or living with a person who is abusive, to avoid shelter situations that feel unsafe and ensure their pet has housing.

Women with pets as their family are more difficult to house and many facilities do not have the knowledge or capacity to address the animal health issues that come with housing pets short-term.

Thanks to generous funding provided by PetSmart Charities® of Canada, over the next year we will be partnering with social service agencies to decrease the barriers to pets entering housing. With your help, even more women and their pets will be able to escape homelessness.

Your donation today will fund:

  • Preventative care, including deworming, de-fleaing and vaccinations, to ensure that frequent changeover within the facility does not lead to zoonotic disease issues.
  • For cats, dogs and small animals experiencing medical issues, funding will ensure their acute issues are remedied as part of their preventative medicine appointment, ensuring that there is only a one-time examination to address multiple issues.
  • As the project grows, we hope to also offer assistance with behaviour issues.

With your matching donation, we aim to assist more than 100 animals over the next year. Our hope is that these pets can continue to be a valued family member, providing the mental health supports that women in crisis need. Their animal companions will no longer serve as a barrier, preventing women from accessing services.

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Vancouver council votes in favour of the human-animal bond

The impacts of Covid-19 on mental health, and the demonstrated positive impact of companion animals, led to a renewed call to Vancouver City Council to support an end to ‘no pets’ clauses in rental contracts.

The Vancouver Humane Society wrote a letter on October 5 to council, encouraging them to advocate for companion animals, noting that in Ontario the legislation is better worded.

The letter highlights that no pet clauses, as well as clauses that restrict weight, height, and breed, are arbitrary and unnecessary. Referencing Ontario, it also acknowledges the importance of a process for landlords to address issues related to aggression, noise, and allergies, should they arise.

On Thursday, October 15, 2020, Vancouver City Council voted unanimously to take two actions:

  1. To advocate for the province to end the prohibition of “no pets” clauses in rental contracts.
  2. For staff to look into what the city can do to curb landlords’ right to refuse rental on the basis of pet ownership.
Pets may finally be able to rest easy if action is taken by the Province as a result of the City of Vancouver’s motion

We congratulate the City of Vancouver for this progressive action and look forward to engaging with them to ensure safe homes for all citizens.

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This month is Free Wills Month

For October is Free Wills Month and you have the chance to support our work for years to come by leaving a legacy for the animals. If you are an animal lover aged 55 or over, from October 1-31, you have a unique opportunity to either make a new will or revise your current will, for free! There is absolutely no obligation to include a charity in your will in order to participate. This is the last year the VHS is participating in this program, and a great opportunity to plan for the future.
 
You can have a simple will written or updated free of charge through lawyers participating in this campaign. If you’d like to participate or get more information, please visit the Free Wills website. If you have any questions, please contact Claire Yarnold at 604 266 9744 or email claire@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca.

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Treating people and their pets with dignity

For many people, their pet is their lifeline and mental health support. We know from separation anxiety, cuddles, and protective behaviours that the feeling is mutual! Across Canada, people face difficult decisions as they struggle with poverty, and sometimes those decisions involve the well-being of themselves and their best friend. VHS received a two-year grant from the B.C. government to create a training program for animal services providers to ensure their programs provide trauma-informed care to people and their pets. We’ve recruited Celeste Morales as Lead Researcher to do this work. Celeste has a Master’s in Sociology and wrote her thesis on poverty reduction. (See full bio.) Welcome Celeste!

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VHS supports pets in need due to Covid-19

Calls have been pouring in to our veterinary assistance hotline as the COVID-19 shutdowns continue. Each month, more and more people are experiencing financial crisis. They are stressed and worried; the sighs of relief are tangible when our program coordinator, Terri, confirms that their pet can be helped. We would not have been able to help all the cases that come to us without the financial support from the Community Response Fund, made possible by the Vancouver Foundation, Vancity Credit Union, United Way Lower Mainland, and the City of Vancouver. They provided $10,000 to ensure we are able tomeet the increased demand for the program. Thank you also to our donors who give generously to the McVitie program!

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More municipalities take action on cruel rodenticides

The story of Lucky the owl, who was found poisoned in North Vancouver not once, but twice in a matter of weeks, has revived public calls for a ban on anticoagulant rodenticides. Wildlife are often the victims of poisons used by businesses, landlords, municipalities and homeowners to control rodent populations. These “secondary poisonings” happen when birds of prey or other predators eat poisoned rodents, causing a slow and painful death.

Thankfully, Lucky survived and was released after receiving treatment, but other animals who encounter these poisons aren’t so fortunate. The good news is that a growing number of B.C. municipalities are now taking action. In the months following Lucky’s poisonings, several municipalities have banned rodenticides on municipal properties, including the District and City of North Vancouver, Port Moody, Victoria and a number of other Vancouver Island communities. Most recently, West Vancouver has voted to consider a ban. Given that the wider use of rodenticides is regulated at the provincial level, the next step will be for municipalities to urge the province to consider a B.C.-wide ban.

VHS has submitted letters of support for municipal rodenticide bans and will advocate for a province-wide ban. We’ve also joined Owl Watch BC, a coalition of wildlife advocates. To learn more about taking action to ban rodenticides in your community, email VHS Campaign Director, Emily Pickett, at emily@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca.