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Check out our new Go Veg Ads!

The following advertisements are part of VHS’s Go Veg program, which focuses on educating and empowering individuals in making the transition toward a plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle.

Please help us share the “Go Veg” message by sharing the ads to your social media pages.

To celebrate the new ad campaign, we’ve organized a fun giveaway. If you spot any of our ads, simply post a photo of the ad and tag us on Facebook (@VancouverHumaneSociety), Instagram (@VancouverHumane) and/or Twitter (@VanHumane) for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Vegan Supply! Tip: Increase your chance of winning by tagging us on all three social media platforms for three entries.

We’ll even share a hint – our ad is currently up near the intersection of Georgia & Richards in Vancouver until Aug.16th. Following that, it will be near the intersection of Davie & Burrard in Vancouver, from Aug.17th-Sept.13th.

Just like our pets, farmed animals love to play

Just like our pets, farmed animals love to play. Just like our pets, farmed animals deserve our kindness. Visit goveg.ca to learn more.

Just like our pets, farmed animals are problem-solvers

Just like our pets, farmed animals can think through problems and find solutions. Just like our pets, farmed animals deserve our kindness. Visit goveg.ca for…

Just like our pets, farmed animals form social bonds

Visit act.goveg.ca to take action.

Just like our pets, farmed animals are curious

Visit act.goveg.ca to take action.

Plant-based benefits

Visit goveg.ca for support.

Plant-based diet – did you know?

Visit goveg.ca for support.

Improve your health with a plant-based diet

Visit goveg.ca for support.

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Help Proffit feel better again

Proffit the cat was rushed to the ER earlier this month when his owner Jacqui noticed he was having difficultly breathing. With a diagnosis of water in his lungs and congestive heart failure, he received emergency medical treatment and was kept in the clinic overnight for monitoring.

The bill was $2,100 and I had to borrow my friends credit card. I’ve been out of work because of a car accident and I’m on social assistance while I wait to apply for disability. I do have a part time job waiting for me, but it is closed due to Covid.

Jacqui, Proffit’s owner

Jacqui told us that Proffit has been in her life for the past 8 years and he is loved very much. She tries to do everything she can to ensure that he is well looked after. Proffit has since returned to the vet for further blood work and is now on medication for his heart failure.

He is doing better now and is happy at home, but he needs to visit the vet again for them to monitor how his meds are doing and to make sure his kidneys are okay with this medicine. It has also been recommended that he get a cardiac ultrasound to further assess his heart and ensure he’s on the correct long-term medication.

Proffit enjoying some love and affection

Our McVitie Fund helps keep animals like Proffit happy and healthy in the loving care of their owners. Unexpected veterinary bills can be financially and emotionally devastating for individuals struggling on little or no income.

Please help Proffit and Jacqui by making a donation today to support his recovery.

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Tank means everything to her family

Tank is an active, athletic 3-year-old American bully/old English bully cross who means everything to her loving family.

My son was born with only half a heart and has had three open heart surgeries and a stroke all before he was two and a half years old. Tank lets us know when he is off and helps keep him calm when his brain can’t handle his environment. Though she is not a registered therapy dog, she is my son’s therapy dog and his protector.

Julie, Tank’s loving guardian

When Tank injured her left leg, her owner Julie was told that she would need emergency knee surgery to fix the injury, costing $4,000; an amount she knew their struggling family could not afford.

My husband was laid off in August 2019 and due to COVID-19 he has only just gone back to work. I have also been out of work since February, as I teach first aid and have to be very careful with our high risk son. We have depleted our savings and that makes this $4000+ surgery an impossibility without some help. My boys are doing a bottle drive and I am drumming up some sales from my knitting and crochet hobby, but without help from organizations like yours we will be unable to get the surgery done for a long time, and she would be in pain without it.

That’s where our McVitie Fund comes in. It is only because of generous supporters like you, that we are able to help Julie and Tank.

We are determined to keep loving, loyal Tank with her family. Can you help Tank by contributing towards the cost of her surgery?

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Webinar: Powerful actions to protect animal welfare

On July 22, 2020, Vancouver Humane Society’s executive director, Amy Morris, interviewed campaign director Emily Pickett. Emily highlights actions that we can take as individuals to protect animal welfare.

Powerful Actions to Protect Animal Welfare

1. Eat plant-based food 2. Be curious 3. Celebrate food victories 4. Visit an animal sanctuary 5. Petitions & political engagement 6. Apply the skills you ha…

Emily shared her personal journey from first learning about animal suffering to identifying actionable solutions to the ‘wicked’ problems. She shared about her personal decisions to improve the well-being of animals, as well as some of Vancouver Humane Society’s long-term goals when it comes to protecting animals.

To learn more, visit Our Work.

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COVID-19 exposes problems in Canada’s food system, groups call for change

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is joining other animal protection, environmental and food advocacy groups in calling on the federal government to direct any financial aid for Canada’s agriculture system toward transitioning to a safe, equitable and sustainable plant-based food system that improves food security, protects animal welfare, public health, worker safety and the environment on which we all depend.

The joint letter highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious problems with Canada’s food system and supply chains, particularly in the meat industry. Industrial livestock operations are a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation and are characterized by the confinement of large numbers of genetically-similar animals in unnatural and unhealthy environments. These conditions significantly compromise their welfare and could lead to the rise of new zoonotic diseases that threaten public health.

Meanwhile, the consolidation of the meat industry into the hands of a few multi-billion dollar corporations makes supply chains vulnerable to unexpected disruptions. For example, the pandemic has prompted some pig farmers in Canada to cull animals in response to reduced processing capacity at slaughterhouses, after they were forced to suspend or slow operations following COVID-19 outbreaks among workers. A large number of COVID-19 cases have been linked to slaughterhouses and employees have spoken out about the lack of protection for workers and the dangerous, fast-paced, and unhealthy environments. 

The joint letter encourages the federal Minister of Finance and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to dedicate any emergency funding for the agricultural sector, as well as any future funding, on phasing out industrial livestock operations and assisting farmers in transitioning toward a sustainable, ethical and equitable plant-based food system. COVID-19 is an unprecedented wake-up call and policy-makers must take action to ensure that we emerge from this crisis with a more resilient food system that is respectful of the inter-connectedness of human, environmental, and animal health.

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Ontario’s anti-animal protection legislation

“We simply do not know if animals are capable of reasoning and cognitive thought”.

This statement was made by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) in its submission to the Ontario government in support of Bill 156 – a recently passed ‘ag-gag’ bill that effectively conceals animal cruelty, unsafe working conditions and environmental issues on farms, during transport and at slaughterhouses. Animal protection organizations, legal experts and the Canadian Association of Journalists have all raised serious concerns about this dangerous legislation.

Also concerning is the fact that the OFA, which represents more than 38,000 farm operations across Ontario, questions the sentience of animals. The organization offers no source for their claim. Meanwhile, a strong and growing body of research provides evidence of animal intelligence and sentience.

Chickens, for example, utilize reasoning to inform how they organize socially by watching other chickens interact. Research also suggests they are cognitively complex, with the ability to demonstrate self-control and self-assessment – capacities that suggest self-awareness.

Cows are also socially complex creatures who form strong bonds and experience a range of emotions. They express excitement and signs of pleasure when they figure out intellectual challenges, which suggests self-awareness and understanding of their own actions.

Pigs share some of the same cognitive abilities as other highly intelligent species, including dogs, chimpanzees, elephants and dolphins. They are capable of “emotional contagion”, which is a form of empathy for the emotional state of another.  

Experts suggest we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface in our understanding of farmed animal intelligence. Animal behaviour expert Dr. Marc Bekoff also explores this topic in a recent Psychology Today article, written in response to the OFA’s statements. Importantly though, as Dr. Bekoff notes, “intelligence is a slippery concept and should not be used to assess suffering..in addition, the way in which people treat or mistreat other animals and how they feel about it isn’t a matter of how smart they are. Rather, nonhumans are sentient beings, and it’s a matter of how they suffer, not if they suffer.”

But the reality of animal sentience creates ethical dilemmas for an industry that relies on raising and slaughtering more than 830 million land animals every year in Canada. It’s easier to pretend animals aren’t complex, feeling and thinking beings and it’s better for business if the public stays uninformed about the realities on farms, during transport and in slaughterhouses.

How you can help

Bill 156 is an incredibly dangerous step in the wrong direction and follows on the heels of similar ‘ag-gag’ legislation passed earlier this year in Alberta (Bill 27). The move by government and industry to hide the issues within the animal agriculture system, rather than address them directly, and to question the sentience of farmed animals should concern Canadians.

The effort to repeal and prevent further ‘ag-gag’ legislation is underway – join in by contacting Ontario’s Premier & Alberta’s Premier. In addition, we as individuals can also stand up for animals every time we sit down to eat. Learn more and take our Plant-Based Pledge today for free recipes.  

Take our Plant-Based Pledge

Receive a free plant-based recipe emailed to you weekly, along with other plant-based tips & VHS updates.

I pledge to eat more plant-based meals in an effort to help protect animals, the planet & my health!

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Save owls and bears

B.C. owls and bears threatened by logging

Black bears and owls in B.C. are under threat from logging plans that could damage their habitats. The plans, which affect forests on the Sunshine Coast and in the Fraser Canyon, have alarmed wildlife conservation groups, raised public concerns and attracted media attention.

Spotted owl habitat under threat

The online magazine The Narwhal reports that the provincial government has approved clearcut logging in the Fraser Canyon, which is a habitat for highly endangered northern spotted owls.

Citing maps produced by the Wilderness Committee, the Narwhal report states that the B.C. government has “issued more than 300 logging approvals — totaling almost 2,000 hectares — in the spotted owl’s range from October 2018 to May 2020…” The spotted owl has been listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act since 2003.

Black bear dens would be destroyed

The Narwhal also reported that a plan by B.C. Timber Sales (the B.C. government agency that regulates logging on public land) to allow logging in the Dakota Ridge area of the Sunshine Coast could destroy black bear dens that are concentrated on the ridge. A study cited by the magazine concluded that logging in the area would destroy up to 28 dens in two cut blocks (areas authorized for logging).

The forest on Dakota Ridge has some of the oldest trees in Canada, which provide ideal dens for black bears when they rot out at the base. The area also provides the bears with plentiful blueberries and fresh water.

How you can help

Want to do more?

Sign a petition to urge the B.C. government to protect the black bears on the Sunshine Coast.

Send an email to the federal government asking them to hold B.C. accountable for protecting species at risk like spotted owls.

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Odie’s his old self again

The McVitie Veterinary Assistance Program has been helping pets of low-income caregivers get assistance for many years, ensuring guardians are not forced to surrender the animals they love and are bonded with. During this time, other caring individuals have provided some of their own money towards the program to keep people and their pets together. Sandra Todd is one of those individuals, always working to assist those in need to ensure their pets have care. 

When Sandra was partially laid off due to COVID-19, she faced a difficult decision herself for the first time. Sandra cares for a few aging rescued animals, and her 17-year-old dog Odie was showing signs of sickness. Odie lived a rough early life, abused by his first owners and treated roughly by his second owners. He came into Sandra’s care with wounds on his neck and a broken leg. 

Since then, Sandra has worked to give him a good life. At the end of March, Odie started sleeping too much, he became too weak to walk and gastro problems were evident. Sandra knew the bill would be high for the veterinarian to diagnose the cause and hopefully heal Odie and that she would fall short with her own available funds. She reached out to the Vancouver Humane Society for help with covering the cost of a blood panel, fluids, and antibiotics to get 17-year-old Odie feeling well again. 

Please consider contributing a gift today to support the McVitie low-income veterinary assistance program.  

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Poisoned owl rescued by VHS supporter

Update: District of North Vancouver votes to ban rodenticides!

District of North Vancouver Council has voted to ban anticoagulant rodenticides on district-owned properties. The unanimous vote on June 15 approved Councillor Megan Curren’s proposal for a ban. 

Thank you to everyone who wrote to the council and signed the petition by VHS supporter Yasmin Abidi. Yasmin raised the issue with Councillor Curren after rescuing an owl poisoned by rodenticide in the district. (Full story below.)

The vote also means that the council will petition the provincial government to ban anticoagulant rodenticides in B.C. and will communicate their harmful impacts to all residents and businesses in the district.

Update: Speak up to save owls like Lucky

Lucky the owl was lucky to survive being poisoned, twice. Most raptors aren’t so lucky.

Councillor Megan Curren of the District of North Vancouver has proposed the following recommendation, to be voted on June 15, 2020:

  • Recommendation:
  •  THAT a complete ban of anticoagulant rodenticides on all District of North Vancouver owned properties is supported;
  •  AND THAT staff is directed to petition the Province to ban anticoagulant rodenticides;
  •  AND THAT staff is directed to communicate the harmful impacts of anticoagulant rodenticides to all residents and businesses in the District of North Vancouver and to share findings about alternatives.

How you can help

  • You can sign this petition created by Lucky’s rescuer, Yasmin: Save the Owls

Original story:

Birds and other wildlife are often the unintended victims of rodent poison

VHS supporter Yasmin Abidi helped rescue what appeared to be an injured owl last week in North Vancouver. It later emerged that the owl had been poisoned, most likely by rodent poison.

Yasmin and several other Good Samaritans found the owl in a tree near a main road, bleeding and being attacked by crows. They contacted the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) in Delta and protected the bird until OWL staff arrived to take it back to their clinic for examination.

The examination found that the owl had ingested rodent poison and needed immediate treatment. Nicknamed “Lucky” by Yasmin, the owl is expected to recover, thanks to her quick actions. 

It also emerged that the owl had been poisoned three weeks earlier (and treated by OWL), indicating such poisonings are not uncommon.

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 and can cause a slow and painful death.

The BC SPCA has more information on how you can help wildlife by decreasing the amount of rat poison in the environment. If you find sick or injured wildlife you can contact one of the organizations listed by the Wildlife Rehabilitators’ Network.

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Anti-racism & decolonization

As an organization working to end the oppression of animals, we acknowledge that to advocate for social justice we must work together to challenge and dismantle oppression in all of its forms. We are committed to listening, learning, and standing against racism and colonization.

We recognize that our voice has not adequately considered other movements, including Black Lives Matter. We have put together a list of resources that we are using to learn. Please do reach out if you have ideas about how we can improve as an organization in being anti-racist and decolonizing our work.

Some resources we have been learning about/from include: