Speak up for animals on fur farms

Call for a ban on fur farming across Canada

Send a message to your B.C. MLA & sign the federal House of Commons e-petition

Recent media reports of the spread of COVID-19 on B.C. mink farms has exposed the cruelty and danger inherent in the province’s fur farming industry.  Please send a message to your MLA to urge a ban on this unnecessary and inhumane industry.

Industrialized fur farms in B.C. confine thousands of mink in cramped conditions that deprive them of the opportunity to engage in natural behaviours.  Mink are semi-aquatic animals yet they are held in tiny wire cages without access to water for foraging. A cage for a single female mink measures only 8 inches (width) by 15 inches (height).

Mink spend their entire lives caged until they are killed in gas chambers filled with carbon monoxide. All this is for the sake of making products for the fashion and cosmetics industry.

Video footage of Canadian fur farms obtained by The Fur-Bearers has shown animals exhibiting self-mutilation, cannibalism and repetitive behaviours caused by the stress of confinement.

In addition to the fur industry’s cruelty, there is a threat to public health, as outbreaks of COVID-19 emerge on mink farms around the world.  Here in B.C., the virus has been found on two mink farms, with infections occurring in both animals and farm workers. Scientists fear that such outbreaks could lead to dangerous mutations of the virus. Escaped mink from farms are a potential threat to wild populations, increasing the chance of further virus mutation and spread.

Now is the time for the provincial and federal governments to end the cruel and dangerous fur farming industry. This is also an opportunity for government to support farmers in transitioning to humane, healthy and sustainable alternatives, such as plant-based agriculture.

Please take the two actions below to support a fur farming ban at both the provincial and federal levels.

Sign the House of Commons e-petition calling on the federal government to introduce a Canada-wide ban on fur farming.


Support improved public access to plant-based foods

Vancouver “Local Food Action Plan” a chance to support better public access to plant-based food

The Vancouver Park Board is currently seeking public input through an online survey, closing January 28, on an updated “Local Food Action Plan”. The new 5-year plan will outline how the Park Board’s programming and services, which include community gardens; kitchens; food workshops; meal programs; farmers markets; concessions and restaurants, will contribute to a just and sustainable local food system.

This new plan comes at a crucial time, as society continues to deal with the COVID-19 public health pandemic and as concerns surrounding our food system continue to grow. COVID-19 has highlighted and exacerbated existing inequities within the food system. It has drawn attention to the dangerous and cruel nature of factory farms and the risks they pose as potential contributors to future pandemics; the exploitative conditions facing workers and animals on farms, in slaughterhouses and food processing plants; the connection between unsustainable, industrial food production and climate change; and the issue of food insecurity for historically underserved communities.

A growing body of research concludes that a significant shift in diets and food production toward fewer animal products and more plant-based foods is necessary. These changes are needed in order to meet our climate goals, tackle the biodiversity and factory farming crises, and to sustainably feed a growing population a healthy diet.

Food system experts are increasingly calling on all levels of government, including municipalities, to support these much-needed dietary and food system changes through food-related policies, practices and programming. The Park Board’s new Local Food Action Plan is a key opportunity for doing just that. Incorporating and prioritizing more plant-based foods, meals and education in Park Board services, such as meal programs, workshops, events and at concessions and restaurants, will help to support much-needed dietary and food system change. It will also improve public access to healthy, humane and sustainable food options.

If you’re a Vancouver resident, please consider participating in the Local Food Action Plan survey before the January 28th deadline. You’re welcome to use the recommendations we’ve listed below to guide responses about opportunities for the Park Board moving forward, but please be sure to fill out the survey in your own words and based on your own experiences.

VHS Recommendations: 
  • Animal welfare & a “just and sustainable food system” – A truly “just and sustainable local food system” will incorporate not only the protection of people, the planet and public health, but also our social responsibility for the protection of animal welfare. Therefore, a shift toward improving public access to healthy, humane, sustainable and equitable plant-based foods and diets must be reflected in the new Local Food Action Plan. 
  • The role of municipalities – Food system experts are calling on governments, including municipalities, to take action to support dietary and food system change that prioritizes a shift to plant-based in their plans and policies. 
  • Improving plant-based access & education – The Local Food Action plan is an opportunity to improve public access to plant-based foods and diets, as well as plant-based education, through Park Board services such as meal programs, fieldhouse workshops, events, farmers markets, concessions and restaurants.   
  • Expanding resources to under-served communities – The Local Food Action Plan should assess and address gaps in programs and services for under-served communities. This is another area where plant-based food access and education can also be enhanced.  
  • Emergency planning & preparedness – COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of ensuring food security programming is maintained during emergency situations and is adaptable so as to ensure communities are able to continue accessing resources.  

Ask the Prime Minister to end the wildlife trade

Please urge the Prime Minister to close wildlife markets and end the international and domestic trade in wild animals

A House of Commons E-petition is calling on the Prime Minister to “to support and encourage the closure of wildlife markets globally that could become sources for future pandemics and to commit to end the international and domestic trade in wild animals and their products that could aid in the spread of zoonotic diseases.” The petition is sponsored by Michelle Rempel Garner MP.

Despite calls from experts to take more action against the global wildlife trade, which scientists believe is the most likely source of Covid-19, there has been virtually no response from Canada. That’s a shame, as there is plenty Canada could do to combat this cruel trade and improve our own safeguards against diseases from imported wildlife.

We’re urging Canadians to sign the E-petition, which is in line with campaigns by VHS and other organizations opposing the cruel and dangerous trade in wild and exotic animals. Last year, VHS launched a campaign calling on federal ministers to engage with international partners to ban the trade; devote more resources to fight the illegal wildlife trade; and to improve Canada’s systems for detecting imported wildlife diseases.  We also signed an open letter to the Prime Minister urging him to support a permanent global ban on wildlife markets.

We have also been working to bring this issue to the attention of Canadians, publishing opinion editorials in the Ottawa Citizen, Daily Hive, Georgia Straight, and Vancouver Sun.

With your support we can continue to encourage the federal government to take action against the wildlife trade.


Max needed surgery

Max recently developed a lump on the back of his neck. When the lump broke open and wouldn’t stop seeping, his owner Margaret rushed him to the vet. Margaret was told that Max would need to be anesthetized so they could remove the lump, and also another lump which they discovered under his chin.

Max has been with his loving owner Margaret since 2013. He has been her shadow ever since.

We are connected like E.T. and Elliott. He means the world to me and my family. He lays on our furniture and spreads his love one hair at a time. My house looks like a snow globe because of his white fur!

Margaret, Max’s owner

A single mom on low income, Margaret knew she wouldn’t be able to afford his costly veterinary procedure.

It breaks our hearts to see him like this. Max has brought a lot of love to our home. He’s been there for all of us in so many ways. We just want his pain to go away.

Thankfully, the McVitie Fund is there to help in these difficult circumstances. The McVitie Fund relies entirely on the generosity of VHS’s supporters. 

Could you make a donation towards our McVitie Fund to help Max? 


2020 in review

Thank you for helping animals in 2020!

VHS would like to thank all our amazing donors, volunteers, and partners for your support this year. Because of you we were able continue our vital work to make life better for animals.

Here are some of the year’s highlights and achievements that you made possible.

McVitie Fund emergency veterinary help

During the year, donors to our McVitie Fund enabled us to help a record-breaking 165 animals by providing emergency medical assistance to the animal companions of people on limited incomes. COVID-19 increased demand for the McVitie Fund, which is vital to people who are experiencing a period of life with low or no income but still love and care for their pet companions. When these animals get injured or sick, they need a safety net so they can stay in their loving home.


VHS launched two campaigns against the cruel and dangerous wildlife trade during the year. In April, we started an online petition, signed by more than 3400 people, calling on the B.C. government to strengthen regulation of the sale and ownership of wild and exotic animals in the province. In May, we launched an email campaign urging the federal government to do more to combat the wildlife trade. Nearly 3500 people sent messages to government ministers supporting our call. We also had three opinion editorials on the issue published in the news media.

We also spoke out on behalf of owls and bears threatened by logging operations, launching a petition calling on the government to halt logging in their habitat on the Sunshine Coast.

VHS supported animal advocates calling for a ban on rodenticides following the poisoning in June of an owl in North Vancouver. The owl, later dubbed “Lucky” was rescued by a VHS supporter. Wildlife are often the victims of poisons used by businesses, landlords, municipalities and homeowners to control rodent populations. VHS has submitted letters of support for municipal rodenticide bans and will advocate for a province-wide ban. Several municipalities now have bans in place.

Horse carriages

In August, VHS launched a campaign calling on the Vancouver Park Board to remove the horse-drawn trolley from Stanley Park. Having horse-drawn trolleys or carriages in urban settings is just not safe. This became clear in 2016, when the Stanley Park trolley’s horses were spooked by traffic noise and bolted, nearly taking a trolley full of tourists off the sea wall. Nearly 7000 people signed our petitions to the Park Board to remove the trolley.


In March, prior to the cancellation of most Canadian rodeos because of COVID-19, VHS initiated a campaign against the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon race. Our petition urging General Motors Canada to stop sponsoring the race, garnered 2500 signatures. We also had an opinion editorial published, making the case for General Motors to drop their support for the race.  We will continue to campaign against the Calgary Stampede and other rodeos in 2021.

Factory farming

In November, VHS spoke out against a decision by the pork industry to delay the phase-out of cruel gestation crates (cages in which pregnant sows are kept so confined they cannot event turn around). The industry, despite promising to phase-out the crates by 2024, wants to delay this to 2029.  We launched a petition calling on the Retail Council of Canada, which represents major grocers, to honour the commitment it made to stop sourcing pork from farms using gestation crates. We also had an opinion editorial published on the issue.

We signed on a joint letter to the federal Minister of Finance and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, calling on the federal government to dedicate any COVID-19 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. Signatories included other animal protection groups, environmental and food advocacy groups. We set up a campaign allowing our supporters to send a pre-written email to their MPs

We produced a podcast episode aimed at answering some of the big, challenging questions about plant-based foods.

We hosted an online talk featuring Dr. Lisa Kramer, a behavioural economist at the University of Toronto, entitled “Is the Future of Meat Plant-based?”. Watch the video.

For our Go Veg campaign, we used billboards, elevators ads, Facebook ads, online ads and a direct mailing with an outcome of more than 6 million impressions by people in the Vancouver lower mainland.

We sent out 52 recipes for folks interested in learning more about plant-based cooking through our email list of folks who took the pledge to increase their plant-based meal consumption.

New report about helping people and pets to address ‘neglect’

In December VHS produced a report, titled “Addressing Animal Neglect Through the Provision of Veterinary Services,” designed to encourage a trauma-informed approach to help vulnerable people to get veterinary assistance for their pets. The emphasis is to allow people to maintain the human-animal bond, with relinquishment of their pets the absolute last option. Focusing on relationships between veterinary clinics, social service agencies, and people who have been placed-at-risk but structural inequities, VHS is committed to ensuring animals do not suffer the loss of their guardians due to lack of money or difficulty travelling to veterinary clinics.  VHS is grateful to the Vancouver Foundation for funding the report.

Helping women and pets in crisis

In November, VHS joined with the North Shore Crisis Services Society (NSCSS) to launch the first partnership in a project designed to help women and pets in crisis.

The project, funded in part by a $30,000 grant from PetSmart Charities® of Canada, will help homeless and loosely housed women who face barriers to accessing housing and support because they have pets. Many support facilities do not have the knowledge or capacity to address the animal health issues that come with housing pets.

The project will provide funding for preventative and urgent veterinary costs for pets, ensuring they are in good health and not a risk to human health. This could include medical treatments; flea, tick and deworming treatment; vaccinations and health checks.

Women are uniquely affected by homelessness because they are less likely to appear in shelters, drop-ins, public spaces, or access social services. They are undercounted in research, and an estimated 700 women are turned away each day from domestic violence shelters. They are also more likely to live in cars, experience domestic violence, to be abused as live-in caregivers, to experience physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and to be forced to engage in survival sex or human trafficking.  

Greater Vancouver Zoo

VHS’s report on the Greater Vancouver Zoo was launched in December 2018 but attracted media in 2019, with coverage in a total of 21 media outlets and publication of a VHS opinion editorial. More than 2800 people took part in our e-campaign, urging the zoo to improve conditions for its animals. The report was sent to CAZA (Canada’s Accredited Zoos & Aquariums) and to the provincial Director of Wildlife and Habitat. We will continue to hold the zoo account for its treatment of the animals it holds.

Sled dogs

In November, VHS launched a campaign calling for members of the public to pledge to boycott sled dog tours. The campaign has collected more than 3300 pledges. Sled dogs can be kept tethered for as long as 23 hours a day and it is still legal for tour operators to shoot surplus sled dogs. The data from the campaign will be used to gauge public support for future campaigns targeting the sled dog tour industry.


Near the end of the year, we spoke out about the plight of farmed minks when an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred at Fraser Valley mink farm.  Minks are kept in tiny wire cages with no opportunity to express natural behaviours, compromising their welfare. VHS had an opinion editorial published, calling for a ban on fur-farming and was quoted in local media about the issue.

Humane education

With COVID-19 putting classrooms online, VHS mobilized and created resources for kids that don’t put animals at risk of suffering. Two PDF guides about wild and farmed animals, as well as a colouring sheet, help to connect kids with animals in a way that doesn’t harm animals.

What’s next?

Thank you for helping us achieve so much for animals during this challenging year. 

There is still so much more to do in our work for animals in 2021, and despite our efforts, animals continue to suffer every day. Please consider making an end-of-year donation, to enable us to continue advocating on behalf of all animals today and in the future. All donations made before midnight on December 31st, will receive a tax receipt for the 2020 financial year.


Ethical shopping and eating guide

Animal-free shopping and eating guide

Do you want to make sure no animals were harmed when you’re shopping or eating? Struggling to find the perfect gift for someone? Looking to support and order from a local restaurant? This list has you covered. Click on a section in the table of contents to be directed to a list of relevant businesses, all located in the Vancouver area (with a few clothing retailers from elsewhere in Canada.)

Restaurants that are 100% plant-based

Business nameIn restaurant eating?Order online?Description
Aleph Eatery1889 Powell Street,
Vancouver, BC
YMiddle Eastern
Bad Apple2481 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BCYHealthy “pub” food, punk theme
BeetBox Veg1074 Davie St, Vancouver, BCYComfort food
Buddha-full106 West 1st Street, North Vancouver,  BC (one other location)YFresh whole food-based meals
Chau Veggie Express2 locations:
Victoria Drive
Granville Island
YModern Vietnamese
Chickpea4298 Main Street, Vancouver, BCYMiddle Eastern
Chi Vegan1935 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, BCYModern Vietnamese
CHOMP Vegan Eatery2234 E Hastings, Vancouver, BCYOrganic gluten-free pub fare
Copper Branch280 Nelson St, Vancouver, BCYPub fare
Indigo Age Cafe436 Richards St, Vancouver, BCYRaw vegan food; dessert menu section
Kind Cafe3080 Main St, Vancouver, BCNRestaurant with baked goods, zero waste
Khoe1370A E Georgia St., Vancouver, BCYModern Vietnamese
KokomoMultiple locations:
North Vancouver
YFresh whole food bowls
Komo Comfort FoodsNYPlant-based food delivery
Kula KitchenNYPlant-based BBQ
Lotus Seed Vegan736 W Broadway, Vancouver, BCYPlant-based dishes from different cultures
MeeTMultiple locations:
Main Street
YPub fare with dishes from other cultures
MILA Plant-Based185 Keefer St, Vancouver, BCYFlavour focused, internationally inspired, premium casual dining
Mizu Sushi Co.383 Raymur Avenue, Vancouver, BCYGluten-free sushi
Pizzeria Grano3240 Main Street, Vancouver, BCYPizza
Planetary Burger3088 Main St, Vancouver, BCYBurgers, fries, and milkshakes
Rolling CashewFood truck, may not always be here: 2608 Granville St, Vancouver, BCYInternational lunch fare
The Cider House1602 Yew St, Vancouver, BCYCider and fresh foods (ask if cider is vegan)
The Green MoustacheMultiple locationsY (Whistler)Cafe with meals, smoothies, desserts
The Pizza Castle and Indian Curry1110 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BCYPizza and Indian food
Veg Out Plant-Based Burgers & ShakesFood truckNBurgers, fries, and milkshakes
Vegan Cave415 Abbott St,
Vancouver, BC
Vegan Pizza House2119 Kingsway, Vancouver, BCYPizza
Virtuous PieMultiple locations:
YPizza and ice cream
Wurst of Us1889 Powell Street
Vancouver, BC
YHot dogs and nachos

Dessert businesses that are 100% plant-based

Business nameIn store?Online shopping?Description
Bonus Bakery1185 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BCYDrinks & pastries
Dough & CoNYBakery delivery
Edible Flours2280 W Broadway, Vancouver, BCYCupcakes, cookies, breads, loaves and other bakery goods
Fairy Cakes3586 Fraser St, Vancouver, BCNBaked goods & popsicles; peanut/nut-free
Flourgirl BakingNYCinnamon and other sweet buns
GLOW ChocolateMultiple locationsYChocolates and truffles
Hooray TrufflesNYChocolates and truffles
Level V Bakery39 Kingsway, Vancouver, BCYCakes & pastries
Living LotusNYChocolate products
Livvy’s Bakery CookiesMultiple LocationsY – through SPUDCookies
Panela Lemon1507 Powell St #150, Vancouver, BCYCookies
PikanikNYGluten-free, allergy-free artisan breads, cakes, desserts, etc
Saviour FoodsNYCookie dough
Say Hello Sweets620 Quebec St, Vancouver, BCYIce cream
Sweets From the EarthNYCakes, cookies, muffins, bars & squares
To Live ForMultiple locationsYBaked goods
Two Daughters Bakeshop980 W 1st St #105, North Vancouver, BCYVegan & gluten-free pastries, breads & other treats
Umaluma Dairy-Free Gelato235 E Pender St, Vancouver, BCYIce cream – some flavours contain honey
Vegan Pudding & Co101 – 422 Richards St, Vancouver, BCYWindow counter selling cakes, pudding and tea
Vogue CakesNYCakes & other desserts
Yellow Basket BakingNYOrganic, nut-free bakery operating at pop-ups & farmer markets
Zimt Chocolate Cafe1336 Clark Dr, Vancouver, BCYOrganic treats, hot drinks and chocolates

Food and beverage businesses that are 100% plant-based

Business nameIn store?Online shopping?Description
Blue Heron Cheese Shop2410 Main St, Vancouver, BCNGourmet cheeses
BlumeNYBeverage blends
Boochy BarMultiple locationsYKombucha and popsicles
Eternal Abundance Eatery & Grocery1025 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BCYGrocery products and cafe
Ergogenics NutritionMultiple locationsYSports supplements
Glory Juice Co.Multiple locationsYFresh juices, nut mylks, and cleanses
gomae mealsNYmeal prep
Harken Coffee338 Powell St, Vancouver, BCYCafé with meals & desserts
Healthy Choice Wholesale FoodsNNBulk foods
Kindred CulturesMultiple locationsYKefir live probiotics
Lita’s Mexican FoodsMultiple locationsNPrepared Mexican foods
Manna Sacred MealsNYMeal prep
PlantbaseNYMeat alternatives
Planted MealsNYMeal prep
Plant Life Nutrition2140 East Hastings Street,
Vancouver, BC
YVegan supplements
Plant CuriousNYVariety box
Plant VedaMultiple locationsYPlant-based dairy
Shani’SeasoningMultiple locationsYTofu scramble spice blend
Tality KombuchaMultiple locationsYKombucha
Tea SparrowNYTeas
The Modern MeatNYMeat alternatives
The Juice TruckMultiple locationsYJuice
TMRW FoodsMultiple locationsNMeat alternatives
Whisk Matcha CafeNYMatcha
Wild Trails Coffee134 East 14th Street, North Vancouver, BCNWraps, paninis, baked goods and coffee
Yoggu Coconut YogurtMultiple locationsYYogurt
Vegan Supply250 E Pender St, Vancouver, BCYGrocery store and online retailer

Clothing, bedding, footwear and products

Business nameIn store?Online shopping?Description
Bed2932 Main Street, Vancouver, BCY100% cotton bedding
BellantoniMultiple retailersYSustainable vegan clothing
ComfyComfyNYBuckwheat hull pillows
Daub and DesignNYSustainable vegan clothing
Dream Designs2749 Main Street,
Vancouver, BC
YNatural bedding, some contain wool
FairechildNYRecycled vegan rain protection for adults and kids
Frank and Oak316 West Cordova St, Vancouver, BCYSustainable outerwear, some products contain wool
Friend & FauxNYVegan clothing
Grinning GoatNYAnimal-free clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products
Haven Sleep CoNYA variety of vegan mattresses and bedding
inBed Organics1683 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BCYA variety of vegan mattresses and bedding
Inner Fire ActivewearNYSustainable vegan yoga pants and clothing
Kuseno Comfort ProductsMultiple retailersYBuckwheat hull pillow and hot/cold packs
Mala the BrandNYCandles made using soy, cotton, wood and glass
Native ShoesMultiple retailersYAll vegan footwear
Nice Shoes3568 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BCYAll vegan footwear
NoizeMultiple retailersYAll vegan clothing and outwear
Peace People ProjectNYUpcycled vegan clothes
PlantactiveNYClothing with vegan messages
Save the DuckMultiple retailersYVegan clothing and outerwear
Vegan YarnNYYarn made of cotton, bamboo, linen, and Tencel (Eucalyptus trees)
Vessi FootwearNYAll vegan footwear
Wuxly MovementToronto, ONYCanadian-made vegan outwear

Beauty and cleaning products and services

Business nameIn store?Online shopping?Description
Aspen CleanMultiple retailersYEco-friendly cleaning service with specially developed plant-based products
Blue DotNYSingle ingredient of ionized water that can disinfect fruits and vegetables
Botanical TherapeuticNYHair and skin care products
CeremonieNYNatural skincare products
Clarity ApothecaryNYNatural oils
Eventide Botanic AlchemyNYFace masks
Honest Cleaning & ServicesNYCleaning service with vegan products
IliaYYSkincare powered makeup
Lippy Girl MakeupMultiple retailersYMake-up
LisseNYShaving products and soaps
Live for TomorrowMultiple retailersYCleaning products
LushMultiple retailersYBath, body, skin and haircare products
Nala CareMultiple retailersYDeoderant
Nellie’s All-NaturalMultiple retailersYZero-waste cleaning products, laundry detergent
Okoko CosmetiquesYYBotanical oils and extracts
Peregrine Supply CoMultiple retailersYBeard and grooming products
Pink House OrganicsMultiple retailersYBath, body, skin, and makeup
RiversolYYSpecialty skincare
SapadillaYYCleaning products
Sappho: New ParadigmYYOrganic, vegan makeup
ScentualsYYHand sanitizer, bath and shower, body, face and aromatherapy
Skwalwen BotanicalsYYWild harvested plants for face and body products
Tru EarthYYZero waste laundry detergent
United and FreeNYGender-neutral hair, skin, and bath care products
Vintage Touch CleaningNYHouse cleaning services
Vitale Body & Soul CareYYSkincare products
Wild Jasmine Natural ApothecaryMultiple retailersYHandcrafted bath and body care products with an eco-conscious focus
Willow’s Wax Bar2139 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BCNCruelty-free wax and other beauty products
WoodlotMultiple retailersYVegan and eco-friendly skin care

Pet products

Business nameIn store?Online shopping?Description
v-planetNYPlant-based dog food
VecadoMultiple retailersYPlant-based pet food and treats
Virchew Dog FoodNYPlant-based dog food
24/7 Dog WalksVegan dog-walking service (vegan treats, leashes, etc.) Contact info:, 604-837-4553.

If you have any additions or modifications to this listing, please email


Limited Edition VHS Lager cans from Howe Sound Brewing Company

We are so excited to announce that the Vancouver Humane Society has partnered with Howe Sound Brewing Company for the release of their limited edition VHS Lager!

50c from each six-pack sold, will be donated towards the McVitie fund, which assists pet owners who are experiencing a period of life with low or no income. When their best furr-end gets injured or sick, the McVitie fund provides a safety net so that these super companions can stay in their loving homes.

Read more about some of the animals that VHS is currently helping.

The Vancouver Humane Society Lager will be available at private liquor stores. A list of stores will be added shortly. You must be over the age of 19 to purchase alcohol.


Proposed labelling rules could hinder plant-based food industry

Have your say before government consultation ends December 3rd

Canada’s plant-based food sector is booming but proposed government regulations may hamper the industry’s growth.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has launched a consultation on new, proposed guidelines for the labelling of “simulated” meat products and certain plant-based protein foods.

The guidelines require non-meat foods formulated to resemble and substitute for meat products to have the same nutritional components as the animal-based products. Such non-meat products must meet a meet minimum protein content, fat content and vitamin/mineral requirements of the meat product it is intended to substitute.

Yet, there is no need for meat substitutes to have the same nutritional profiles as meat products, as long as nutritional information is on the label. Consumers can compare products based on their individual and unique nutritional profiles, judging for themselves whether a product contains the levels of protein and other nutrients they are seeking. Making it mandatory for plant-based food companies to meet these requirements could unnecessarily increase costs, reducing production and investment incentives in the industry.

The guidelines also require that the word “simulated” appear on the labels of these products and be “shown in letters of at least the same size and prominence as those used in the remainder of the common name.” So, for example, a plant-based substitute for meatballs would need to say “simulated meatballs” on the label.

These requirements are also unnecessary, as consumers would understand labelling that uses terms such as “contains no meat” or “meatless” more easily than “simulated” (which also suggests it is an inferior product).  A product that is labelled “meatless steak” would cause no confusion for consumers and does not need to be described as “simulated.”

The proposed guidelines also introduce a new category of non-meat product, described as “other products which do not substitute for meat or poultry” and which “are not aiming to be like a meat product.” These include products such as veggie burgers, tofu burgers, Portobello mushroom burgers, lentil loaf, and soy patties. They would not be required to have “simulated” on the label or have a nutritional profile similar to a meat product, as long as they are not being represented as substitutes for meat or poultry.

VHS is urging Canadian consumers to take part in the CFIA’s consultation, which finishes December 3rd, and let the agency know that these regulations could be burden on Canada’s growing plant-based food industry. The consultation includes a survey that give consumers an opportunity to comment on the guidelines and make these points:

1)  Plant-based burgers, sausages, etc. should NOT be subject to fortification and compositional requirements so that they are nutritionally similar to meat or poultry products. As long as nutritional information is provided on the label, consumers can decide if the product meets their dietary needs.

2)  It is NOT challenging to distinguish meat and poultry products from products that are not made of meat or poultry. The term “simulated” may actually further confuse people.

VHS believes Canadian consumers are not confused by plant-based products that are presented as meat substitutes, as long as the labelling indicates there is no meat in the product and provides a list of ingredients along with nutritional information. Our view is: Let the consumer decide.


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 – are donating 10% of restaurant sales on December 1st
  • Down 2 Earth – will be donating a percentage of proceeds from their new holiday beverages, on December 1st, which include: Nog latte, Gingerbread latte, Peppermint Mocha, and a variety of Hot Cocoa’s from Zimt chocolates
  • 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 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 – have added a virtual donation jar to their website, which will be live for a week, starting December 1st
  • Vegan Yarn Studio – are donating 20% of all sales on December 1st
  • Veronica’s Gourmet Perogies – are donating $1 per every dozen vegan perogies that are sold in store between Dec 1st – 12th
  • Westpoint Naturals – have generously made a donation towards our campaign
  • Willow’s Wax Bar – are donating a percentage of sales on December 1st

Speak up for pigs

Ask 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.

Now, Animal Justice has released a new undercover investigation from a pig farm in Ontario. The disturbing footage revealed workers castrating and docking the tails of piglets without the use of painkillers; workers aggressively hitting pigs with plastic boards and jabbing them with pens; and filmed discussions indicating that pregnant pigs had been deprived of water for several days.

In addition to the cruel mistreatment captured, the footage also showcases the every day suffering of mother pigs who are kept confined in cramped gestation stalls. Concerningly, written statements from both farm management at Paragon Farms and Ontario Pork, which represents the province’s pork producers, state that they found no serious concerns after inspecting the farm.

Photo: CTV/W5, “Farm Secrets”

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 ask that the Retail Council of Canada and its grocery members honour their promise to move away from sourcing pork products from mother pigs kept in gestation stalls by 2022.