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Make sure it’s a safe and Happy Halloween for animals


Halloween is a time for fun but it can be a difficult time for animals.  Here are some things you can do that will help ensure animals enjoy the occasion too.

Keep animals inside – The noise from fireworks, trick-or-treaters and parties can be stressful for animals, so please ensure they are kept inside on Halloween. It’s also a good idea to ensure pets are wearing identification at all times in case they get out.  Pets should also be kept away from the front door, as they may find a constant stream of noisy visitors threatening. 

In Vancouver, the City makes a family fireworks permit available from October 25 to 31, to discharge fireworks on Halloween. VHS would like to see a complete ban on fireworks in the city, which not only adversely affects pets, but also urban wildlife. You can sign a petition for a ban here.

Keep Halloween treats away from pets – Candy should be kept secure and away from pets, especially chocolate, which is very toxic to dogs.  Sugary candy, raisins and some nuts are also toxic, as are some artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol.  Even ingested wrappers can cause bowel obstructions.

Be careful with decorations – Materials like tinsel, ribbon and string are dangerous for pets, as they may cause severe injury to the intestinal tract if swallowed, so keep decorations away from them. Be careful with strings of lights and extension cords to avoid risk of pets getting an electric shock. Remember that pets can knock things over, so keep Jack-O-Lanterns and other decorations with candles out of their way.

Don’t go overboard with pet costumes – While pets in costumes can be adorable, they can also make animals uncomfortable and stressed. Watch for signs of anxiety or distress and don’t force anything on a reluctant pet. If your pet doesn’t mind a costume, make sure it doesn’t significantly limit movement, hearing, eyesight, or the ability to eat food or drink water.

Remember that not every animal likes to party – Keep an eye on your pets at parties, or better yet, keep them in a separate room.  Noisy crowds, strangers, loud music, drugs & alcohol, food falling on the floor – all can present risks and create a stressful environment for animals.

Avoid “pumpkin patches” that display animals – In recent years, pumpkin patches and corn mazes on local farms have become Halloween attractions.  Some incorporate petting zoos, putting farmed animals on display and allowing the public to interact with them.  This can be stressful for farmed animals, as they cannot escape unwanted attention.  It’s worth remembering that these animals are not pets, are being displayed for profit and may later be sent for slaughter like all farmed animals. It’s a good idea to call the venue first and ask whether animals are part of the attraction and under what circumstances.

Try a plant-based Halloween – There are lots of ideas and recipes online to make your Halloween plant-based and cruelty-free.  Here are a few helpful links:
Halloween items at Vegan Supply
Recipes from Choose Veg
Recipes from VNutrition
Vegan Halloween candy guide from Cooking Light
The Food Empowerment Project has a free app listing vegan chocolate suppliers

Give your leftover pumpkins to an animal sanctuary – Sanctuaries for farmed animals can often use leftover produce, including pumpkins, for feed. The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary and the Little Oink Bank Pig Sanctuary are two local groups you can contact to see what their hungry animals need.


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This year, have a compassionate, plant-based Thanksgiving

Try these plant-based ideas for Thanksgiving Dinner

Every year in Canada, 20 million turkeys are slaughtered, with many ending up on dinner tables for Thanksgiving.

Most turkeys are bred for fast growth, which causes them to be top-heavy, leading to painful bone deformities and lameness. Most are raised in cramped conditions on factory farms, where they suffer boredom and frustration because they lack the space to express natural behaviours. They are also subjected to painful beak trimming and toe trimming without pain medication.

A plant-based Thanksgiving is a compassionate alternative to eating turkeys or other animals for the celebration. The good news is that there are plenty of  cruelty-free options and resources for a meat-free holiday.  Here are our suggestions on how to enjoy a compassionate Thanksgiving dinner in Vancouver.

A great option is the Annual Compassionate Thanksgiving Potluck Celebration on October 8th, which this year is being hosted by Vancouver’s Meatless Meetup and Vegans of UBC. Proceeds from this family-friendly event will go to cover costs and to support Earthsave Canada’s school talks program.

If your budget allows some fine dining, Vancouver’s upscale plant-based restaurant, The Acorn, is offering an ‘Everything but the Bird Thanksgiving Feast’ on October 7th and 8th, which it says will be an “indulgent, wildly seasonal” three-course dinner for $45 per person with optional wine pairings.

But if, like most people, you plan to prepare your own holiday dinner, there’s no shortage of alternatives to turkey.  There are a number of great meatless roasts available from Vancouver’s Vegan Supply, including offerings from Gardein, Field Roast and Tofurky.

And, of course, there are plenty of online recipes and suggestions for a plant-based Thanksgiving.  The Oh She Glows recipe website offers lots of ideas, as does The Food Network and even this Toronto yoga centre’s site.

Plant-based choices for special celebrations are increasingly common, making it easy to enjoy a cruelty-free holiday feast. 

Have a happy – and compassionate – Thanksgiving!







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New bus ad reminds us that animals are friends, not food

VHS’s new Translink bus ad highlighting our Go Veg campaign recently hit the streets of Vancouver. The ad, which features a young girl petting a pig, aims to remind us that when we were children we instinctively saw animals as friends and not food.

VHS’s Go Veg campaign works to help people rediscover that innate love for animals and to raise awareness of the power behind what we put on our plate.
In 2017, over 800 million land animals were killed for food in Canada. They are crammed, shackled and caged in filthy conditions that don’t permit them to perform the most basic natural behaviours. Most will never feel the sun on their backs or grass under their feet and their transport and slaughter conditions are equally horrific.

Every time we sit down to eat, we have an opportunity to stand up for a kinder world for animals. By choosing to leave animal products off our plates we’re helping to reduce the demand for meat that drives factory farming and we’re setting a positive example for others. You can download our Live Well booklet to learn more and get free vegan recipes.

French Toast Coffee Cake, Mac & Cheese Onion Rings, and Stuffed Crust Pizza – sound delicious?! These are just a few of the 101 recipes featured in Lauren Toyota’s new “Vegan Comfort Classics” cookbook. Help us spread the “go veg” message and you’ll be entered for a chance to win Lauren’s new cookbook! Keep an eye out for our bus ad, take a photo and post it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and tag VHS. Use the hashtag #govegvancouver and we’ll select a winner at random.

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Earth Day: Go plant-based for the planet

Today marks the 48th annual Earth Day celebration and around the world events and efforts will be taking place to draw attention to the need for stronger environmental protections.

As the global community reflects today on the increasingly sensitive state of the planet and what role we as individuals can play in tackling what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming issue, it’s important to remember that every time we sit down to eat, we have an opportunity to stand up for a better world.

Animal agriculture has been identified as a leading contributor not only to climate change, but to air and water pollution, water use, land degradation, deforestation and biodiversity decline.

In fact, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire global transportation sector. This is because animal-based foods are incredibly inefficient to produce and are very resource-intensive. The processes involved when it comes to raising, transporting and slaughtering animals for food are responsible for potent greenhouse gas emissions including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. To put this in perspective, beef production requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of edible protein than common plant-based protein sources such as beans, peas and lentils.[1]

The production of animal-based foods also requires and pollutes large amounts of water. Agriculture accounts for 92% of our global freshwater footprint; approximately one third relates to animal products.[2] The water footprint per gram of protein for milk, eggs and chicken is approximately 1.5 times larger than for pulses (beans, lentils, peas). For beef, it is six times larger than for pulses.[3] The sheer volume of animal waste, along with fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, as well as hormones and antibiotics used on livestock create major water pollution issues. These pollutants seep into waterways, threatening water quality, ecosystems and animal and human health.[4]

Meanwhile, animal agriculture is a key contributor to land degradation and deforestation, with one-quarter of the earth’s land surface (excluding Antarctica) being used as pastureland. [5] The conversion of natural habitat to accommodate livestock and feed crops puts immense pressure on wildlife that struggle to survive in increasingly fragmented and degraded environments. Ineffective and ill-informed cull programs put additional pressure on predator populations, due to the perceived threat they pose to livestock profits.

While our diet can be a major part of the problem when it comes to protecting the planet, that also means it is a crucial part of the solution. A 2016 Oxford Martin School study found that the adoption of global dietary guidelines would cut food-related emissions by 29%, vegetarian diets by 63%, and vegan diets by 70%.[6] By reducing and eliminating resource-intensive animal products from our diet and supporting efforts to make more sustainable plant-based foods widely accessible, we can drastically decrease our individual and societal environmental footprints.

This Earth Day, join the growing number of people around the world who are recognizing the power behind what we put on our plate. Take our Meatless Monday pledge for recipe ideas and download our Live Well booklet to learn more about a plant-based diet. You can also support VHS’s efforts to introduce more healthy, humane and sustainable plant-based menu options in schools and other institutions.







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An amazing vegan holiday feast!


Our guest blogger Amanda Tracey is from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and started her blog All She Does Is Eat to share her favourite recipes and tips to living as compassionately as possible. She now lives in Vancouver and works as a communications professional and blogger.  


 All She Does Is Eat’s Holiday Feast

When I first adopted a vegan lifestyle, one of my worries was “how am I going to participate in the holidays?” I was concerned that my veganized recipes wouldn’t live up to the part – but boy was I wrong. Growing up I always thought the turkey was the centrepiece of the dinner, but my favourite things were always the potatoes, stuffing and gravy (I’m pretty sure gravy runs through my veins). So, for me personally, I’ve never missed the turkey.

I’ve been vegan for three years, and it was only last year that I decided to step my game up. I’ve had family and friends try everything I am going to share with you here, so I am 101% positive that you will like it. 

I’ve taste-tested the Tofurkey roast and it wasn’t really my thing. Other people I know really enjoy it, but my favourite is the Gardein roast. If you don’t like either, you could try a roast like this one from hot for food or you can just stick with a bunch of delicious vegetables. But for me, I’m going with the Gardein roast. Just bake it according to instructions. It’s very straightforward! As for the rest, keep reading for the recipes. 

Serves: 2

What you’ll need:


  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of sea salt 
  • Black pepper to taste


  • 3 pieces of bread
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasonings

Garlic, whipped potatoes

  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Other ingredients you’ll need:   

  • Gardein roast
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 cup peas


*A little note, all of the above serves 2 people (fairly big plates though). Make sure to double or even triple each recipe depending on how many guests are joining you!

1. Peel and wash your potatoes and carrots. Then place them in a medium to large sized pot, and boil them for 20-25 minutes. They will be fork tender when finished.

2. For the stuffing, crumble your bread by hand in a bowl or in a food processor. Add the butter to your bowl, along with the parsley flakes, garlic powder and Italian seasonings. To bake, add to a small casserole dish and cover with tinfoil. Bake for 20-25 minutes on 450F. Once done it is ready to enjoy!

3. Cook your Gardein roast according to package. So yummy!

4. In a food processor, blend your garlic clove until it’s broken into small pieces. Add the vegetable broth, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, sea salt and black pepper. If you don’t have a food processor, mince your garlic by hand and add all ingredients to a blender. Heat the butter in a small pot. Once melted, add the all-purpose flour, whisking immediately. It will be a thick paste. Let cook for 1 more minute, and then add your blended ingredients. Whisk again until fully combined. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes on low heat. Now it is ready to serve!

5. You can either eat your potatoes plain like the carrots, or you can whip them up a bit more! In a small bowl (big enough to fit all potatoes), mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher. Add the almond milk, garlic powder and Italian seasonings. Stir together until fully combined.

6. For the peas, drain and rinse them and then heat them up in a small pot/pan or the microwave. Whichever is easiest!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! For more recipes follow me on Instagram @allshedoesiseat_

Amanda xx

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Chartwells & Langara College Lead Lower Mainland Meatless Monday Effort



It’s been over a year and a half since Vancouver’s Langara College became the first campus in Western Canada to join the globally popular Meatless Monday movement. The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) first introduced the initiative in March 2015 to Langara’s Environmental Club and food service provider, Chartwells. Both groups eagerly supported bringing it to the school’s cafeteria after learning about the impact of our society’s overconsumption of meat on animal welfare, the environment and public health.

“We felt this was a great opportunity to take a small, but powerful, step by raising awareness of the impact of our food choices and offering options to reduce that impact,” said Rizwan Bandali of Chartwells/Compass Group.

And seize that opportunity is exactly what Chartwells and Langara College did, with the introduction of delicious meatless menu items! The cafeteria kicks off each week with a wide variety of options, from roasted veggie paninis and mouth-watering curries to meatless meatballs, veg lasagna and creative tofu dishes.

langara-blog-post7Meatless Monday specials have been paired with eye-catching, educational posters aimed at raising awareness and boosting participation in the initiative. Statistics outlining water use and greenhouse gas emissions from meat production are another way the campaign extends education into the cafeteria and inspires individual action.

Chartwells reports sales have been steadily increasing and feedback regarding the meatless items has been very positive. So much so that the cafeteria recently began offering an additional daily hot vegetarian bar, adding even more meatless options to the menu.

Langara’s campaign has effectively blazed a trail for other Lower Mainland schools interested in taking similar steps to help protect animals, our health, and the planet. To date, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Eric Hamber Secondary and Winston Churchill Secondary have implemented similar initiatives and others are set to join as well.langara-blog-post1

“We’re thrilled to see Meatless Monday catching on here in the Lower Mainland and we commend Chartwells Langara for helping make that possible. Factory farming, climate change and public health are major issues facing us today. They can seem overwhelming from an individual perspective, but when we realize that we can have a significant impact simply by what we choose to put on our plate, we can take steps to support a kinder, cleaner and healthier world,” said VHS Program Coordinator, Emily Pickett.

Follow Chartwells Langara’s lead by taking our online Meatless Monday pledge. We’ll share a weekly recipe to help you keep your commitment! You can also support our effort to bring Meatless Monday to more classrooms, cafeterias and communities by making a donation today. Interested in bringing Meatless Monday to your school, workplace, business or community? Get in touch with Program Coordinator, Emily Pickett, to learn more!

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Vancouver’s Eric Hamber Secondary Embraces Meatless Monday

Diverse high school students eating lunch in the cafeteria

School is back in session, which means so is Meatless Monday! Vancouver’s Eric Hamber Secondary is kicking off the school year with a re-launch of their highly successful Meatless Monday initiative. Last year, the school’s Environmental Club worked with VHS, school administrators and their food service provider, Canuel Caterers, to introduce delicious meatless meals every Monday!

Eric Hamber’s Environmental Club was keen to bring the humane, sustainable and healthy-eating campaign to their cafeteria after learning about the impact of meat consumption on animal welfare, the environment and our health. Mouth-watering menu items, including hummus wraps, chickpea curry rice bowls, mushroom burgers and a salad bar, made Mondays something to look forward to. Students and staff have embraced the initiative, with Mondays seeing an increase in sales and customer count by 15 percent and 10 percent respectively.

This year, the Environmental Club is ready to share the Meatless Monday message again with fellow students and teachers, utilizing posters, prizes, social media and school announcements to raise awareness and participation.

“We’re excited to bring back Meatless Monday for a second year! In an effort to reduce our environmental footprint, we’ll be encouraging students to cut back on meat, which requires many resources to produce and transport, and to choose a tasty and healthy salad instead,” said the Environmental Club’s Program Coordinator.

You can follow Eric Hamber’s lead by taking our Meatless Monday pledge – we’ll send you a weekly recipe! You can also make a donation in support of our effort to bring the initiative to more classrooms, cafeterias and communities this year.

Interested in introducing Meatless Monday to your school, workplace, business or community? Learn more and get in touch with us!

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Meatless Monday Goes Global With International Cookbook

canada recipeThe Vancouver Humane Society recently joined forces with other Canadian Meatless Monday advocates, including EarthSave Canada, to contribute to an exciting new online cookbook. “Meat-Free Monday Everywhere” brings together leaders in the Meatless Monday movement from around the globe, with each country submitting a meatless recipe representative of their corner of the world.

With no shortage of cruelty-free recipes out there, the process of narrowing it down to THE Canadian dish was no easy feat. In the end, it was Vancouver writer Eleanor Boyle’s personal recipe, a Potato and Carrot Salad with Garlic-Mustard Dressing, which would represent Canadian meatless cuisine on the international scene. The ingredients in this salad are all from hardy plants that grow well in our temperate climate. Canada produces significant quantities of mustard, potatoes, carrots, kale, lentils and the other ingredients found in this salad. The recipe contains familiar and nutritious ingredients, plus a delicious vinaigrette that includes a touch of Canadian maple syrup.

The Meat-Free Monday Everywhere cookbook showcases not only the delicious variety of meatless meal options to choose from, but also the impressive growth of the Meatless Monday movement. Active in over 30 countries, the movement is raising awareness of the impact that reducing/eliminating meat consumption has on animal welfare, our health and the environment.

Over 700 million animals are killed for food every year in Canada, and our over-consumption of cheap meat has forced nearly all of them into factory farms, where they endure conditions and practices that most Canadians find appalling. Reducing and eliminating meat consumption and incorporating more plant-based proteins in our diet has health benefits, including protecting against heart disease, stroke, and cancer, reducing our risk for diabetes, curbing obesity and improving the nutritional quality of diet.

If all of these benefits weren’t enough, plant-based eating is also much kinder to the planet. Animal agriculture is a major contributor not only to climate change, but to air and water pollution, water use, land degradation and deforestation, biodiversity decline, and ocean degradation. In fact, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector. It takes far more resources to farm living animals who eat plants than it does to simply eat plant-based ourselves.

With all of this in mind, we encourage you to join us in standing up for animals every time you sit down to eat! Check out the online cookbook online cookbook for some delicious recipes and don’t forget to take the Meatless Monday pledge for a free weekly recipe to help you in your commitment to protecting animals, your health and the planet. pic
Canadian Meatless Monday advocates – Vancouver writer, Eleanor Boyle, EarthSave President, David Steele and Vancouver Humane Society Program Coordinator, Emily Pickett
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A Vegan Valentine’s Day

VHS volunteer Miles Linklater reveals the secrets of making a perfect vegan dinner for Valentine’s Day.

My partner travels a lot for his work, and we have rarely been together on the actual date of February 14. This year is no different, but we will be together February 13 and will make a great meal together. If we have any single friends without plans, we’ll invite them over as well.

I like to have a ‘theme’ when I cook for people. The courses should complement each other, so this year I’m choosing to look at recipes containing ingredients considered to be aphrodisiacs (it is Valentine’s Day after all). Not surprisingly, most foods that fall into this category are either fruits or vegetables; animal products are almost never considered ‘sexy’!

Let’s start with Asparagus

asparagus Asparagus is best served on its own, either lightly steamed or roasted, with just a touch of lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt. You can make it even fancier by using truffle salt or a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar (don’t use too much or you’ll overpower its unique flavour), but DO NOT overcook the asparagus. This will cause it to go limp and sometimes mushy. Always taste while it’s cooking and stop just before you think it’s ready. It will continue to cook (as all foods will) even after you take it away from heat.
Here are some dishes you can make using asparagus

And now onto Avocados

avocadoNot just for salads or guacamole, avocados are a vegan’s secret weapon when it comes to desserts! They impart a creaminess when used in desserts, whether as a main ingredient or as decorative frosting. Naturally they also work well in salads and are the perfect base for a creamy pasta dish.
Some recipes.



Always popular in the dessert category, bananas are full of potassium, a nutrient key to muscle strength. Similar to avocados, bananas add texture and smoothness to any dish when they are ripe, and also be the base for an ‘instant’ ice cream.
Recipes containing bananas



chocolateFull of phenylethylamine, a stimulant that conjures feelings of well-being, plus it’s delicious! It’s easier than ever to find high-quality chocolate which doesn’t contain any dairy ingredients. Try some of these recipes for a decadent dessert.
Recipes using chocolate



pomegranateFull of antioxidants, these exotic fruits add a unique taste and visual appeal when used in salads or desserts.
Pomegranate recipes




Red Wine

redwineIn addition to relaxing you faster than a neck rub, red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps boost blood flow and improves circulation. If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly red wine, check out Barnivore’s list of red wines from Canada



Walnuts, Pumpkin seeds and Flaxseeds

walnutsAll packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which just happen to keep sex hormone production at its peak! Walnuts are perfect for adding texture to stuffed mushrooms, and also great in pesto recipes and desserts
Great recipes incorporating walnuts




vanillaVegan desserts and ice creams made with this sweet bean will help stimulate your senses. Why not spoil yourself, your loved ones, and your guests with a dessert full of vanilla?
Recipes containing vanilla



Given all these choices, what will I make for my Valentine’s dinner? I will include red wine, start with a Colombian avocado soup, a delicious salad with broiled hearts of romaine, a lovely pasta dish with roasted vegetables and avocado, and end with a fruit tart or dessert of some kind.

As you can see, there are so many vegan recipes available to try (thank you Internet) that there’s no excuse not to make a caring and comforting dinner for those you love.