Vote for a kinder world in the B.C. local elections

Municipal elections are coming up. Will you cast your vote for a kinder world for animals?

On October 15th, municipalities in B.C. will hold their elections of local government and school boards. The weeks leading up to this election are the perfect opportunity to advocate for better protections for animals!

Candidates for mayor and council are listening to the concerns of residents and laying out their platform. By writing to the candidates and asking questions in local debates, you can:

  • Let the incoming local government know that animal welfare is a priority for residents
  • Find out where candidates stand on protecting animals
  • Help to build a community that is kinder to all species by helping to elect animal-friendly candidates

Get updates and alerts about local elections in B.C.

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Thank you to everyone who signed up for updates and who advocated for animal protection during the election. The VHS will continue to work with successful candidates to build a kinder community for all species who live here.

Contact your local candidates to express your support for animal-friendly policies

Let your candidates know that animal protection is a priority to the residents they hope to represent. Below is an email template you can copy and customize when you reach out to your candidates by phone, email, or social media.

I am writing regarding your local election campaign. As a resident, I would like to express my support for bylaws and practices that consider the welfare of animals and the many people in our community who care for them. 

I encourage you to support policies that protect the well-being of animals, including:

-	Supporting pet-friendly affordable housing
-	Reducing animal-based food purchasing
-	Supporting an end to the use of animals in entertainment
-	Ending the keeping of wild and exotic animals who suffer in captivity

I would be interested to hear about your platform commitments related to animal protection. Please reach out if you can provide any details about how you will support kindness toward all species if elected.

Thank you.

Tip: To find your local candidates, visit your municipality’s website or search for “[Your municipality’s name] local election 2022”. You can find the list of candidates in Vancouver here.

Attend local debates and ask questions.

Wild and exotic animals (animals not native to B.C.) kept in captivity have complex needs that aren’t being met in cages and tanks and that are crucial for their physical and mental well-being.

Asking questions at mayoral debates and other local events helps you to learn where candidates stand on animal protection issues, and lets candidates know that animal welfare is a priority of residents.

Below are some suggested questions covering a range of municipal policies.

Animals in captivity

  • Wild, exotic animals have unique needs that cannot be met in captivity. If elected, will you support ending the keeping of wild and exotic animals in permanent captivity for the sake of entertainment and education, in favour of genuine rescue, rehab and release programs and wildlife conservation efforts?
  • Currently, provincial Controlled Alien Species legislation only restricts the private keeping of certain animal species, while many animals that are not suitable for captivity fall through the gaps. For instance, provincial laws do not prohibit the private keeping of zebras. Municipalities have the power to introduce positive lists, which proactively only allow animals that are evidenced to be a suitable fit for domestic environments. Would you support a positive pet list approach?

Animals in Entertainment

  • As we learn more about animal welfare, more people are opposing the use of animals in entertainment such as rodeos and sled dog tourism. If elected, will you support ending the use of animals for entertainment purposes in favour of animal and family-friendly events?
  • The presence of horse-drawn vehicles in urban areas poses a risk to horses, pedestrians, and drivers. Montreal has already banned horse-drawn carriages. If elected, would you support a move away from horse-drawn vehicles?

Farmed Animals

  • Municipalities take a stance on dietary choices when they purchase food for meetings, events, and concessions, or offer food-related funding. The City of Vancouver has already committed to exploring a 20% shift toward plant-based foods, which will help to decrease emissions, cut food purchasing costs, and save animal lives. Would you support a similar commitment to increase plant-based food purchasing?

Companion animals

  • British Columbia is experiencing a housing crisis, and many people with pets are finding it extremely difficult to find affordable housing. If elected, will you support ending the “no pets” rental policies?
  • During the flooding crisis in late 2021, many families with pets were left without adequate accommodation options. Would you support emergency planning that considers animals, including companion animals?


  • There are significant gaps in provincial legislation around rodent poison use, as many animal protection and wildlife rescue organizations have pointed out. Would you support a full ban on dangerous rodenticides being used on municipal property?

Vote on or before October 15

Your vote counts! You can use yours to speak up for animals on voting day or at advance polls. You can find details about advance polling dates, voting locations, and candidates on your municipality’s website.