Call on your B.C. MLA to act for sled dogs and wild animals in captivity

Speak up for sled dogs & wild animals in captivity

The government has so far been inactive on the VHS’s recommendations to improve laws for sled dogs and wild animals in captivity. Will you ask your MLA to speak up to change the laws? Take action now!

Sled dogs & wild animals in captivity need your help

Wild, exotic animals confined in captivity and dogs suffering in the commercial sled dog industry are two issues that the provincial government has acknowledged are on their ‘to-do list’; but action continues to be delayed and animals suffer in the meantime.

Here’s where YOU come in! By contacting your B.C. MLA, you can help ensure these crucial animal welfare issues are acknowledged as a priority for the provincial government.

You don’t need to be an expert on either of these topics. Instead, what’s important is that they hear why these issues matter to you; what your concerns are; and that you want them to raise the issues, along with the VHS’s recommendations, with the relevant B.C. Ministers.

The VHS put together a step-by-step guide to help engage your MLA and is here to support you along the way. Sign up to receive your MLA engagement guide and get in touch with your MLA today!

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Ask your MLA to speak up for:

1) Wild and exotic animals in captivity

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.

In captivity, these animals are are cut off from exploring new territory with engaging sights and smells. They are often kept alone or in unnatural social groups, with the inability to escape from other animals they don’t get along with. They are also unable to engage in many behaviours that are natural to them, including hunting. As a result, captive wild and exotic animals often show signs of stress, boredom, and even aggression.

Many wild and exotic animals are legally kept in captivity throughout B.C., including:

  • kept in zoos and aquariums with enclosures a fraction of the size of their natural home range
  • kept in poor conditions by animal rental agencies for use in TV, film and events
  • suffering as a result of inadequate housing, nutrition and care when kept as pets

The VHS has been documenting the conditions of animals at the Greater Vancouver Zoo and Vancouver Aquarium for years.

The video below illustrates the need for changes to B.C.’s rules around wild and exotic animals in captivity.

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Wild and exotic animals are suffering in captivity in British Columbia as a result of outdated regulations. Learn more and take action:

2) Sled dogs in commercial sled dog tourism industry

In the commercial sled dog tourism industry are often kept chained outdoors for prolonged periods of time, with little opportunity to exhibit natural behaviours or socialize. When they can no longer be used by the industry, they are subjected to inhumane methods of euthanasia.

Undercover investigations and whistleblowers have shared evidence of:

  • dogs pacing repetitively
  • dogs chained in barren yards with access to dog houses that provide little protection from the heat and cold
  • stories of dogs being euthanized inhumanely, including by gunshot

In fact, B.C.’s current Sled Dog Standards of Care allow for sled dogs to be tethered or caged for prolonged periods of time, as they are only required to be released once a day and there are no requirements for how long. Sled dog tour companies are permitted to shoot surplus sled dogs, so long as the operator has made reasonable efforts to try to rehome the sled dog.

The video below, from B.C.-based tour companies, highlights the need to update the province’s sled dog regulations.

Unable to meet or speak with your MLA, but still want to take action?

Get in touch with VHS at for a quick way to call on your MLA to take action on these issues.