Calgary media shares VHS billboards on rodeo cruelty

Could the future of the Calgary Stampede be rodeo-free? Public opinion is shifting on the controversial rodeo and chuckwagon racing, and new billboards from the Vancouver Humane Society are raising more awareness about the animal welfare concerns associated with these events.

The billboards are featured in Calgary media outlets including CTV News Calgary, Global News, and the Daily Hive.

Learn more at

CTV News Calgary

Calgary billboards ask people to skip the rodeo, chuckwagon races

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has taken out a series of billboard ads around Calgary encouraging people to skip the rodeo and chuckwagon races at the Stampede this summer.

“The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has taken out a series of billboard ads around Calgary encouraging people to skip the rodeo and chuckwagon races at the Stampede this summer.”

Read the article

Global News

Animal rights activists say Stampede ‘not entertainment; it’s cruelty’ – Calgary |

The start of the Calgary Stampede is over 7 weeks away, but the Vancouver Humane Society has already launched a campaign urging Calgarians to skip the rodeo and chuckwagon races.

“‘The billboards encourage people to rethink supporting events that cause animal suffering,’ says the Society’s director of communications, Chantelle Archambault. ‘It’s not entertainment. It’s cruelty.'”

Read the article

Daily Hive

Billboards are popping up urging people to skip an iconic Calgary Stampede event | News

There are billboards popping up around Calgary protesting a long-standing and controversial event at the Stampede.

“Billboards are popping up around Calgary protesting a long-standing and controversial event at the Stampede. The billboards, released by the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS), encourage Calgarians to shift their perspectives around the Stampede rodeo and chuckwagon races.”

Read the article

Horse racing season to begin at deadly Hastings Racecourse

  • April 27th marks the beginning of live racing season at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver.
  • Last year, eight horses lost their lives at Hastings.
  • Horses used in racing events endure stress, pain, and risk to their lives due to the high-pressure events, aversive training methods, and the use of painful tools like whips and bits.
  • Horses who no longer generate a profit are at risk of being sent to auction, where they face further trauma and can end up on a slaughterhouse floor.

Can you take the pledge to boycott inhumane horse racing events and add your name in support of protecting horses?

Take pledge
2023 incidents

Take the pledge to say no to horse racing

By taking the pledge today, you will reflect your concern about recent race horse fatalities and incidents and to sign up to receive updates about the VHS’s upcoming horse racing campaign.

Learn more about the deaths of eight horses at Hastings Racecourse in 2023 here.


UPDATE: Support major changes to protect farmed animals in B.C.

New report recommends major changes to protect farmed animals in B.C. Add your name in support!

Following growing concerns about the state of farmed animal welfare in B.C., a committee tasked with reviewing the province’s farmed animal welfare framework has presented its recommendations to the Ministry of Agriculture. Join the VHS in urging decision-makers to prioritize next steps!

Take action
Learn more

Take action to protect farmed animals

Use the template message below to call on B.C.’s Premier and the Minister of Agriculture to take specific actions that build on these recommendations and to prioritize their implementation to meaningfully protect farmed animals from egregious cruelty and suffering.  

Live outside of Canada? You can email B.C.’s Premier at and the Minister of Agriculture at

Agriculture Ministry listening after years of welfare issues

In B.C. alone, near-annual undercover investigations over the last decade have revealed serious and systemic welfare issues within the animal agriculture industry. 

In late 2022, B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture launched a review of the province’s farmed animal welfare framework. This week, a Ministry advisory committee released a new farmed animal welfare recommendations report that will be considered by the Ministry as part of the review. 

The report’s recommendations include a new government-funded inspection and enforcement function within the Ministry of Agriculture, which would take over responsibility for implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act with respect to farmed animals. Other recommendations include providing an annual public report around enforcement activities; an expanded range of enforcement options and penalties; animal welfare and humane handling training improvements; and continued support for the inclusion of farmed animals in emergency planning.  

Learn more about the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture’s farmed animal welfare framework review and the advisory committee’s recommendations report. 

Learn more

New footage captures inhumane handling and stressed animals at B.C. rodeos 

  • Newly released footage from several B.C. rodeos reveals recurring animal welfare issues, including animals being hit, kicked, and having their tail and ears twisted and pulled.  
  • New polling shows growing public opposition to the use of animals in rodeo events. 65% of B.C. residents and 67% of Canadians are opposed to the practice. 
  • Use the VHS’s quick action tool to share this new footage with your city council and B.C.’s Minister of Tourism and to call for a rodeo bylaw and an end to using taxpayer dollars to fund inhumane rodeo events.  
Take action
Watch the video
Learn more

Take quick action

Use the VHS’s quick action tool below to share this new footage and call for: 

  1. A municipal bylaw prohibiting inhumane rodeo events in your community; 
  2. An end to BC government funding of rodeo events. 

Watch the footage

Footage from the Princeton, Chilliwack, Armstrong and Merritt rodeos reveals recurring animal welfare issues. In the videos, stressed animals are roughly handled, deliberately agitated into fleeing and bucking, and put at risk of serious injury. Clips show animals being roped around the neck; thrown and wrestled to the ground; and kicked with spurs. Animals are seen being hit and kicked; having their tail and ears twisted and pulled. Frightened animals run into fences, thrash in the chutes, and resist handlers.

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How rodeo handlers agitate animals into running & bucking

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Rodeos rely on prey animals’ “fight or flight” fear responses to make them “perform”.

Signs of stress in rodeo animals

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Animals experience fear, discomfort, and pain in rodeos. Watch for these signs of stress in rodeo footage, as seen in 2023 B.C.


Protect wild, exotic animals in captivity: Petition

Wild, exotic animals suffer in captivity

Zoos and aquariums cannot replicate the size and complexity of a wild animal’s natural habitat. Captive wildlife are also unable to engage in many natural behaviours that are crucial to their physical, social and psychological well-being. Captive exotic animals are often kept in climates that are not suitable for their species.  

According to a recent poll,89% of British Columbians oppose the international trade of exotic animals (wild animals not native to B.C.) to be kept on display in permanent captivity in zoos and aquariums.

By signing the petition, you call on the B.C. government to:

  • Expand the Controlled Alien Species regulation criteria to include animal welfare considerations and update the CAS list to include and prohibit the keeping, breeding and transporting of all exotic species for permanent captivity;
  • Adopt a positive list approach, which allows only those species that meet certain evidence-based suitability criteria to be kept, bred and transported.
  • No longer allow permits to be issued for the keeping, breeding and transporting of exotic animal species, including for zoos and aquariums, film and tv industry, and research and education institutions;
  • Relocate to more appropriate facilities, animals whose physical, psychological and/or social needs are not being adequately met in captivity and/or those who are not appropriate for B.C.’s climate.
  • If no suitable alternatives exist, allow exotic species currently kept in captivity to remain, but prohibit captive breeding of exotic species.
  • Restrict captive breeding of native wildlife, unless it is part of a reintroduction program into the wild.
  • Maintain records for all individual wild and exotic captive animals in facilities, including information related to origin, import/export, breeding, births, deaths, and transport history.
  • Require emergency management plans for all wild and/or exotic animals in captivity.

Call for changes to wild & exotic animal captivity rules in B.C.

VHS has delivered a letter outlining our recommendations and has requested a meeting with the Minister. We will keep Ministry decision-makers updated on the total number of public signatures in support of the campaign.

*The petition form will only accept Canadian postal codes. If you reside outside of Canada, you can send a message directly to the Minister at


VHS has been closely observing the status of animals at the Greater Vancouver Zoo and the Vancouver Aquarium. Investigation of both facilities revealed animals in small, barren enclosures and animals exhibiting abnormal behaviours. We have reported this footage to the BC SPCA and a cruelty investigation has been opened.

View the full footage reported to the BC SPCA.

Learn more about exotic, wild animal captivity and help raise awareness

Scroll through the infographics below to learn more about the issues facing captive wild animals. Click the images to save and share them on social media, or scroll down the page for key messages to share on Twitter.

Wild, exotic animals have no place in B.C. zoos. I support @vanhumane’s suggested restrictions to animal captivity.
I signed the petition to protect wild, exotic animals from suffering in captivity! Will you join me?
B.C.’s Controlled Alien Species regulation has not been updated since 2009 and is overdue for an update. Sign the petition to call for changes!

B.C.’s outdated regulations

There are loopholes in the law when it comes to keeping exotic animals. While B.C. has regulations related to the possession, transportation and breeding of exotic animals (wild animals not native to B.C.), the “Controlled Alien Species” (CAS) regulation prohibits only species that pose the greatest threat to public health and safety and does not consider animal welfare or a species’ suitability for captivity. This leaves out many exotic species, such as kangaroos and zebras, who are not subject to the CAS regulation.

The international trade of animals also increases the risk of disease spread. One in four emerging diseases is zoonotic; many of the most serious illnesses of our lifetimes have originated in animals, including COVID-19.

In B.C., zoos and aquariums, industries using animals for research, and the TV and film industry can get permits to keep dangerous exotic animals through provincial laws regulating the trade of exotic animals. These Controlled Alien Species permits lead to frequent trade of exotic animals and end up resulting in at best, boredom and repetitive behaviours, and at worst, physical suffering and early death.

The province has not significantly updated the CAS regulation since its passing in 2009 and it is overdue for an update.