Horrific footage from B.C. slaughterhouse prompts new action for farmed animals

Photos: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media

B.C. slaughterhouse with connections to previous cruelty case under investigation

Last night, Animal Justice released horrific footage of animal cruelty at Meadow Valley Meats, a slaughterhouse in Pitt Meadows that promotes itself as “local” and its meat products as “ethical”. This footage shows suffering of the worst kind and demonstrates a clear violation of provincial and federal slaughter regulations

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Next step
Learn more

Quick action: Email the B.C. Minister of Agriculture

Use the quick email tool below to call for meaningful changes for farmed animals in B.C., including:

  1. Proactive enforcement of the Meat Inspection Regulation, which governs provincial slaughterhouses, including appropriate deterrents to prevent animal cruelty and including unannounced inspections;
  2. Publicly-available reports of independent, third-party audits, including consistent video surveillance monitoring for real transparency; and
  3. Effective penalties for industry stakeholders who are found guilty of animal cruelty.

Tip: Personalize your message to make it more impactful! The template below is editable, so feel free to share more about why this issue is important to you.

Live outside of Canada? You can email the Minister at:

Next step: Sign the federal action from Animal Justice

Take action to call for improvements to federal regulations around farmed animal care and slaughter in Canada. This quick action from Animal Justice calls on the federal Minister of Agriculture to introduce mandatory video surveillance in slaughterhouses.

Note: This link will take you to the quick action. Scrolling up on the linked page will reveal graphic images of animal suffering.

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Not the first time Meadow Valley Meats has been in trouble

Meadow Valley Meats is a B.C.-based slaughterhouse company. According to their website, they are the largest B.C. processor of beef, veal, lambs and goats. This footage does not show an isolated incident, but further evidence of systemic problems in the animal agriculture industry from a major local company

Media reports that the company, formerly called Pitt Meadows Meats, pled guilty in 2015 to selling E. Coli-tainted meat and after the plant manager knowingly decided not to recall the tainted meat. Meadow Valley Meats also lists Jeff and Ken Kooyman as directors. The two men have connections to the infamous 2014 Chilliwack Cattle Sales dairy cruelty case. That investigation revealed staff repeatedly kicking and punching cows, hitting them with canes and ripping out their tail hair. Video footage also showed a cow being lifted by a chain around her neck using a tractor. The company was fined the maximum amount and had to pay $258,700.

These horrific cases reflect what animal advocates have long argued – that there are serious, systemic animal welfare issues across the animal agriculture industry. It also highlights that court-mandated fines are not enough to change the behaviour of the industry and protect animals.

Meadow Valley Meats is responsible for the following brands, many of which are marketed as local, humane, or family farms.

Image: Meadow Valley Meats website

Regulations around animal slaughter

Meadow Valley Meats is regulated by the Provincial Meat Inspection Regulation, which requires that animals are kept & slaughtered “in accordance with the requirements relating to the humane treatment of animals” set forth by the federal government. 

The animal agriculture industry and regulating bodies tout requirements of “humane slaughter” to build public trust; but sadly, this claim doesn’t translate to good welfare for animals.

Help raise awareness: watch & share the footage

Content warning: This footage released by Animal Justice to CTV News depicts horrific animal suffering in a slaughterhouse.

The investigation highlights numerous issues at the slaughterhouse, including:

  • Cows, sheep and goats being forcefully hit, kicked and thrown to the ground;
  • Frightened animals crowded together in hallways and panicked attempts to escape;
  • Cruel use of an electric prod on the face of cows;
  • Improper slaughter techniques, with animals being improperly stunned to render them unconscious before slaughter;
  • Still conscious animals having their necks cut;
  • A sheep that appears injured or sick and unable to walk is dragged from a pen to the slaughter area.
Watch & share video footage

End live horse export for slaughter: New action

It’s been one year since the Prime Minister issued a mandate for the federal Minister of Agriculture to ban the live export of horses for slaughter. Since then, approximately 2,000 horses have been shipped on lengthy and stressful transport journeys abroad, destined for slaughter.

Speak up for horses: Support the recent federal e-petition calling for a ban by sending a message to decision-makers.

Action: Contact your MP and federal decision-makers

Use the email template below to send a personalized message to your Member of Parliament, the federal Minister of Agriculture and the Prime Minister, asking them to act to end the export of live horses for slaughter.

Note: If you live outside of Canada and want to take action, you can email the Prime Minister at: and the Minister of Agriculture at:

Update – February 17, 2023: Letter from animal protection organizations highlights egregious suffering

A letter signed by nine animal protection organizations across Canada highlights the egregious suffering of horses sent on overseas journeys and urges the federal Minister of Agriculture to quickly end the cruel live horse export industry. Read an excerpt from the letter below:

Since the 2021 election, more than 2,000 horses have been exported from Canada to Japan for slaughter. Some of these horses were shipped out of Winnipeg on December 12, 2022. Because of flight delays, the horses were in transport without food, water, and rest for well over 28 hours. By the time they left Winnipeg at 9:18am that day, they had already been in transit without food, water, and rest for approximately 16.5 hours and there was no way that the 28 hour limit would be met if they continued on to Japan. Yet those involved proceeded with the shipment. Further delays in Seattle resulted in an even longer journey. So arduous were the conditions that at least three horses collapsed during the trip.

Read the full letter from Animal Justice Canada, the Winnipeg Humane Society, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, Manitoba Animal Save, the Vancouver Humane Society, Animal Save Movement, Humane Canada, World Animal Protection, and the BC SPCA.

Read the letter

Update – February 13, 2023: Federal e-petition has been presented in the House of Commons

A federal parliamentary e-petition, led by Jann Arden and sponsored by MP Alistair MacGregor, calls on the Minister of Agriculture to follow through on the federal government’s promise to end live horse export for slaughter.  

Petition e-4190 to help protect horses from suffering through long, stressful journeys to slaughter closed February 7, 2023. The petition has been presented to the House of Commons and is awaiting response. Please stay tuned for updates.

Read more about the e-petition

Most Canadians would be surprised to learn that Canada is one of the top exporters of live horses for slaughter. Every year, approximately 3,000-5,000 live draft horses are loaded onto planes, packed tightly with 3-4 horses per crate, and flown abroad where they will be slaughtered for meat.

Horses’ journeys to slaughter are long and stressful

  • Horses can be transported for up to 28 hours without access to food, water or rest.
  • As sensitive prey animals with strong fight or flight instincts, this journey can be incredibly stressful.
  • Deaths and injuries have occurred, including one known incident of damage to an aircraft, which led to an emergency landing and the death of the horse involved.
  • There is also no obligation for countries on the receiving end to report back to Canada about the condition of the horses upon arrival.

Canadians are calling for change

Polling shows that a majority of Canadians are opposed to the practice of exporting live horses for slaughter.

The VHS supports organizations including the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition and advocates, like singer-songwriter Jann Arden, who have long been calling for an end to live horse export for slaughter. In Spring 2021, the VHS signed a group letter calling on the federal government to end the practice.

A federal parliamentary e-petition garnered more than 77,000 public signatures in support of a ban, making it one of the most popular animal-related federal petitions on record.  

Despite promises, horses continue to suffer due to government inaction

In December 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directed the Minister of Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau, to ban the live export of horses for slaughter. One year later, horses continue to be shipped to their death as a result of government inaction.  

Can you help protect horses from suffering through long journeys to slaughter?

Back to quick action

Learn more

  • Check out Canadian singer-songwriter Jann Arden’s #HorseShit campaign, which aims to end the practice of live horse export for slaughter. 
  • Get an in-depth look at the horse export and slaughter industry, thanks to the work of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC).
  • Read or listen to and share this episode of The Informed Animal Ally, the VHS’s monthly podcast, featuring guest speaker Sinikka Crosland of the CHDC. 
  • Read and share the VHS’s op-ed, published in the Daily Hive, to raise awareness about this inhumane industry.
  • Read and share this article in CTV News, which includes an interview with Jann Arden and an in-depth video investigation which first aired in 2021.

Cover photo: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition


Open letter: B.C. Ministry of Agriculture to review farmed animal welfare framework

The Ministry of Agriculture will be doing a review of the farmed animal welfare framework between now and spring 2023, confirms a recent article in the Country Life in BC agricultural newspaper. The Vancouver Humane Society reached out to the Ministry calling for true public transparency on farms and changes that would make a meaningful difference in the lives of the millions of sentient animals raised for food in this province.

Read the Vancouver Humane Society’s open letter to the Ministry of Agriculture:

Oct. 26, 2022

Dear Minister Popham and the Ministry of Agriculture,

We are writing in reference to the article published in Country Life in BC (October 2022, vol. 108 no. 10) confirming that the Ministry will be doing a review of the farmed animal welfare framework between now and spring 2023. We are grateful that the Ministry of Agriculture is actively taking action to consider the lives of farmed animals.

The Vancouver Humane Society represents 36,800 supporters who are concerned about the state of animal welfare for farmed animals in British Columbia. Over the past 10 years, undercover footage filmed on farms raising cows for milk, cattle for beef, pigs for meat, chickens for meat, and hens for eggs, has demonstrated that these animals are in a dire state. From being plucked bare, legs being pulled off, animals being actively abused, stereotypical behaviour like bar-biting, untreated wounds, trampled animals, and inhumane euthanasia methods, animals are not given the consideration they deserve as sentient beings.

Since the publishing of Animal Machines by Ruth Harrison in 1964, there have been disturbingly few changes to address the suffering of farmed animals. Minister Popham, you previously advocated for animals and ending their suffering when serving as the opposition party. The Ministry of Agriculture has the unique ability to significantly reduce the suffering of millions of animals each year by introducing measures that ensure true public transparency. A focus on ‘public trust’, while making no measurable changes to the suffering of animals, is unconscionable, and yet has been the primary approach of the Ministry of Agriculture to date.

We ask for the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct a thorough review which considers the importance of transparency, specifically, one that recognizes the importance of conducting consistent farm audits and making publicly available the findings of the audits. This is the only mechanism that could ensure that there is transparency that results in meaningful outcomes for the animals affected. The Vancouver Humane Society also asks to be included in all stakeholder consultation related to the farmed animal review as an animal protection agency with a British Columbia focus that exists outside of the role of enforcement.

Thank you for your serious consideration of the suffering experienced by sentient farmed animals and of our request to be included as a stakeholder in the review process,

Amy Morris
Executive Director

More than 3,000 animal supporters have called on the Ministry of Agriculture to introduce greater protections for farmed animals, including third-party audits and video surveillance on farms. Will you join us? Learn more about the ongoing campaign below.

Help protect farmed animals

In December 2021, the VHS launched a campaign calling for greater protections for farmed animals in B.C. To date, more than 2,200 animal supporters have used the quick action tool to contact the Ministry of Agriculture calling for:

  • Government-mandated and proactively-enforced compliance with the National Farm Animal Care Council Codes of Practice
  • Publicly-available reports of independent, third party audits on farms
  • Consistent video surveillance monitoring on farms
  • Emergency planning to protect farmed animals in disasters
Take quick action

Please join us in calling on B.C.’s Premier and the Minister of Agriculture to take these important actions to better protect farmed animals from cruelty and suffering.

Opinion Editorial

Emergency planning must include animals

Article originally published in the VHS Newsletter.

In November 2021, flooding and landslides devastated parts of British Columbia. People were forced from their homes, animals had little or no way of escaping, and roads were blocked off or destroyed, slowing rescue efforts and essential supply distribution.

One of the hardest hit was the Sumas Prairie – a once massive lake that was drained a century ago to become a hub for the province’s animal agriculture. Two measures were meant to prevent the Prairie from returning to its watery roots: a dike and a pump station. When the dike was breached and the pump found itself in critical condition, the overflowing Sumas River reached the Prairie’s farms and the hundreds of thousands of animals inside.

The catastrophe killed more than 640,000 animals, including 628,000 chickens and farmed birds, 12,000 pigs, and 420 cows. There is no doubt that those animals died in pain and fear. Others were impacted by ongoing health issues like pneumonia as a result of the being trapped in flood waters.

In the face of unimaginable tragedy, many people shared feelings of helplessness, anger, and above all, grief. On one thing everyone could agree: no one ever wanted to see a crisis like this happen again.
As we recover and rebuild, it is essential that we not return to the way things were. Decision-makers at every level need to take a serious look at their emergency planning and prevention, and account for the safety and well-being of animals – not just their monetary value.

This incredible scale of suffering and loss of life calls for more than just lip service. It calls for concrete steps to consider animal protection in emergency planning, and transparent communication to the public demonstrating how that action will be taken.

To do that, decision-makers need to examine the factors that made this situation so dire.

We know that the flooding is not a one-time event; several atmospheric rivers have moved in on the province since the initial flood, and experts expect these to grow more severe as warming air carries higher concentrations of water vapour. In some regions, the ground was already damaged by wildfires this past summer, resulting in more severe floods and landslides. Scientists predict that these extreme weather events will only grow more frequent in the coming years as temperatures rise. Urgent climate action must be a part of emergency planning.

As part of their plan to reduce the risk of farmed animals perishing in floods or other extreme weather events, like the heat domes we saw last year, decision-makers should consider sustainable regional and local food policies that meet nutrition demands and reduce climate impacts. For instance, incentives could be introduced for farmers who are transitioning to plant-based agriculture, which reduces the number of animals that would need to be evacuated in an emergency and produces food with a far smaller ecological footprint.

In the meantime, some shorter-term changes can be made to prevent another tragedy from occurring. The low-lying Sumas Prairie is home to well over a million farmed animals. When the flooding began, there was no hope of evacuating them all. There were too many animals and not enough vehicles. Each chicken farm in the area houses around 25,000 birds, with some holding more than three times that number. It seems obvious that emergency planning must include a strategy for animal evacuations to prevent the kind of mass suffering we have seen. Equally important is ensuring those evacuations are feasible. This huge volume of animal lives concentrated in such a small area, especially one at risk of flooding, makes moving the animals to a safer location virtually impossible.

For too long, there has been pushback on progress that protects animals, our environment, and even ourselves. The smallest changes, from reducing our carbon emissions to eating more plant-based foods, have been called extreme. What now seems extreme is not the action, but the result of inaction.

The danger is no longer hypothetical. It is here, on our doorsteps. Decision-makers will need to respond with this tragedy. And then, with crisis staring us in the face, they absolutely must prevent the next one.


A better world for animals in 2022

The new year is here, and with it comes an opportunity to build on last year’s great progress for animals! Here is a look back on some of the amazing highlights and achievements that were made possible in 2022 because of animal allies like you. 

Wins for wildlife

B.C. permanently restricts deadly rodent poisons

In July 2021, the provincial government introduced an 18-month partial ban on some of the deadliest rodent poisons. Animal advocates continued to speak out throughout the temporary ban about the dangers of rodenticides to wildlife and pets—more than 2,500 British Columbians signed the Vancouver Humane Society’s petition in support of a comprehensive rodenticide ban, and more than 1,300 individuals participated in the provincial government’s public consultation! The VHS also submitted a report in support of a comprehensive rodenticide ban. 

On October 28, 2022, the government announced it would be implementing permanent restrictions on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides. This was a momentous first step in protecting wildlife and companion animals from dangerous rodent poisons—but it is not the last step. Concerned animal supporters can continue to advocate to address gaps in the regulations by following these tips.

Province updates hunting regulations

In early 2022, the VHS shared information to help animal allies to voice their support for stronger hunting and trapping regulations during the government’s public consultation period. Many advocates participated, and following the consultation the Ministry of Forests introduced updated regulations that included the introduction of new No Hunting areas as well as region-specific restrictions on baiting, using wireless cameras for hunting, and more. 

Advocacy for animals in entertainment

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media

Thousands speak out against rodeo cruelty at the Calgary Stampede

Last year, the Vancouver Humane Society collaborated with concerned Calgarians to create, a website that aims to expose the evidence-based realities of rodeo and other animal events at the Calgary Stampede. More than 9,600 people visited the website in 2022 to learn about the realities of rodeo cruelty, and more than 2,900 people took the #SayNoToRodeo pledge. 

Following a tragic chuckwagon incident that claimed the life of a horse, the VHS spoke out against the Stampede’s continued hosting of the deadly event in interviews with media outlets including City News, CTV Calgary, and the Daily Hive.  

A Research Co. poll commissioned by the Vancouver Humane Society during the Stampede revealed that the removal of the rodeo and chuckwagon events from the Calgary Stampede program would have virtually no impact on attendance rates and would bring in new crowds. 

British Columbians rally against a new rodeo

After several years that saw the decline of cruel rodeo events in B.C., a new rodeo event was sadly introduced in Langley Township in 2022. The VHS spoke out against this inhumane and unnecessary event in interviews with the Langley Advance Times, Global News, the Jill Bennett Show, and more. Nearly 3,000 members of the public signed the VHS’s petition calling on decision-makers to prevent the new rodeo.  

Video footage captured at the rodeo shows stressed and frightened animals being roughly handled and deliberately agitated into fleeing and bucking. Following the event, the VHS launched a quick action that all British Columbians can take to help prevent inhumane rodeo practices from coming to their community. 

Change for animals in captivity

Provincial decision-makers agree to meet to discuss captivity regulations 

89% of British Columbians oppose the international trade of exotic animals to be kept on display in permanent captivity in zoos and aquariums, yet provincial regulations continue to allow the keeping, breeding, and import of wild and exotic species. These outdated regulations have enabled ongoing issues to continue, as highlighted in video footage of abnormal behaviour from animals at Metro Vancouver’s two major animal attractions, and by two recent high-profile incidents at the Greater Vancouver Zoo which put animals and humans at risk. 

More than 5,400 animal supporters signed a petition calling for the much-needed updates to captivity regulations. Thanks to this strong push for support, along with an in-depth report outlining key recommendations, the VHS was able to schedule a meeting to raise concerns and suggestions directly with provincial decision-makers! The meeting will take place today, January 12th

Care for companion animals

A record number of animals receive veterinary assistance through the McVitie program 

Between rising costs and a growing number of people experiencing barriers to veterinary care, more animal guardians than ever are needing extra support to keep their beloved companion animals healthy without surrendering them to the already-overburdened shelter and rescue system.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, the VHS’s McVitie program was able to provide urgent veterinary assistance to more companion animals than ever before! 629 animals received assistance through the program in 2022, enabling animals like Precious, Chipper, Shailoh, and Copper to stay with their families who love them. 

Animal heroes break down barriers at Because They Matter 

On July 24th, 22 participants took to the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to hand out much-needed pet supplies and share essential veterinary support resources with animals and their guardians who spend their days on the streets. In all, Because They Matter event participants handed out thousands of pet supplies and around 300 pamphlets about the Vancouver Humane Society’s veterinary assistance programs! Participants also raised more than $15,000 donated by generous supporters to help make these vital assistance programs possible. 

Protections for farmed animals

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media

Federal government begins enforcement of new animal transport regulations 

Every year in Canada, approximately 14 million animals suffer injuries and 1.6 million die during transport journeys that are often long-distance and in extreme weather conditions. Despite updates to farmed animal transport regulations being introduced in 2020, the federal government delayed full enforcement of the requirements for two years. More than 2,500 animal advocates pushed back against the possibility of further delays, and thanks to the strong call for action, the CFIA announced that enforcement of new regulations would begin on February 20, 2022. 

B.C. announces review of farmed animal welfare framework 

Following the release of undercover footage revealing egregious cruelty on a dairy farm in Abbotsford, the VHS launched a public campaign calling for greater protections for farmed animals. More than 2,400 individuals took the quick action to demand change from the B.C. government. The VHS also supported advocates in speaking up for animals in the dairy industry by providing a guide for submitting comments to the National Farm Animal Care Council’s (NFACC) “Dairy Codes of Practice”. The Dairy Code, which was last updated in 2009, serves as a guideline for dairy industry practices.  

In late 2022, the Country Life in BC agricultural newspaper confirmed that The Ministry of Agriculture would be conducting a review of the farmed animal welfare framework. This review is an important opportunity to push for real action to protect farmed animals from cruelty and suffering. Read the VHS’s open letter to the Ministry of Agriculture calling for true public transparency on farms and changes that would make a meaningful difference in the lives of the millions of sentient animals raised for food in this province.  

Donors make life better for animals with VHS & The Happy Herd on Giving Tuesday

On Giving Tuesday, the VHS partnered with The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary to raise funds for vital animal supplies, programs, and advocacy work. Animal lovers supported animals through both organizations by donating or shopping at participating businesses, including Panago Pizza, who offered discounted plant-based pizzas across B.C. and donated $1 for each plant-based pizza sold.

Wonderful supporters like you raised an astounding $22,900 for animals! These generous donations will help rescued farmed animals to stay healthy and safe in their loving forever home, enable companion animals to get the life-saving veterinary care they need, and ensure the work to create a more compassionate world for all species will continue.

Photo: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

Canadians call for an end to inhumane live horse exports 

More than a year after the federal government committed to end the cruel live export of horses for slaughter, these gentle animals continue to be shipped on long, stressful journeys during which they can go 28 hours without food, water, or rest. In 2022, more than 19,000 Canadians signed onto a federal e-petition led by Jann Arden calling on the government to follow through on their promise to end this inhumane industry. Your support is needed to help push this change across the finish line! Read the VHS’s piece in the Daily Hive, Why hasn’t Canada stopped horses from being shipped to slaughter overseas?, to learn more about this urgent issue. 

A kinder future for all species

Thank you for helping animals in 2022! With your continued support, we can all continue to work toward a kinder future for animals in 2023. Can you keep the momentum going by taking action on the current campaigns to end animal suffering or making a donation toward vital animal programs and advocacy?

Take action
Donate now

Big wins for animals in 2021

Here are some of the ways you helped make our world a better place for animals this year! Click the links below to scroll to a section.

Working to protect wildlife

Habitat protection for owls and bears

Late last year, VHS launched a petition calling on the provincial government to stop planned logging in two important wildlife habitats: the Sunshine Coast and in the Fraser Canyon. The Dakota Ridge area on the Sunshine Coast is home to a concentration of black bear dens, while the Fraser Canyon is the last known habitat of wild spotted owls in Canada. More than 2,300 people signed the petition!

In early March, the B.C. government agreed to permanently halt logging in the Dakota Ridge area. Meanwhile, the Spô’zêm Nation and environmental groups leading the campaign against planned logging in the Fraser Canyon announced that the government has put the plan on hold.

B.C. implements a partial ban on rodenticides

This year, VHS worked with a strong team of animal advocates to call for a ban on inhumane and indiscriminate rodent poisons, also known as rodenticides. These baited poisons cause a slow and painful death for the animals that consume them, and can harm or even kill the animals that eat poisoned mice or rats. VHS’s petition to end rodenticide use in B.C. received more than 3,000 signatures!

Following a meeting between VHS, other animal advocacy groups, and B.C. decision-makers, the provincial government announced a temporary restriction on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides—the most toxic type of rodent poisons.

While the partial ban is a welcome first step, further action is needed to address the continued deaths of wildlife. You can support a permanent ban on all rodenticides by contacting the Ministry of Environment through our simple 30-second email tool.

Speaking up for animals in entertainment

New Westminster moves to repurpose the Queen’s Park petting farm

VHS shared a briefing note with the City of New Westminster about the Queen’s Park Petting Farm. The note highlighted evidence-based concerns related to animal welfare, public health and safety, and public education; we recommended a closure of the petting farm.

In July, the City launched a public consultation seeking ideas from residents for an alternative space at Queen’s Park. They have since recognized that the space is not suitable for housing large animals. We are pleased to see city programming moving in an animal-friendly direction.

Fairmont Hotels agrees to stop promoting and offering sled dog rides

In September, Fairmont Hotels announced it would no longer promote or offer sled dog rides! The announcement followed efforts by animal advocates to draw attention to the harms of commercial sled dog tourism, including a letter from VHS to Fairmont Whistler and an incredibly successful petition and campaign by advocates.

Chilliwack Fair Rodeo cancelled for a second year

The Chilliwack Fair’s rodeo event was again cancelled due to COVID-19, sparing animals from the suffering endured at rodeos. VHS plans to engage Chilliwack City Council next year, pointing to the fact that the Fair was able to go ahead as a more family-friendly event without the cruel rodeo.

Keeping companion animals with their loving guardians

More than 400 animals helped through veterinary assistance

Generous donors to VHS’s McVitie Fund and Helping Women and Pets program assisted more than 400 companion animals this year! These donations helped animals to access needed veterinary care while staying with their loving families. Learn more about how veterinary assistance helps animals and their guardians.

Because They Matter participants connect with animal guardians in the DTES

In July, volunteers gathered in Vancouvers Downtown Eastside neighbourhood to hand out harnesses, leashes, dog treats, and blankets. More than 60 people and their animals who spend their days on the streets visited VHS’s booth in Pigeon Park. The team also shared vital information about veterinary assistance with about 350 people!

Check out the photos of some of the happy recipients.

Community rallies to support animals impacted by flooding

As flooding in B.C. forced many residents out of their homes, the people impacted are doing their best to make sure their loved ones are healthy and safe—including their animal family members. VHS’s Flood Evacuee Veterinary Support fund has ensured that flood-impacted people can access care for their companion animals.

To date, VHS has assisted 37 individual companion animals and partnered with 6 veterinarians to support flood-affected farmed animals. We continue to receive applications as flood-impacted people recover and rebuild. Learn more about some of the flood-impacted animals who have been helped so far.

While this has been a very difficult time, it has also been a demonstration of the amazing power of community. We are grateful for the outpouring of support to help people and animals impacted by the floods.

Protecting farmed animals

City of Vancouver moves to decrease animal-based food purchasing by 20%

This year, VHS launched a new report, “Increasing Plant-Based Purchasing at the Municipal Level”. The report examines food purchasing for the City of Vancouver; it found that by replacing 20% of animal-based foods with plant-based alternatives, the City of Vancouver could save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save animal lives.

This shift would include all direct or indirect food purchasing at the City of Vancouver level; for instance, at catered city events, meetings, concessions, and through food-related funding that the city offers.

The report led to a motion that was unanimously passed by City Council! We look forward to working alongside the City of Vancouver to build a more animal-friendly future.

PlantUniversity supports people in transitioning to a plant-based diet

In August, VHS launched the PlantUniversity platform. This free online resource helps people find tasty recipes and handy resources at any stage of their plant-based journey. PlantUniversity also offers resources to institutions (like schools, hospitals, long-term care homes, and restaurants) that are looking to add plant-based options to their menu.

Adding more plant-based foods to our diets decreases the demand for industrial animal agriculture and reduces animal suffering. Even small changes like switching out a few meals each week for plant-based options can add up to a huge impact as we all work toward a more humane society for animals.

B.C. announces phase-out of cruel mink fur farms

Animal advocates and supporters across the province, including the Vancouver Humane Society, the BC SPCA, The Fur-Bearers, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and Ban Fur Farms BC, have been pushing for an end to unnecessary and inhumane fur farms for years. This year saw a public push for change after a COVID-19 outbreak was discovered at a third B.C. mink farm.

In November, the B.C. government announced that mink farms will be phased out completely by 2025.

While the announcement is a huge win, there is still more to be done. VHS will continue to monitor this situation and call for an end to all fur farms in B.C.

Animal champions surpass Giving Tuesday goal for VHS & The Happy Herd

On Giving Tuesday, November 30, VHS partnered with The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary to make life better for animals. With your help, we surpassed our $15,000 goal with an incredibe $18,277 raised! These funds will go toward providing a loving home for rescued farmed animals and working to prevent animal suffering in all forms.

Animal protection recognized in federal platforms

Animal protection was recognized as an election issue this year! Issues related to the wildlife trade, farmed animals, companion animals, and more were included in the main party platforms. This year also marked the first-ever federal debate dedicated to animal protection, featuring representatives from the Green Party, Liberal Party, and New Democratic Party.

Thousands of voters across Canada tuned in to watch the debate hosted by the Vancouver Humane Society, Animal Justice, Montreal SPCA, Nation Rising, and World Animal Protection.

A cruelty-free future

Thank you for helping make so much progress for animals this year. Let’s celebrate the changes made in 2021 and turn this progress into momentum for 2022 and beyond. Stay tuned for advocacy on animals in captivity as well as continued advocacy and programming to support a cruelty-free future.

You can support continued advocacy on behalf of all animals today and for years to come by making an end-of-year donation. All donations made before midnight on December 31st will receive a tax receipt for the 2021 financial year.


Speak up for better protections for farmed animals

Please ask the B.C. government to introduce third party auditing; video monitoring systems; and emergency plans to better protect farmed animals!  

Email the B.C. government now

Recent news coverage shares disturbing footage from an Abbotsford-based dairy, Cedar Valley Farms, showing dairy cows being violently beaten, kicked and dragged. This case is a recent example of long-standing issues within Canada’s animal agriculture system. In the last few years, there have been several high-profile undercover investigations in B.C. alone that have documented egregious animal cruelty. 

Concerningly, rather than addressing the cruelty issues taking place within the industry, governments have begun introducing anti-whistleblower legislation (commonly referred to as ‘ag-gag’ laws) which effectively deters undercover investigations from taking place.

The VHS and other animal protection groups are calling for transparency and accountability within the animal agriculture industry. Specifically, change is needed to have government-mandated and proactively-enforced compliance with the National Farm Animal Care Council Codes of Practice, as well as third party auditing and video surveillance systems on farms across B.C.

In addition, the recent floods, along with the 2021 heat dome and wildfires, reiterate the importance of protections for farmed animals during disasters and emergencies. More than 651,000 farmed animals perished in the heat dome and more than 640,000 more are reported to have died in the recent floods. Emergency planning must include a feasible strategy for urgent animal evacuations to prevent the kind of mass suffering we have seen.

Take action

  1. Please join us in calling on B.C.’s Premier and the Minister of Agriculture to take these important actions to better protect farmed animals from cruelty and suffering.

2. You can raise awareness of this issue by sharing this recent op-ed featured in the Daily Hive.

Content warning: the op-ed contains photos and descriptions of animal cruelty in the dairy industry.

3. You can make personal changes to take a stand against dairy cruelty. The blog linked below highlights a few staff favourite dairy-free tips and products!

4. This t-shirt, which features a half cow and half dog face, reminds us to be kind to every kind. All proceeds go toward creating a kinder world for animals.

With your help, we can see a change for the better for dairy cows and other farmed animals.


No more delays for full enforcement of farmed animal transport rules


2579 individuals used the quick action tool to send an email directly to decision-makers. Thanks to this strong push for action, the CFIA announced that enforcement of new regulations will begin on February 20, 2022. VHS will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for more protections for farmed animals.

Tell the federal government to adequately enforce the farmed animal transport regulations

Farmed animals are among the most directly impacted by human activity, with more than 800 million land animals raised and killed for food every year in Canada. Transportation is one of the most stressful activities for farmed animals. Every year in Canada, approximately 14 million animals suffer injuries and 1.6 million die during transport journeys that are often long-distance and in extreme weather conditions.

In February 2019, the federal government announced updates to the farmed animal transport regulations, set to come into force a year later in February 2020. Unfortunately, the new regulations were hardly an improvement on the previous ones that had been in place since 1977. For example, only minor amendments were made to the food, water and rest (FWR) intervals for animals during transport.

Also concerning was the announcement that there would be a two-year delay (until February 2022) for full enforcement of the updated FWR intervals, including issuing large-scale fines, which is known to be the most effective form of enforcement when it comes to changing the actions of companies. This decision was intended to give the industry more time to adjust the shorter FWR intervals and to implement changes to infrastructure and marketing practices needed to meet the requirements. During this time, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) took a soft approach, focusing on educating people about the new requirements.

As the deadline for this two-year delay in full enforcement approaches, it is possible that further delays are being considered. Please join the VHS and other animal protection organizations and advocates in calling on the federal government to prioritize full enforcement of the farmed animal transport rules.

Take action

Please tell the Minister of Agriculture; the Minister of Health; and the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to fully enforce the Transport of Animals regulations, including issuing appropriately sized fines.

This action has now ended

2579 people used this tool to send an email to decision-makers. Thank you for taking action!

animal welfare Circus compassion cruelty News/Blog Promoted

Circus on the run!

The circus is coming to the PNE.  And we need to stop it.

VHS supporters will recall that the Royal Canadian Circus was scheduled to appear at Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver from May 12th to 14th, but after VHS encouraged the public to complain to Concord Pacific about the circus’s questionable animal welfare record, the venue was switched to the PNE.  It’s not too late to let the PNE know how you feel about its decision to host this performance.

This circus is put on by the U.S.-based Tarzan Zerbini Circus, which has a reportedly poor animal welfare record with regard to its treatment of elephants, as detailed in this 2016 article in the Ottawa Citizen and in this report by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This gives us concerns about the welfare of other animals in its care. 

The article in the Citizen, by the Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Fellow, reveals that the Zerbini Circus has been cited for animal welfare violations in the U.S. and states that it “has featured elephants who are kept chained and forced to perform under threat of punishment.”

The PETA report says the circus failed to “meet minimum federal standards for the care of animals” used in exhibition, as established in the Animal Welfare Act in the U.S. It states that in 2011 the USDA “cited Tarzan Zerbini for failure to prevent elephants from being exposed to tuberculosis (TB).”

While it is VHS’s understanding that the Vancouver performance of the Royal Canadian Circus will feature only domestic animals and not exotic animals (which is prohibited by City of Vancouver bylaw), its parent company’s animal welfare record raises serious concerns.  Consequently, we are urging the public not to attend the Royal Canadian Circus’s performances.

We are also asking the public to complain to the PNE about hosting this circus.

Please email the PNE and politely ask them to cancel the performance of the Royal Canadian Circus.

animal welfare compassion cruelty News/Blog Promoted

Help stop this circus from appearing in Vancouver

VHS is concerned about the welfare of ALL circus animals


The circus is coming to town.  And we need to stop it.

The Royal Canadian Circus is scheduled to appear at Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver from May 12th to 14th.

This circus is put on by the U.S.-based Tarzan Zerbini Circus, which has a reportedly poor animal welfare record with regard to its treatment of elephants, as detailed in this 2016 article in the Ottawa Citizen and in this report by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This gives us concerns about the welfare of other animals in its care. 

The article in the Citizen, by the Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Fellow, reveals that the Zerbini Circus has been cited for animal welfare violations in the U.S. and states that it “has featured elephants who are kept chained and forced to perform under threat of punishment.”

The PETA report says the circus failed to “meet minimum federal standards for the care of animals” used in exhibition, as established in the Animal Welfare Act in the U.S. It states that in 2011 the USDA “cited Tarzan Zerbini for failure to prevent elephants from being exposed to tuberculosis (TB).”

While it is VHS’s understanding that the Vancouver performance of the Royal Canadian Circus will feature only domestic animals and not exotic animals (which is prohibited by City of Vancouver bylaw), its parent company’s animal welfare record raises serious concerns.  Consequently, we are urging the public not to attend the Royal Canadian Circus’s performances.

We are also asking the public to complain to Concord Pacific, the company that owns Concord Pacific Place (the circus venue), and to the company that manages the venue, WestPark.

Please email these companies and politely ask them to cancel the performance of the Royal Canadian Circus:

Concord Pacific:


Thank you.