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animal welfare compassion fundraising News/Blog PETA

A remarkable champion for animals

Dog with AshleyAshley Fruno has spent her life working for animals.  She trained with VHS as a teenager and went on to work for PETA in Asia, campaigning fearlessly in places where animal welfare laws are weak or non-existent, where protesting can be dangerous and where life for animals can be particularly hard.

Now, she is making a personal appeal for help with an incredible project she has taken on in the most challenging circumstances.  Her story is here. Please help if you can. Like most charities, VHS focuses on its own work and doesn’t usually promote other fundraising appeals. But we’re making an exception – for an exceptional champion for animals.

Categories
cruelty News/Blog rodeo

Help us fight rodeo cruelty at the Calgary Stampede

cruelty of calf-roping at Calgary Stampede
Photo – Joanne McArthur

 

If you think what’s happening in this photo is wrong then help us stop it. 

Support our campaign against rodeo cruelty at this year’s Calgary Stampede.

 

 

 

Categories
advertising fundraising News/Blog vegetarianism

Food, Friend, Why?

Photo of "Food, Friend, Why?" bus back advertisement
Our ad “Food, Friend, Why?” raises an important and provocative moral question: why do we eat one animal and befriend another? Most of us wouldn’t dream of eating a cat or a dog, but when one considers the intelligence and sentience of farmed animals, it doesn’t make sense to consider cows or pigs or chickens as somehow so different.

We certainly don’t expect everyone to become vegetarian. However, it’s simply a fact that reducing or eliminating meat is the most effective way to stop animal suffering. Check out Raising the Barn or Eat Less Meat to see how animals are raised for food and why meat production is not sustainable.

We would like to run this ad again, but we can only do it with your help. The ad company has been very generous – they usually extend the ads an extra week or two without charging us. This means your donation towards this project can accomplish even more!

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link to donate now at canadahelps.org

You are amazing! We are only $778 away from our goal of $7,000. I know there are some of you out there who think the ad is important, but haven’t had time to donate yet. Can you help? It’s easy – just click the ‘donate now’ button. Even a small amount helps – if 105 people gave $10, we’d reach our goal! Thank you for all you do for animals.

Have you ever seen a hen chasing a ball? Check out this video captured by Director of Farm Animal Programs Leanne McConnachie on a recent visit to Rabbit River Farms (a producer of certified organic, free-range eggs).

[iframe src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/6uD3D6rYHU4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]

Categories
compassion cruelty News/Blog plant-based diet

Two ways of looking at animals

photo of animal Goat

 

With compassion

This heart warming video about a goat sanctuary demonstrates animal sentience and capacity for emotion.

As a commodity

This CBC story shows how the same animal is viewed as just a product, whose only value is economic.

Humans can choose not to treat animals as commodities by moving to a plant-based diet.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
News/Blog Uncategorized

Guest post: The Humanist view of animal rights

By Ian Bushfield, executive director of the B.C. Humanist Association

Religions have traditionally approached the topic of animal rights in one of two ways. The more conservative religions state that God gave dominion to us over all ‘lesser’ species to do with as we please. Alternatively, some say we were charged with stewardship over God’s creation, so we should reduce the harm that comes to God’s creatures.

Yet today, more than one-in-three British Columbians are non-religious. Of this non-religious community, many atheists and agnostics put forward an ethical system called Humanism. Humanism is about being good without God by basing our worldview on reason, compassion, and hope. It gives us the ability to create our own values and ethics, while forcing us to be skeptical of all claims – including our own.

Humanists see evolution by natural selection as the best theory we have to explain the diversity of life on earth. This theory tells us that given enough time, simple self-replicating molecules adapted and reproduced, eventually giving rise to all of the plants, animals, and people alive today. We therefore recognize that we are not superior to other animals and that we are a part of nature itself. We respect the rights of animals because it is a mere extension of the rights that we grant to other human beings.

Furthermore, as we learn more about the different species of life on earth, we are beginning to recognize that animals feel pain, fear, and suffering to different extents. The more an animal is like us, the more we identify with its suffering and seek to alleviate that.

All Humanists oppose torture and cruelty to animals. However, Humanism is a worldview without dogma, so our beliefs form a wide spectrum when applied to the real world. For example, some strongly oppose the existence of zoos and aquariums, believing that the animals would be better off in the wild. Others argue that the scientific and conservation benefits of these institutions outweigh those arguments. Many Humanists support animal research, provided it is done in a humane and ethical way, while others oppose it.

Where many religions have taboos on what foods may or may not be eaten (sometimes depending on the day of the week), Humanists use our own reasoning to decide what we each feel is ethical to consume. Some Humanists strongly oppose the eating of meat, as there are many alternatives to provide our required nutrients and there are many deplorable aspects of modern factory farming; however, many Humanists are not vegetarians, but try to choose more ethical and sustainable food sources whenever possible. Few Humanists support the ritualistic slaughter practices of some religions which involve letting an animal bleed to death.

Humanism is a dynamic and progressive philosophy. What is considered moral and acceptable today will be put under a critical eye and may be rejected as barbaric in the future. By rejecting the authority of dogmatic tradition, we can focus on creating a better future for all life on earth.

Note: VHS is interested in all ethical points of view relating to animal rights and welfare.  We plan to publish more articles from different philosophical and religious standpoints in future blog posts.  

Categories
Food and Drink News/Blog

A Cruelty-Free Thanksgiving

By Debra Probert, VHS Executive Director

I love holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, because they give me a chance to serve vegetarian/vegan dishes to my meat-eating friends and family.  These holidays shouldn’t leave anyone feeling deprived – rather, they should give our omnivorous friends food for thought (quite literally!) about how easy it is to skip the dead turkey for something more tasty, healthy and humane.

Easy and delicious ways to cut corners are the great veggie roasts that are available.  The first is Tofurky (available at Capers Whole Foods, Choices and most organic food stores). I tasted this for the first time at a PETA event at a Toronto hotel.  It was cooked longer than the packaging recommends, using more oil.  The result was a crispy outside, with the look and texture that more closely resembles a well-cooked turkey.  It was delicious!  Of course, you can always just follow the package directions for a very tasty product.  I do mine in a closed roasting pan with lots of olive oil mixed with soy sauce.

Although I haven’t tasted the Celebration Roast yet (available at Karmavore Vegan Shop, www.karmavore.ca)  I’m told it’s fantastic (first-hand, from the VHS office manager , Lauren).  She says that it tastes spicier than the Tofurky.  And while the Tofurky stuffing is a more traditional one (sage, bread crumbs, rice) the Celebration Roast stuffing is made up of apples, butternut squash and mushrooms and is, she says, equally delicious.

gardein_frz_StuffedTurky_CSm-225x238Gardein (based right here in Richmond, BC!) has a new product called ‘savory stuffed turk’y’.  Each package has two servings, including gravy, and like Tofurky, comes frozen.  According to the Gardein website, it’s available everywhere – IGA, Save-on Foods and Safeway. I haven’t tasted it yet, but if Gardein’s other products are any indication, it’ll be great.

For the first two, you’re going to have to either buy or make some meat-free gravy. Tofurky makes a veggie ‘giblet’ gravy that’s excellent – I always make sure to have lots on hand for the mashed potatoes.  However, if you want to make gravy, there are plenty of recipes.  Here’s one from VegWeb.com.

When I was growing up, my favourite dish at holiday meals was the dressing, and I loved it soaked in gravy. Although the Tofurky and the Celebration Roast both come stuffed, I always bake an extra bowl of dressing in the oven.  It’s great the next day in cold Tofurky or Celebration Roast sandwiches, with lots of salt and pepper! Here’s a link to my favourite stuffing recipe.

If you’re really feeling ambitious, you might want to make a veggie roast from scratch.  Lauren has made this complete dinner from Vegan Yum Yum  and found it worked perfectly (even though there’s a warning on the website that you might have trouble making the seitan. If you’re nervous, seitan can be purchased ready-made at any Capers Whole Foods, Choices Market or any organic grocer).

One of the dishes on this link is roasted tomatoes.  If you’ve never had them, you don’t know what you’re missing. And they’re so easy! Just halve any kind of tomatoes, toss them with a bit of olive oil and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven or toaster oven until they are shrivelled and the skins are beginning to turn black. They’re great tossed with almost anything (I like them with veggie sausages).

What would a good meal be without dessert? If you haven’t tried one of the recipes from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, then you haven’t lived. We greedily look forward to birthdays at the VHS office, not because we’re generous, but so we can try a different flavour. You can get the book at almost any bookstore. But just in case you’ve run out of time, here’s my  favourite recipe.

So there you have it, a Thanksgiving dinner to die for. Wait a minute – nobody had to die!  What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving!!