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Thought-provoking billboard urges Vancouverites to “Go Veg”

New Vancouver Humane Society ad campaign promotes kindness to all animals

Media release
July 23, 2020

Vancouver – A striking new billboard in downtown Vancouver is encouraging Vancouverites to treat farmed animals with the same compassion as other animals by transitioning to a plant-based diet. The billboard is part of The Vancouver Humane Society’s (VHS) new Go Veg campaign.

The billboard, which shows the faces of a cow and a dog with near-identical markings, states: “Animals are the same in all the ways that matter” and urges people to “Be kind to every kind.”

“Farmed animals are thinking, feeling beings, with complex emotional lives – just like the pets we open our homes and hearts to,” said VHS campaign director Emily Pickett. “They suffer greatly under today’s industrial animal agriculture system. Our Go Veg billboard calls on society to recognize that animals, regardless of the label they are given – farmed or companion – are the same in all the ways that matter.”

Pickett said that, in 2019, more than 830 million land animals were raised and slaughtered for food in Canada. “Our overconsumption of animal products has led to the rise of the industrial animal agriculture system, characterized by large numbers of animals confined in cramped, barren and unnatural environments and subject to painful procedures, lengthy transport journeys and frightening slaughter conditions.”

The billboard ad will run in select locations in Vancouver throughout the summer. In addition, VHS is running ads in 24 Vancouver condo buildings, also promoting a plant-based diet.

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Vancouver Humane Society billboard near the intersection of Georgia & Richards in Vancouver.
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A sneak peak at our new Go Veg ads

While COVID-19 has put a temporary hold on our work with schools to put more plant-based options on cafeteria menus, we’re continuing to speak out and work behind the scenes to support food system change that will benefit animals, the planet and public health.

We’re excited to share a sneak peek of our brand new Go Veg ads, which build on our popular “Food vs. Friend” bus ad campaign that we’ve run the last few years. The ads will touch on the benefits of a plant-based diet and will be running online and in public spaces (see billboard above) throughout Metro Vancouver in the coming months.

VHS also participated in the City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency survey and advocated for climate actions that include transitioning public menus toward fewer animal products and more plant-based options. The consumption of food makes up nearly half of the City of Vancouver’s ecological footprint and animal products have a larger environmental impact than plant-based foods, making this an opportunity to change the food system to help protect both animals and the planet.

VHS executive director, Amy Morris and projects and communications Director, Peter Fricker also recorded a podcast in which they discuss local plant-based foods and food sustainability. You can hear their discussion here.

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Food and Drink News/Blog plant-based diet Promoted Recipes Uncategorized vegan vegetarianism

Earth Day: Go plant-based for the planet

Today marks the 48th annual Earth Day celebration and around the world events and efforts will be taking place to draw attention to the need for stronger environmental protections.

As the global community reflects today on the increasingly sensitive state of the planet and what role we as individuals can play in tackling what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming issue, it’s important to remember that every time we sit down to eat, we have an opportunity to stand up for a better world.

Animal agriculture has been identified as a leading contributor not only to climate change, but to air and water pollution, water use, land degradation, deforestation and biodiversity decline.

In fact, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire global transportation sector. This is because animal-based foods are incredibly inefficient to produce and are very resource-intensive. The processes involved when it comes to raising, transporting and slaughtering animals for food are responsible for potent greenhouse gas emissions including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. To put this in perspective, beef production requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of edible protein than common plant-based protein sources such as beans, peas and lentils.[1]

The production of animal-based foods also requires and pollutes large amounts of water. Agriculture accounts for 92% of our global freshwater footprint; approximately one third relates to animal products.[2] The water footprint per gram of protein for milk, eggs and chicken is approximately 1.5 times larger than for pulses (beans, lentils, peas). For beef, it is six times larger than for pulses.[3] The sheer volume of animal waste, along with fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, as well as hormones and antibiotics used on livestock create major water pollution issues. These pollutants seep into waterways, threatening water quality, ecosystems and animal and human health.[4]

Meanwhile, animal agriculture is a key contributor to land degradation and deforestation, with one-quarter of the earth’s land surface (excluding Antarctica) being used as pastureland. [5] The conversion of natural habitat to accommodate livestock and feed crops puts immense pressure on wildlife that struggle to survive in increasingly fragmented and degraded environments. Ineffective and ill-informed cull programs put additional pressure on predator populations, due to the perceived threat they pose to livestock profits.

While our diet can be a major part of the problem when it comes to protecting the planet, that also means it is a crucial part of the solution. A 2016 Oxford Martin School study found that the adoption of global dietary guidelines would cut food-related emissions by 29%, vegetarian diets by 63%, and vegan diets by 70%.[6] By reducing and eliminating resource-intensive animal products from our diet and supporting efforts to make more sustainable plant-based foods widely accessible, we can drastically decrease our individual and societal environmental footprints.

This Earth Day, join the growing number of people around the world who are recognizing the power behind what we put on our plate. Take our Meatless Monday pledge for recipe ideas and download our Live Well booklet to learn more about a plant-based diet. You can also support VHS’s efforts to introduce more healthy, humane and sustainable plant-based menu options in schools and other institutions.

[1] http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts

[2] http://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Gerbens-et-al-2013-waterfootprint-poultry-pork-beef_1.pdf

[3] http://waterfootprint.org/en/water-footprint/product-water-footprint/water-footprint-crop-and-animal-products/

[4] http://www.fao.org/3/a-i7754e.pdf

[5] http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts

[6] https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/news/201603_Plant_based_diets

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animal welfare Food and Drink News/Blog plant-based diet Promoted Recipes school Uncategorized vegan vegetarianism

Chartwells & Langara College Lead Lower Mainland Meatless Monday Effort

 

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It’s been over a year and a half since Vancouver’s Langara College became the first campus in Western Canada to join the globally popular Meatless Monday movement. The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) first introduced the initiative in March 2015 to Langara’s Environmental Club and food service provider, Chartwells. Both groups eagerly supported bringing it to the school’s cafeteria after learning about the impact of our society’s overconsumption of meat on animal welfare, the environment and public health.

“We felt this was a great opportunity to take a small, but powerful, step by raising awareness of the impact of our food choices and offering options to reduce that impact,” said Rizwan Bandali of Chartwells/Compass Group.

And seize that opportunity is exactly what Chartwells and Langara College did, with the introduction of delicious meatless menu items! The cafeteria kicks off each week with a wide variety of options, from roasted veggie paninis and mouth-watering curries to meatless meatballs, veg lasagna and creative tofu dishes.

langara-blog-post7Meatless Monday specials have been paired with eye-catching, educational posters aimed at raising awareness and boosting participation in the initiative. Statistics outlining water use and greenhouse gas emissions from meat production are another way the campaign extends education into the cafeteria and inspires individual action.

Chartwells reports sales have been steadily increasing and feedback regarding the meatless items has been very positive. So much so that the cafeteria recently began offering an additional daily hot vegetarian bar, adding even more meatless options to the menu.

Langara’s campaign has effectively blazed a trail for other Lower Mainland schools interested in taking similar steps to help protect animals, our health, and the planet. To date, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Eric Hamber Secondary and Winston Churchill Secondary have implemented similar initiatives and others are set to join as well.langara-blog-post1

“We’re thrilled to see Meatless Monday catching on here in the Lower Mainland and we commend Chartwells Langara for helping make that possible. Factory farming, climate change and public health are major issues facing us today. They can seem overwhelming from an individual perspective, but when we realize that we can have a significant impact simply by what we choose to put on our plate, we can take steps to support a kinder, cleaner and healthier world,” said VHS Program Coordinator, Emily Pickett.

Follow Chartwells Langara’s lead by taking our online Meatless Monday pledge. We’ll share a weekly recipe to help you keep your commitment! You can also support our effort to bring Meatless Monday to more classrooms, cafeterias and communities by making a donation today. Interested in bringing Meatless Monday to your school, workplace, business or community? Get in touch with Program Coordinator, Emily Pickett, to learn more!

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Veggemo: A new plant-based alternative to dairy milk

Veggemo Product Line-Up Image

By Amy Balcome

It’s always exciting when a new plant-based company pops up on our radar and right in our own backyard. This local start-up is a first-of-its kind, offering people with nut, seed, soy and gluten allergies a chance to enjoy a plant-based milk beverage made from veggies. Introducing Veggemo with three fantastic flavours to choose from: Original, Unsweetened, and Vanilla.

Over the years, studies have shown a decline in dairy milk sales and more consumers have been leaning towards plant-based milks, whether it be for clean eating, a cruelty-free approach or because of allergies/sensitivities. Whatever the reason, choosing a plant-based milk is better for you, the animals and the environment.

There are many types of plant-based milks, which are mostly derived from nuts, seeds and grains. Veggemo says it did a great deal of research to create a creamy milk beverage using a blend of pea protein, tapioca from cassava root and the starch from potatoes to reach its satisfying taste, which can be enjoyed in smoothies, cereal, creamy entrees or desserts. They appear to have gone to great lengths to ensure their product is sourced from non-GMO suppliers and their peas are processed by a Belgian company instead of being shipped to China for processing, as many other companies do.

Along with Veggemo’s naturally occurring nutrients from vegetables, this product is fortified with important vitamins to contribute to a balanced plant-based beverage. It’s also carrageen-free. Veggemo offers low calories and sugar per serving and is high in protein, allowing it to be nutritionally on par with other non-dairy milks. It’s hard to miss their eye-catching containers on supermarket shelves. On your next grocery shop outing be on the lookout for Veggemo in a store near you.

More on the growth of plant-based industries in B.C.

Vancouver Sun article on growth of local plant-based companies.