Vancouver Animal Rights Campaigns (VARK)

Activists Uniting For The Benefit of Animals

Stop Arctic Oil Drilling from

ConocoPhillips is dumb enough to drill in the dangerous Arctic, where extreme conditions and isolation make spills more likely and cleanup impossible.
Stop the next BP Deepwater Horizon or Exxon Valdez spills by telling ConocoPhillips to halt drilling in the Arctic.

Which oil company is dumb enough to go full speed ahead with its plans to drill in the Arctic?

Not Shell, who after spending 7 years and $5 billion dollars on Arctic exploration was forced to halt its 2013 plan to drill in the Arctic. A series of blunders and accidents including the grounding of its drill rig caused Shell to cancel its current plans to drill in the Arctic. Not French oil giant Total SA, whose CEO says that “energy companies should not drill for crude oil in Arctic waters because the environmental risks are too high”. Despite the failures and doubts of its rivals, ConocoPhillips is the oil company dumb enough to stick with its current plans to drill in the Arctic.

Tell ConocoPhillips to halt its ConocoPhillips Arctic drilling operations.

ConocoPhillips has pulled out of environmentally sensitive areas under public pressure before, dropping its plans to drill in the Amazon last year. Currently, the US Bureau of Energy and Management is reviewing ConocoPhillips’ 2014 plan for the Chukchi Sea, the same Arctic sea Shell failed to drill at. Just last Thursday, the Bureau barred Shell from drilling in the Arctic after allowing it to drill in 2012.

Public pressure campaigns from groups like Greenpeace succeeded in spotlighting Shell’s safety blunders and halting its current plan to drill in the Arctic. members can build on the energy from environmental groups to stop oil companies from Arctic drilling by telling ConocoPhillips that it is smart business to abandon its plans in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea.

ConocoPhillips: stop drilling in the Arctic.

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was catastrophic, but an oil spill in the Arctic would be far worse. The Arctic’s isolation from the rest of the world makes oil cleanup next to impossible. Its severe weather and unpredictable ice floes increase the likelihood of spills. Most dangerously, there is no proven method to cleanup oil spills in the Arctic’s extreme conditions.

ConocoPhillips’ proposed drill site is in a pristine and remote part of the world with no roads, airports, or hotels nearby to support cleanup efforts. Remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill? The inaccessibility of the Alaskan seas meant that it took crews many days to arrive while oil spread and destroyed ecosystems. ConocoPhillips plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan northern coast where it is more isolated than the Exxon Valdez spill location. And don’t believe ConocoPhillips when it says there won’t be a spill, it just paid the Chinese hundreds of million dollars in fines for its oil spill in 2011.

The Exxon Valdez images I saw as an 8 year old boy are still fresh: volunteers scrubbing otters and ducks with soap only to watch animals die. 23 years later, the killer whale populations have still not recovered, and the huge schools of whirling herring that fed fishermen have not returned. I don’t want to see these tragic images again.

Oil companies: We don’t need another BP or Exxon Valdez spill. Stop Arctic Drilling!

Thanks for all you do,
Angus, Kaytee, and the team at


Suggested Reading:

The Case Against Drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Waters. Forbes. June 14th, 2012.


Filed under: Environmental, Get Involved, Petitions, , ,

We Hate It when Stupid People Boil Lobsters And Crabs Alive!

Doing some research to figure out how to approach the overwhelming problem/issue of how to deal with all of the live lobsters and crabs in the city. First of all, that they are contained in these horrific tanks, where they are stressed out of their claws for days and hours on end…. Then facing a witch hunt trial of being boiled alive, like they are nothing more than a noodle…. Peace! People! Are we not liberated from the forces of mediocrity and medieval times yet? Nope.

Well, as we expected to hear, there is no humane way of killing a lobster. So we just have to stop eating them! Well, we’d love to hear what you think and if you have any suggestions.

Here is a letter written to a Chef who said that Lobsters have no nervous systems and can feel no pain.

Wow, I just read your article about how to humanely cook a lobster, which comes across as completely cold hearted and inhumane and I would like to correct you on some points.

“Contrary to claims made by seafood sellers, scientists have determined that lobsters, like all animals, can feel pain. Also, when kept in tanks, they may suffer from stress associated with confinement, low oxygen levels, and crowding. Most scientists agree that a lobster’s nervous system is quite sophisticated. Neurobiologist Tom Abrams says lobsters have “a full array of senses.”

Lobsters may feel even more pain than we would in similar situations. According to invertebrate zoologist Jaren G. Horsley, “The lobster does not have an autonomic nervous system that puts it into a state of shock when it is harmed. It probably feels itself being cut. … I think the lobster is in a great deal of pain from being cut open … [and] feels all the pain until its nervous system is destroyed” during cooking.

“As an invertebrate zoologist who has studied crustaceans for a number of years, I can tell you the lobster has a rather sophisticated nervous system that, among other things, allows it to sense actions that will cause it harm. … [Lobsters] can, I am sure, sense pain.”—Jaren G. Horsley, Ph.D ” peta blog

Our world is cruel and painful enough, although I am gratful that you have made an attempt to offer humane alternatives to boiling lobsters alive, I find it completely arrogant and selfish when I see Chefs taking a position following the myth that lobsters feel no pain because they have no central nervous system (How I Wish that were the case!) anybody with a heart and eyes, can begin to imagine what they would experience and can see that a thrashing lobster is obviously in pain! That is pure common sense! When you are writing articles and informing others about ethical choices that results in the possibility of creating incredible agony for sentient beings, it should be made with some deep soul searching thoughts about what you are saying. A good way to start, is to begin with compassion for all living beings. We hope you will join the new wave of humanitarians around the world who are advocating a vegan diet for our planet, our selves and of course the innocent beings that allow us to share this planet with them.


Written in response to this article:

We think, this little blue lobster here, is the only way one should ever hold a lobster . . .



Filed under: Articles, Editorial, Letters, , , , ,

SPCA Letter defending pet ownership to unfriendly Landlords: 2500 pets surrendered due to lack of pet friendly housing

A Letter from the BC SPCA

To whom it may concern,

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) takes the position that companion animals enrich our lives and contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of communities. Therefore we strongly endorse the concept of pet-friendly housing. When responsible pet guardians are allowed to keep animals, they tend to stay in units longer and take good care of their property. This, along with the increased social interaction between neighbours who are out walking their pets, leads to lower turnover of residents, good relationships between
neighbours and better security in buildings.

The benefits of pet guardianship to human physical and emotional health are well-documented. Companion animals assist children with the development of language skills, empathy, responsibility and self-esteem and studies have also shown that companion animals reduce feelings of loneliness,
anxiety and stress.

Despite the obvious advantages of having a companion animal, many strata councils and landlords have taken steps to either reduce or eliminate pets from residential housing under their jurisdiction. Most strata bylaws include substantially restrictive pet policies — only five per cent of rental housing allow dogs, and nine per cent allow cats.

Of the animals who are surrendered to our shelters, we estimate that more than 2,500 are there because their guardians were unable to find housing that would accommodate them.Some strata bylaws and rental agreements attempt to regulate pets by size, in addition to number. This is in spite of the fact that there is no documented evidence, scientific or otherwise,
to support the notion that larger pets create problems.

When a strata council or landlord restricts pets by weight, it is primarily with the intention to prohibit large dogs from being on the premises, presumably because larger breeds are thought to be louder, more destructive and more poorly behaved than their miniature counterparts. But our experience would indicate this is not true. In fact, larger breed dogs are often quieter and well suited to apartment or townhouse living.

The BC SPCA vehemently opposes blanket “no pets” policies, and encourages strata councils and landlords to instead consider a collaborative process to meet the needs of pet guardians and their neighbours. It is widely agreed that it is not animals who cause problems — it is irresponsible pet guardians.

However, the majority of pet guardians are extremely responsible and willing to take whatever steps are required to keep their animals in rental or strata housing. Having clear guidelines/contracts in place for pet guardians can easily ensure that responsible behaviours are followed and enforced.

Some options include:
~ Placing guidelines on where pets are permitted in shared outdoor/garden space;
~ Agreement that pets will be on leash and/or within the control of their guardian at all times in shared indoor and outdoor space on the property;
~ Agreement that all pet guardians must pick up after their pets on the property;
~ Agreement on noise restrictions during late-night and early-morning hours;
~ Designating individual units or wings as pet-friendly;
~ Ensuring that pet guardians complete a detailed registration form for their pet that includes a photo and description of the animal; proof of vaccinations; proof of municipal licence; proof of spay/neuter; tattoo number; letters of reference on the animal from a trainer, veterinarian, breeder, or rescue organization; contact information for a veterinarian;
and contact information for a person who agrees to care for the pet should the guardian become incapacitated; and
~ Ensuring pet guardians are apprised of local strata bylaws concerning noise, and that they take steps to have their pets properly adjusted and socialized for the sights and sounds of life in a multi-unit complex.
We strongly urge you to consider steps that will promote responsible and humane communities which include both humans and the animals who enrich our lives.

For more information on the BC SPCA, please visit
Lorie Chortyk
General Manager, Community Relations

Image By Ariel Rose:

Filed under: Blogging, Homes Found, Homes Needed, Letters, , , ,

Update from Alley Cat Allies who broke story of Audubon recommending citizens poison cats

Great work for stray cats!

On Friday, we broke the story of a National Audubon Society editor-at-large who took to the Orlando Sentinel, a major metropolitan newspaper, to advocate that citizens get rid of cats by poisoning them with a common over-the-counter medication.

Together, we sent an incredible 30,000 emails directly to Audubon CEO David Yarnold and Chairman B. Holt Thrasher. Because of your response, the Audubon Society suspended the author, Ted Williams, from his position over the weekend.

This is a huge win and I am proud of our response – of your response – but our work’s not done yet. Extremist, anti-cat attacks are on the rise following the Smithsonian’s junk science cat “study.” To respond just as aggressively the next time cats are under fire, we rely on your continued support. Will you help us now to continue to show the strength of our movement?

Click here to donate $5 or more to Alley Cat Allies so that we can continue to be the leading national voice for defending cats.

Thank you for being such a reliable, dedicated ally for cats.


Becky Robinson
Alley Cat Allies


Filed under: Updates, , , , , , ,

Summary of the CITES with CATCA

Summary of the CITES CoP16:
I invite you visit my CATCA FUNDRAISER GROUP: to bid on some cool animal items to help me cover the expenses of my lobbying… at the CITES CoP16. If you want to know about my succesful lobbying stories check my wall. Please share widely.
Thank you!
Ericka Ceballos


Filed under: Articles, Follow Ups, Fundraisers, Newsletters in Activism, Updates, , , , , , ,

Update from Vancouver Animal Defence League- Fortune Garden Seafood Restaurant takes shark fin soup off menu and more!

After 8 months of protesting outside of Fortune Garden Seafood Restaurant they have finally agreed to take shark fin soup off their menu. By the end of this month they will have changed their menus and sold the last of their stock. FIN FREE!
Our Fintastic Friday Nights continue! Please join us at Sun Sui Wah (3888 Main St) every friday night from 6:30 till 8:30 pm until they remove shark fins from their menu!

ACTION ALERT: Nanaimo Seal Hunt Protest Saturday 16 March 2013

12:00-2:30pm, Saturday, March 16, 2013, the Vancouver Island Animal Defense League will demonstrate against the Canadian commercial seal hunt beside the old Island Highway in Nanaimo, BC. We will meet on the hill overlooking the traffic lights at the corner of Terminal Avenue North (Island Highway) and Brechin Road, rain or shine. There’s plenty of free parking near the Tim Hortons at Brooks Landing Shopping Centre. This event has been timed to coincide with two ferry arrivals from Vancouver ACTION ALERT: Nanaimo Seal Hunt Protest Saturday 16 March 2013

12:00-2:30pm, Saturday, March 16, 2013, the Vancouver Island Animal Defense League will demonstrate against the Canadian commercial seal hunt beside the old Island Highway in Nanaimo, BC. We will meet on the hill overlooking the traffic lights at the corner of Terminal Avenue North (Island Highway) and Brechin Road, rain or shine. There’s plenty of free parking near the Tim Hortons at Brooks Landing Shopping Centre. This event has been timed to coincide with two ferry arrivals from Vancouver and to catch lunchtime traffic along the highway. Please come and bring any anti-sealing signs you may have. Otherwise you can help hold up our large Stop the Slaughter sign or simply wave at passing motorists. If you can’t stay for the whole time, your presence for even a little while will be appreciated.


National shark fin vote!

On March 27 MP Fin Donnelly’s private members bill C-380 will be voted on by Canada’s MP’s. This bill would ban the importation of shark fins into Canada.
In BC we are focusing on three conservative MP’s who have stated they plan to vote against the shark fin ban. The more people who contact these MP’s the better chance we have to change their vote, it’s still possible!!

James Lunney, Nanaimo- Port Alberni
Check out the VADL on the front page of the Nanaimo Bulletin facing off with James Lunney on this issue.

Andrew Saxton, North Vancouver

John Weston, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast


Vancouver Animal Defense League SHIRTS!!

Support our efforts by buying our gear!

Thank you!


Filed under: Blogging, Letters, Newsletters in Activism, Protests, Rallies, Twittering, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Speak up! About what is good! A transit system in Vancouver without Transit Officers.

As activists, people who work to defend the vulnerable, we often have compassion for people who are vulnerable too.

Witnessing semi police force is something that feels violating, hostile and counter intuitive to a progressive, empathic community. Witnessing, is also something that activists do, we watch, observe, learn and then share the experience as best we can to others to inform, educate and to hopefully transform situations to something better and more rewarding for all of us.

This brings us to ways we can affect systems that are in place that go against our natures of compassion and tolerance.

Recently, several of us have been witness to the alarming physical presence of what is being called Vancouver Transit Police. According to Chief Officer Neil Dubord, “The results of Transit Police work is reduced crime and disorder, increased feeling of safety and improved quality of life on public transportation.” However, this has not been the feeling communicated to the passengers we have spoken with.


Have you had any experience with Transit Police or on our local transportation system that you would like to share or comment on? Please speak up and post a comment. We would like to mention that we are incredibly grateful for the exceptional transportation system that we do have in Vancouver and the many helpful, considerate, hard working bus drivers and people within Translink. We also acknowledge the benefit we receive from the service that police, security and transit police provide in order to protect the well being of its community passengers. However, we wish to see the continued protection and comfort level on buses without feeling intimidated and harassed by Transit Police on what used to be an enjoyable commute to work and our daily events!

If you feel the same, please send a letter to the following:

1.) Transit Police:

2.) Mayor Gregor Robertson:
Email to: or tel:604-873-7621

We at VARC believe in creating change for the positive and also in protecting what is already beautiful. The transit system is a fluid, mobile, advanced operating system that allows people to move freely, liberally and enthusiastically through the corridors of Vancouver. Let’s not let it be brought down with a few misjudgements from Transit Police. Speak Your Mind. We live in a world that requires your feedback in the communication system of life.20130306-111433.jpg

Sample Letter from a rider to Translink and Mayor Robertson

Riding the number 99 bus has gone from being an enjoyable one to a terrifying one. It used to be a fun, light hearted ride down broadway, in either direction. There was a sense of community, trust, togetherness. Now the disturbing presence of police brutality on the bus, brings a feeling of solemness and severity.

I have witnessed two women being dragged off the bus and intimidated after large, intimidating police security officers alarmingly stepped onto the bus requesting their bus pass.

I spoke to both shaken up women afterwards. One woman is about to let go of her apartment and see if she can house sit because she can no longer afford her rent. The other woman was a student with very little money.

As someone myself who can barely make ends meet and who has watched the horrible homeless situation in vancouver for years and spoke with people living out of their cars because they can’t afford rent, I happen to be one of those individuals who take great pity on those struggling and I have a huge level of compassion for them in this city.

I can tell you, that at times for many it may be a choice between dinner and a bus fare. And its not from the people you would expect.

I want to live in a city I am proud of, not ashamed of. Riding this bus, witnessing the unkind actions of these police officers makes me deeply ashamed of the world I belong to that lives without empathy and compassion. And it makes me deeply ashamed of the city of Vancouver.

Aren’t police officers meant to protect people, not intimidate the homeless, helpless and vulnerable?

This is a disgrace. Please put the time of Transit Officers to better use.


Laws are for people who don’t obey their hearts, who don’t know how to listen to their hearts and who don’t know how to feel or think with their hearts.

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Filed under: Blogging, Letters, Twittering, Uncategorized, , , ,

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Stop UBC Animal Research Campaign at Vancouver Art Gallery

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