Vancouver Animal Rights Campaigns (VARK)

Activists Uniting For The Benefit of Animals

please Water Your Landscapes, to prevent drought and help wildlife

Ive been trying to educate people on the water, drought issue and just found this wonderful post written by Wynn, a gardener and landscaper from Bowen Island. It is written so much better than I could say, so here it is:

I’ve been asked a few times now if I would post this to the forum as well. If you’ve already seen it in The Office bulletin, my apologies. 🙂

This is an article that was kindly published by The Office bulletin in Artisan Square recently. Water is such a central issue to gardeners everywhere, not to mention our broader environment and the stuff of life itself!

My view is that we are experiencing not just a dry period between more normal weather cycles but a persistent, likely permanent, drying trend due to climate change. If that is so, then past practices that were adequate to get us and our plants through a temporary dry period are no longer adequate or even the right remedies to deal with what appears to be is a global drying trend.

However, the solution is not to let our landscapes die! Plants, trees, shrubs and ground covers act as our highly efficient air conditioners. Replacing them with barren ground, rock mulch, artificial turf or green painted surfaces is not only futile, it makes the problem worse. How is replacing living green surfaces that holds and filters clean water back into our aquifers, with heat absorbing rock mulch or plastic artificial turf supposed to cool the surrounding air?

Strategies such as imposing 4th level water restrictions disallowing any outdoor watering of plants, topping up of natural wildlife-friendly ponds (not swimming pools or hot tubs) or giving birds and other creatures a source of water where needed, is not “wasting water”. This is not a strategy. It is not a solution. It is an act of panic and desperation. As we lose the green, our world turns brown, not just our lawns. It needs a proactive not reactive response by municipalities and individuals working together. Rant over now, thank you.

Have been meaning to write about this for some time now. As a gardener, I am reminded every day.

We all are experiencing, first hand, the effects of warming and associated drought along with the rest of world, however unlike many others we still have drinking water, water to wash ourselves and to grow food. We are just beginning to be alarmed at the longer term consequences of a drying world.

Yes, we waste a lot of drinkable water, no question. Our water consumption, even when restricted for a few months in the summer, is generous compared to many other regions of the world. But I think we are mistaken, in some respects, in our understanding and definition of “wasted water”.

When is water wasted? We can argue that it is wasted in large and small ways but is it wasted when it’s plentiful or only in the dry summer months when less plentiful and expensive? Is it wasted by our building regulation and infrastructure practices that allows rainfall to roar off roofs and through drains and culverts into the sea rather than permeating the ground to nourish plants and replenish aquifers? I think so. California certainly knows the effect of ever diminishing aquifers and reserves. We absolutely need better building and landscaping practices in a drying world. I would also argue that using clean, especially treated water, for power washing buildings or cleaning cars and decks is a use that should probably be reexamined in today’s world.

And then, the main purpose of this letter, is it being wasteful to share water with our living landscapes and creatures. I would argue that it is not. Keeping our tended and wild landscapes alive and healthy is of the utmost importance – as it creates and maintains a livable world for us all.

What is the antidote for dry and hot; it is moist and cool. You know that feeling you get when you leave the heat of the asphalt road or cement parking lot and plunge into the adjacent forest? The ambient temperature immediately drops what feels like several degrees, you can suddenly breath easily as moist air fills your lungs, it smells earthy and cool. Ahhh, relief. That’s what our personal gardens, community parks, ponds, lakes and natural areas bring to us. Rescue and respite from our hot urban deserts. Yes plants consume water. They also transpire continuously, releasing that water into the air as moisture that, in turn, cools and dampens the air around us. They are our air conditioning.

When I hear people discussing whether to bother planting a garden, to water that thirsty tree or, worse, to pull up existing landscaping in response to drought and water restrictions, I almost despair. The solution is not to let landscapes die. The solution is to plant more tree canopy and shrub layers for permanent ground protecting shade and to plant barren eroding ground with a living surface that holds and filters clean water back into aquifers. The solution is to protect and increase our native forests, wetlands and lakes as a counter balance to a drying climate and urbanization; to mitigate, not reduce and diminish it. The solution is to “green” our buildings, streets and urban spaces, create significant public parks, collect rain water and use ground permeable landscaping and green roofs for cooler cities. As we lose the green, our world turns brown and dry, not just our lawns.

Garden trees and shrubs suffering repeated near-death experiences every summer with no or shallow watering are never going to develop deep, drought resistant roots. They need deep watering, less often. A timed trickling hose or focused “spot” sprinkler does a good job, also tree “water bags”. After a few years of sufficient watering there may not be a need to water these hard stemmed plants at all. Hand spraying, unless done properly, is often less effective than a tree waterbag, a focused spot sprinkler (NOT the wide/high spraying ones) and mulching. And may not use less water in the end. Ask, research, educate yourself and talk to neighbours about the best practices. Your garden will reward you.

We need to be pre-emptive, innovative and smart about water, not reactive and panicked. And that goes for municipalities and Boards as well. Get on with changing the big stuff, e.g., obsolete building practices, allowing grey water systems, mandatory cisterns, collection reservoirs, permeable landscaping, greening urban spaces, metering, public education, creating parks, protecting our green “air conditioning”. We citizens will take care of the small, but vital stuff.

And, lastly but so importantly, flora and fauna need and are entitled to have water to live, too. We need to share — it’s not just about us.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/16/2015 07:31AM by Wynn.
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Leaving Wild Alone


Filed under: Education/Leafletting, Environmental

Video: Live Dog’s Legs Cut Off By A Woman

Video: Live Dog’s Legs Cut Off By A Woman.

Filed under: Alerts, Get Involved, , ,

No fireworks Vancouver Rant and ask Officials to Switch to Laser Shows

Im getting so sick of trying to politely educate people about things, like for example fireworks harming wildlife, and receiving their brutal prejudged completely uneducated, self righteous responses. Because they have spent so much time thinking about the effects on wildlife and researching it and helping people find their lost cats and dogs the days after. 

Of course they all have asthma, so they know what it is to inhale plumes of carcinogens into their lungs. And they are such caring and thoughtful individuals they actually take the time to think, hmmm, how does that effect the ear drums, of sensitive animals, babies, elderly. And how does the chaos of light and the thundering noises affect fish in the water, birds in the trees, squirrels, racoons, and the infinite species that are aching to find clean water and food and a green tree in sprawling suburbia land of etched in highways, pavement, deafening construction that kills every living being as far as eyes could see… 

Why would anybody care about fireworks?

Maybe i just attract some of the most hardened, jeering people but the snorting rolling eyed looks to my explaining that i do not go to fireworks because it destroys wildlife, makes me dislike people all the more.
Other than all my earth angel friends fighting to make this world a better place, I do not get people, their self imposed righteousness, their complete disregard for every other living being, their selfish and petty needs of pure unequivocal happiness at the expense of others. Its almost like we are living in a mini hell. Where some of us try to plant flowers and someone else comes along and stomps on them, just for the fun of it.
Rant over, I guess common sense will never change anything. That is the reason for activists. Whether they want to or not, for the defenceless.

You can help birds and other animals by asking officials in your town to ban fireworks and switch to laser light shows, which provide all the awe of fireworks displays but are more affordable and kinder to animals and the environment. – Peta



Filed under: Education/Leafletting, Environmental, , , , , ,

Water, Water the Wildlife Everywhere!

Summer season is here. Yesterday. I saw a little duck on the sidewalk at English Bay, paddling in a small puddle, trying to keep wet and find food, unfortunately, she was in the middle of the bike path. She tried to keep her cool, really wanting to stay cool, but the bikes finally annoyed her. She cried, and waddled off, before flying away. I felt so badly for her.

We aren’t California yet, but we could be. Summer is hot enough to burden all the wildlife with lack of food and especially water.

What can you do to help? Can you plant a few flowers on your patio and leave out bowls of water? The core of the city is pretty miserable for animals. A small refreshment amid the jungle city, could go a long way, for our wild life’s broken hearts, wings and a lot of misery.

In the West End, Coyotes are leaving Stanley Park, an unusual occurence, from what local residents say to find, food, which is sadly, some of our beloved pets :-(. I’ve also witnessed skunks and racoons eating pigeons, which seems strange.

When natural habitat is abundant, wildlife is happy, boisterous, alive. Here, in the city, animals struggle. There is not enough “life.” There is not life support.

What can you do? Feed them? Support them? Love them? Keep your cats inside? But definitely, water them…. Build a little Oasis, somewhere, if you can.

Filed under: Environmental, , , , ,

Mayor Gregor Robertson: Please call a public referendum regarding the addition of more captive cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium!

VancouverAnimal – There’s a new petition taking off on, and we think you might be interested in signing it:

Mayor Gregor Robertson: Please call a public referendum regarding the addition of more captive cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium!

By Marcie Callewaert

Sign Marcie’s Petition

This petition aims to convince the current Vancouver Park Board Commissioners to respect democracy and allow a whale referendum question to be placed on the municipal election ballot on November 15, 2014. The referendum question would ask the public if they agree with keeping whales and dolphins in captivity in the public aquarium.

The only way that the Vancouver Public Aquarium can be compelled to end the barbaric practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity is through the democratic process. Because this aquarium is located in Stanley Park, which is public land, this means that the democratically elected Parks Board Commissioners have the jurisdiction to determine whether or not whale and dolphin captivity should be tolerated in Stanley Park. This is a sensitive matter that requires a wider public discussion and ultimately, a democratic resolution. Tragically, until now the Parks Board, regardless of which political party has been in power, has consistently refused to give the citizens the democratic option to express their opinion on this issue. The public should be consulted through a whale referendum during the upcoming November, 2014 civic elections. Please help make this happen and sign this petition.

Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent, intensely social, highly cooperative animals that in the wild live in extended family units called pods. In captivity, they are often forced to share tanks with animals from different pods, species and geographic locations. Like humans they suffer greatly in captivity. In captivity they are perpetually stressed out and often die prematurely. In the wild these animals dive hundreds of feet into the depth of the ocean and may easily travel more than a 100 kilometres in a single day. It is simply not possible to meet the complex physical and behavioural needs of these animals in captivity.

The American Humane Society has concluded that keeping dolphins in confinement in concrete tanks is “inhumane beyond comprehension”. They suffer whether or not they were taken from the wild or bred for captivity. For these reasons, in May 2013, the Government of India “officially recognized dolphins as non-human persons, whose rights to life and liberty must be respected” and thereby banned the import, capture and captivity of cetaceans in all public and private enterprises.

In stark contrast the Vancouver Aquarium is currently expanding its whale tanks and plans to maintain the whale and dolphin captivity program in perpetuity adding more animals to fill up those tanks. These animals are suffering in captivity for one reason only, profits. There is no educational or scientific value to the Aquarium’s whale and dolphin display. As the internationally respected oceanographer and educator Jacques Cousteau aptly put it, “the educational benefit of watching a dolphin in captivity would be like learning about humanity only by watching prisoners in solitary confinement”.


Filed under: Petitions,

National Animal Welfare Conference with Dr. Jane Goodall in Toronto

Please distribute this e-mail to everyone you know who cares about animal welfare.

Register by March 1st 2014 to get the early bird rate and be entered to win an opportunity to attend a special VIP event with Dr. Jane Goodall and other prizes!

Conference registration fees increase by $100 after March 1st.

Canadian Federation of Humane Societies – National Animal Welfare Conference
Eaton Chelsea – Toronto, ON – April 12-15 2014

The 2014 Conference is an unprecedented opportunity to share, learn, connect and network with the animal welfare community in Canada. The 2014 conference brings together like-minded individuals and organizations who promote respect for and humane treatment of animals.

Register Now:

Early Bird prizes:

· An opportunity to attend a special VIP event with Dr. Jane Goodall (more exciting news to come about this event)
· Free accommodation for the duration of the conference
· Free conference registration

Conference highlights:

· Keynote: Hope for Animals – Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE and UN Messenger of Peace
· Opening Plenary: The Future of the Humane Movement: Critical Factors in Building a Humane Canada – Craig Daniell, CEO, BC SPCA
· Plenary: The Five Freedoms for Farm Animals: How on Earth Will We Get There? – Geoff Urton, Manager of Stakeholder Relations, BC SPCA
· More than 24 individual sessions in four stimulating concurrent tracks
· Three post-session training courses
· Pre-session site visits
· Nightly accommodation rate of only $119 + taxes at the Eaton Chelsea (hyperlink to registration page)
· $500 Travel bursary from the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada

Visit: to register, book your accommodation, read the conference program, overview and speakers’ bios.

If you have any questions about the conference please don’t hesitate to contact me. See you in Toronto!

Again, please distribute this e-mail to everyone you know who cares about animal welfare.


David Dern
Marketing & Fund Development Manager
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

Tel: 613-224-8072, ext 22

Find us on:

CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference early bird registration is now open! Register now:


Filed under: Blogging, Education/Leafletting, Planned Events, , ,

Animal Advocacy Camp

Animal Advocacy Camp 2014
Vancouver’s Animal Rights UnConference

March 22 & 23
Croatian Cultural Centre, Vancouver

Join your fellow animal advocates for two days of learning and sharing about taking effective action for animals.

You have valuable skills, experiences, and ideas. By working and learning with others you can build a stronger community of animal advocates and make a greater difference in the lives of animals.

Animal Advocacy Camp will be a practical, attendee-led event, where YOU get to set the agenda and host discussions about what YOU want to talk about.

* Share your stories, ideas, and experiences.
* Learn from the experiences of others.
* Discover the wealth of resources available
* Host powerful dialogues about issues and strategies.
* Create and strengthen relationships.
* Become a stronger and more effective advocate for animals.

Animal Advocacy Camp is a step in the direction of a strong and powerful Canadian animal rights movement. Bringing activists together to talk, plan, learn, and share together will lead to more effective activism and greater change.

Be a part of creating change.


Jo-Anne McArthur – photographer, We Animals ( ), The Ghosts in Our Machine ( )

Dylan Powell – Marineland Animal Defense ( )

Lisa Hutcheon – Small Animal Rescue Society of BC ( )

Sara Dubois – Chief Scientific Officer, BC SPCA ( )

Register and learn more at .

Stop UBC Animal Research is a community grassroots campaign that employs peaceful, legal, and compassionate approaches to educate the public about the grim realities of research on animals at the University of British Columbia and to ultimately bring about an end to research on animals at UBC. Please visit our website at:

Filed under: Blogging, Planned Events, , , , ,

Update from Vancouver Animal Defence League: National Anti-Fur Week, media coverage and FUNDRAISING!

Our Sun Sui Wah victory is in today’s Vancouver Courier!


National Anti-Fur Week!

Join activists across Canada, in 18 cities and 6 provinces, for the largest coordinated day (WEEK) of action against the fur trade.

National Anti-Fur Day, now in its 25th year, has evolved into a week-long event centered around Valentine’s Day, asking people to have a heart for fur-bearing animals.

Protest schedule for Vancouver:

Saturday February 8, 11 to 1 at Brooklyn Clothing Co, 418 Davie St
Thursday February 13, 11 to 12 at Alpine Start, 68 West Broadway
Thursday February 13, 1 to 3 at Brooklyn Clothing Co, 418 Davie St
Friday February 14, 1 to 3 at Snowflake Furs, 102-750 Pender St
Saturday February 15, 11 to 1 at Brooklyn Clothing Co, 418 Davie St

Vancouver event page:

National event page:


Manure sale fundraiser!

Filed under: Protests, , , , , ,

Join Stop UBC Animal Research for a discussion on vivisection

Please join Stop UBC Animal Research and VADL for an open discussion on the UBC
vivisection campaign and how to effectively move forward. We will be discussing
campaign goals, strategies and tactics. Bring your ideas and compassion for the animals
in laboratories – yours is their only voice!

Oakridge Public Library at 41st and Cambie – meeting space at rear….
6:45pm on Thursday, January 23rd

Filed under: Meetings, Planned Events, , ,

Vancouver Animal Defence League Victories!



Grouse Mountain has removed all cruel fur products from its retail operations almost immediately after we announced an anti-fur protest for January 7, and following a months-long campaign.

On January 2, following a New Year’s Eve announcement of the protest, Grouse Mountain informed us that there is now “no fur on the mountain.” On January 3, we entered Outfitters and confirmed that the store is now 100% fur-free.

Prior to announcement of the protest, Outfitters had carried fur-trimmed Canada Goose and Parajumpers jackets. In October 2013, we transmitted email and voicemail appeals to Grouse Mountain in order to initiate dialogue, but Grouse ignored the appeals, compelling us to launch a sustained pressure campaign via social media, telephone and in-store presence. At one point, after an activist visited Outfitters and spoke with customers on November 11, Grouse summoned the RCMP, who handcuffed, detained and interrogated the activist.

Given Grouse Mountain’s iconic status, this is a keystone victory in the battle against the vile fur industry generally and Canada Goose in particular. We’ll monitor Grouse every week through the fall.

Grouse Mountain is the second Canadian retailer to drop Canada Goose’s fur products after VADL campaigns: Hills of Kerrisdale dropped Canada Goose and went 100% fur-free in winter 2012 after months of protest. Currently we’re also undertaking a fur-free campaign at Brooklyn Clothing.


Click here to view the outstanding 7-minute+ interview with VADL activist Michael Brooks and Brooklyn Clothing owner Jason Overbo regarding our current fur campaign:

The campaign is going strong, now in its third month. We’ll protest at Brooklyn for years if needed, period.


VADL activists have secured a meeting with the owner of Sun Sui Wah, to discuss an end to that restaurant’s serving of shark fin soup; stay tuned for the outcome. Meantime our Fintastic Friday protests will continue so long as Sun Sui Wah supports torture and extermination of sharks. Nine months of protesting under our belts so far!


Every Wed. and Sat., 11-1: Protests at Brooklyn Clothing on Davie
Every Fri., 630-830: Shark fin protest at Sun Sui Wah


Filed under: Newsletters in Activism, Ongoing Events, Protests, , , , , , ,

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Stop UBC Animal Research Campaign at Vancouver Art Gallery

Flickr Photos