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

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, , , , , ,

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, , ,

CATCA Distributes brochures on Whales in Captivity at Landmark Cinemas

Dear all, As part of the WAD Activities, Campaigns Against the Cruelty to Animals (CATCA) will be distributing educative brochures about whales in Captivity on Wednesday 23th at Landmark Cinemas (New Westminster Sky Train Station) during the New West Doc Fest presentation of Blackfish.

There will be very great documentaries for three nights only, that you do not want to miss! Bring your family and friends.

I hope to see you there!

Ericka Ceballos
WAD Canadian Ambassadress

**Check the list of documentaries!**

New West Doc Fest (October 23, 24,25)

Wednesday Oct 23
7:00 Feature Film: The Legend of Sarila
9:00 Feature Film: Blackfish

Thursday Oct 24
7:00 Feature Film: GMO OMG
9:00 Feature Film: Twenty Feet from Stardom

Friday Oct 25
7:30 Feature Film: Bidder 70
9:00 Free AFTER PARTY at the Spud Shack Fry Co.
New Westminster SkyTrain Station

Filed under: Alerts, Education/Leafletting, Help Needed, ,

Is Vancouver trying to help tenants keep their pets?

Source, Full story here CBC News:


The City of Vancouver approved a motion late yesterday afternoon to help renters keep their pets — but it might not have the authority to affect such a change.

The city says more than half of Vancouverites are renters, and under the current rules pets can be banned from rental properties.

Coun. Tim Stevenson says the city wants to come up with a way pets, renters and landlords can all get along.

“Maybe they’ll pay a higher fee to enter into the apartment building, but you know they’ve had this in place for … 23 years in Ontario,” Stevenson said.

Geoff Urton with the B.C. SPCA says owners often give up their beloved pets for a place to live.

Ontario is the only province that has outlawed no-pet rules at rental properties. Ontario is the only province that has outlawed no-pet rules at rental properties. (Amel Emric/CP Images)

“Just in our Vancouver animal shelter, more than 100 pets a year are surrendered to us for that reason,” he said. “It’s the number one reason animals are surrendered to us.”

Pet owner Andrew Simmons says his landlord tried to evict him and his two cats, Muffin and Tigger.

He complained to the Rental Tenancy Branch and was able to keep them, but doesn’t want others to have to fight the same battle.

“I had permission from the previous owners to have pets. I just never had it in writing,” he said.

“When the building was sold and we had new landlords, then they tried to evict me. I think it’s a start because it’s always good to have dialogue. “

But the motion approved by the city might be moot. The Residential Tenancy Act is under provincial jurisdiction, and the government says it has no plans to change the current rules.


Question from VARC:  What can we as pet and animal loving citizens do to support this motion?  Ideas? Suggestions?

One idea is we encourage you to forward this letter from the SPCA to any landlords you have come into contact with or whose email address you have.

Afterall, education they say, is the first of many, many, illdefined steps:

Filed under: Articles, Education/Leafletting, , , , , ,

Response from local restaurant on lobster “euthanization”

Hey there,

We have started a mini campaign at VARC, the kind where we politely walk into seafood restaurants and tell them a little about the sensitive nervous systems of lobsters and crabs and ask if they’d consider finding alternate ways of killing them. We just got a response from one restaurant stating that they consider boiling them alive the most humane method, well their words are a bit different, we’ll let you read below.

Not going to shout out the name of this high end seafood place in Vancouver as we do have a working relationship with them thus far, but we thought we’d share a bit of our conversation.

Please let us know what you think the most humane way of killing a lobster is, obviously there is NO humane way, but if worse comes to worse, which for lobsters, it does every day, what do you think is the least painful way these misunderstood sea creatures can be humanely euthanized?

Ad we encourage you to do the same to any local seafood place in your community. Politely tell them what you think of this rather barbaric practice and let them know how highly sophisticated these sea creatures are, in person, or by email. Its just awareness, step by step. There is a great peta link below with amazing info on crabs and lobsters.


Conversation Below:

Hi Rose,

Thank you for your interest in our food preparation practices. (blank) as a company, is continually taking steps to move our restaurants further along the environmentally friendly path.

Currently we are pioneering an effort to move to a zero waste model where, all or close to all materials and food waste are recycled or sent to compost.

Previous to this we joined ocean wise. We make every effort to carefully engineer our menus taking into consideration sustainability while keeping true to our concepts.

The note you made about the handling of lobsters did spark my interest. Upon further research including conversations with our executive team, we have decided that any evidence to an alternate method of preparing lobster is not strong enough to cause us to change our practices at this time.


On Sunday, May 5, 2013


I stopped into your restaurant and had a discussion with you about lobsters.
I was wondering if you had a chance to consider this any further and if there were any discussions about the most ethical ways to kill lobsters?

I was told there is a very specific way of killing them, that actually allows the lobster to die quickly and supposedly ensures the “meat” is more tender.

Here is some info on the sentience of their natures.
I hope you will read it.

I really look forward to hearing from you and hearing what your thoughts are about this.


Filed under: Education/Leafletting, Follow Ups, , , , ,

Dairy Farmer profiting from Veal in Enderby?

Somebody forwarded us this message . . . .

There is a dairy farmer, at the beginning of Matthews road that is doing the most revolting torture of baby cows for veal profiting. He tears baby cows from their mothers, imprisons them in tiny pens, puts heavy chains around their neck tied to the ceiling that is very short, deprives them of their mother’s milk and feeds them only denatured grain so they become anemic to make the “meat” white. The pen is so short the baby cows cannot stand up and the chains so short they cannot move one inch to the left or right nor one inch foward nor backward. These babies are imprisoned like inmates in a maximum security prison held by chains around their necks until they are killed to make a profit for Davidson. His business is called J N J farm outside of Enderby.

EVERYBODY CALL THIS MAN AND TELL HIM WHAT HE IS DOING IS REVOLTINGLY BARBARIC AND REVOLTINGLY SAVAGE AND HE MUST STOP THIS NOW!!! He must be exposed. He does not want bad publicity. If people call and demand that he stop, he will stop.

Filed under: Alerts, Education/Leafletting, Help Needed, , , ,

Conference Call For BC Wildlife with CPAWS 7pm April 10th

Join us for a telephone town hall about protecting B.C.’s rich north Pacific Ocean ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.

Wednesday, April 10, 7:00 pm, PDT – SIGN UP NOW

From the comfort of your home, participate in this informative and inspiring 60-minute call. Sabine Jessen, National Manager of the Oceans and Great Freshwater Lakes Program for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and a fellow ocean conservation leader will share their knowledge about the health of the North Pacific Ocean and answer questions about a promising B.C. initiative to use the ocean wisely. We need to ensure that many benefits of a healthy ocean — jobs, food, recreation and more — are there for us, our children and grandchildren.

Here’s how it works:

Sign-up now. We’ll give you a follow-up call as a reminder.

On the day of the event, we’ll call you at 7 p.m. Pacific time.

Just like a radio call-in show, you can ask questions, share opinions or just listen to the conversation.

From recent polling, we know that you care about the health of the coast. As the B.C. election approaches, this is an important time to get informed, involved and inspired.

Join us for a lively discussion.

From the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and our partners:

David Suzuki Foundation
Living Oceans Society

Get social with CPAWS:

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society :: 506-250 City Centre Ave :: Ottawa, ON K1R 6K7
Photo: Sealife in Gwaii Haanas, by Sabine Jessen / CPAWS

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Filed under: Education/Leafletting, Environmental, , ,

CATCA WAD Children Animal Artwork Event in New Westminster Sunday October 30th,

World Animal Day with Children’s artwork exhibition Oct 30th/ Raffle

by Ericka Ceballos on Friday, October 21, 2011 at 3:22pm

Dear all,

Here is our poster of the CATCA WAD Children Animal Artwork Event in New Westminster next Sunday October 30th, that CATCA is organizing at the Centennial Community Centre.

Please help us to promote this educative animal event by sending this poster by e-mail to friends, or by printing it and posting it in public libraries, your school, work, veterianarian clinics, pet stores, or your community centre.

If you are not in BC or Canada, please send this message to your colleagues here in BC.

Here is the pdf of the poster of the event: 

If you can come to help me please let me know ASAP in an e-mail (or message in FB), with the subject: CATCA WAD EVENT!

Hope to see you there and thank you very much on ahead.

Ericka Ceballos


Founder and President

Campaigns Against the Cruelty to Animals

Canadian Ambassador for the World Animal Day 2011

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

Join Stop UBC Public Education Event “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Join Stop UBC Animal Research at public education event at showing of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes

WHEN: Friday, August 12, 8:50PM

WHERE: Scotiabank Theatre, 900 Burrard St. (Smithe & Burrard). Click here for Google maps:

WHAT: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes just opened around North America to rave reviews. The film makes a powerful case against animal research and is perhaps one of the greatest commercial animal rights films ever made (Click here to watch movie trailer​ch?v=LaK6khs8aMw). Stop UBC Animal Research will educate moviegoers about UBC’s cruel experiments on non-human primates and other animals. NOTE: if you haven’t seen the film yet you can see it after our public education event. Let’s make the evening a Stop UBC Animal Research social night too!

WHAT TO BRING: Signs that read, “Stop UBC’s Monkey Business”, “UBC Conducts Cruel Experiments on Monkeys”, UBC Shocks Monkeys in the Name of ‘Science'”, “UBC Researchers Blind Monkeys in the Name of ‘Science’.” We’ll need four people to dress up as monkeys. We will provide the costumes. Be sure to wear your “Stop UBC Animal Research” T-shirt.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: stopubcanimalresearch@gmai​, 604-551-3324

RSVP: stopubcanimalresearch@gmai​

Filed under: Blogging, Education/Leafletting, Twittering, , , , , , , ,

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Stop UBC Animal Research Campaign at Vancouver Art Gallery

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