animal welfare News/Blog Pet adoption Promoted Uncategorized

Animal rescue standards of practice – have your say!

The Animal Welfare Network of British Columbia (AWANBC) is currently seeking public feedback on draft standards for rescues. Follow this link for more information and to submit comments –

The AWANBC, of which the Vancouver Humane Society is a member, aims to enable animal welfare organizations to work together and to support strategies around specific projects and initiatives associated with companion animal welfare.

One such AWANBC project is focused on creating rescue standards of practice. To date, there are no criteria required for groups to be involved in animal welfare or rescue and there is no accountability for these organizations. Meanwhile, the number of animal rescues and shelters across the province continues to grow. While many have high standards of care, others may have practices that put animals and the public at risk.

Without standards of practice, any group can self-identify as a rescue and it can be difficult for the public to determine if a rescue group is reputable or not. AWANBC has identified this as a pressing animal welfare and public safety issue and has worked to develop Animal Rescue Standards of Practice.

Follow this link for more information on the standards and to submit comments –

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Pet ID tags

We’re excited to partner with Tags for Hope in offering their beautiful pet ID tags to our supporters, with 35% of all proceeds coming back to Vancouver Humane! These are quite possibly the best tags available for your companion animals (and make great keychains!), as there’s space for contact info, medical needs, and even your vet’s contact info on the back!

News/Blog Pet adoption Promoted

The dilemmas of modern vet care

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In a recent article in the Globe and Mail, columnist Margaret Wente described the emotional ordeal she faced when her cat became ill, requiring prolonged and extensive medical care and, ultimately, euthanization.

Wente also recounted the high cost of veterinary care, which millions of pet guardians face when their companions become ill.  For her, money was not a critical issue, but for most Canadians – especially those on low or fixed incomes – it is.

As Wente points out, in the past veterinary care was limited in scope and complex cases usually resulted in euthanization.  But now, with scientific advances, there are many more life-saving treatment options – but they come with a high cost.  Coinciding with this development has been a rise in the status of companion animals.  They are now considered part of the family.

These are positive changes for companion animals but they also present difficult emotional and financial dilemmas for many people. What do you do when the vet tells you that your cat’s life can be saved but the bill may run into the thousands of dollars? Here at VHS, we are all too familiar with such dilemmas. Almost daily, we receive calls for help from people facing unexpected and often high bills for veterinary care.  Our ability to help is limited, as our McVitie Fund for sick and injured animals becomes quickly depleted from high demand. (We’re thankful for the support received for this fund from those that can afford it and who are willing to help animals they will never know.)

There are no easy answers when it comes to weighing the health and well-being of animals against the potentially astronomical costs of vet care.  Some have argued that perhaps only those who can afford high vet bills should take on the responsibility of pet guardianship.  Yet we know of many low-income people who make remarkable efforts and sacrifices to ensure the health and well-being of their animals.  Some of these people are elderly or disabled and their cat or dog means everything to them. Should wealth be the determinant of who gets to enjoy the profound benefits of animal companionship?  Most people would find such a restriction unfair and unworkable.

Nevertheless, VHS urges anyone considering adopting (please don’t buy!) an animal to remember that it is a considerable financial responsibility.  One option is to buy pet insurance, although it is not cheap.  Another option is to put aside a few dollars each month into an account kept specifically for vet bills – that way funds will be available for emergency vet care or an especially high bill.

VHS and other animal groups that help with emergency vet care will always do what we can but, ultimately, anyone giving a home to an animal must take personal responsibility for that animal.  Remember, their lives are in your hands.



animal welfare News/Blog Pet adoption

The debate over pet adoption

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The Vancouver Sun has a thoughtful article by animal behaviourist Rebecca Ledger, who discusses the ethics of purchasing animal companions versus adoption.

VHS believes that “Adopt, don’t buy” is the best policy, as we explained in this previous article in The Sun.

The BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed explains the many genetic health problems created by pedigree dog breeders.  These problems have been documented in scientific studies, such as this paper in the Canadian Veterinary Journal.