Artists, scientists, First Nations, animal protection and conservation groups urge province to end senseless killing of wildlife

Humane Society International / Canada

WildMedia/Alamy Stock

VICTORIA, Canada—A broad coalition of non-government organizations, scientists, environmentalists, eco-tourism operators and notable British Columbians, including Robert Bateman, have signed an open letter calling on the British Columbia government to end wildlife killing contests in the province once and for all. The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs has signed the open letter and also submitted a separate letter urging the BC government to end these contests.

Wildlife killing contests take place legally across British Columbia every year. During these contests, animals are killed to accumulate points towards winning cash and/or prizes. Animals commonly targeted in these contests include coyotes, wolves, bears, cougars, bobcats and raccoons. In 2019, a coalition led by non-governmental organizations called on the BC government to end wildlife killing contests, resulting in media backlash and public outcry against these contests. Unfortunately, in absence of the provincial government taking concrete actions to prohibit wildlife killing contests, they have merely been driven underground and out of the public eye.

Kelly Butler, the wildlife campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada, stated: “The science is clear, wildlife killing contests have no place in wildlife management. These contests exploit misunderstanding and fear surrounding species like wolves and coyotes and are a transparent means to kill animals for fun. We are calling on the government to take action to protect BC’s wildlife and join the growing number of jurisdictions that are prohibiting these cruel contests.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of UBCIC, stated: “Killing contests betray the general public into thinking that a problem is being solved, but the problem is not on the wildlife management, the real problem is the degradation of land, forests and waterways. Animals balance themselves in the proper conditions, and human intervention and industry has not allowed for that to occur. Instead, we blame one animal when the real ‘animal’ is us.”

Robert Bateman, Order of Canada, Order of British Columbia, renowned artist and naturalist, stated: “I am shocked that BC continues to allow wildlife killing contests. These cruel and unscientific events encourage and normalize needless animal suffering, and do not represent the values held by the overwhelming majority of British Columbians. Killing of superior members of a species degrades the gene pool.”

The concern relating to these contests extends beyond conservationists and environmentalists; several eco-tourism operators signed on to the open letter as well.

Eric Boyum, owner/operator of Ocean Adventures Charter Co., stated: “While the BC Ministry of Tourism’s partner Destination BC uses slogans like ‘BC, Where Nature is Nurtured’, nothing could be further from the truth. Allowing wildlife killing contests demonstrates a very real lack of care for sentient animals that are not only vital to the biodiversity of their ecosystems, but also vital to the image and integrity of tourism in BC. The cruelty exhibited by those that kill these beautiful animals for kicks, is something we should all be deeply concerned about and that we should all be committed to ending.”

Across the United States, a growing number of states are outlawing wildlife killing contests in order to protect wildlife and uphold the values of their citizens. Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington have now outlawed killing contests for coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other species, and several other states are considering similar action. In Canada, only Ontario has an applicable law prohibiting hunting for “gain or the expectation of gain.”

The open letter calls on the Ministry of Forests to prohibit wildlife killing contests and is signed by:

  • Adventuress Sea Kayaking
  • Animal Alliance of Canada
  • Animal Justice
  • Animal Protection Party of Canada
  • Animals Asia Foundation
  • BC Nature
  • Bears Matter
  • Clayoquot Action
  • Coyote Watch Canada
  • Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research
  • EXPOSED Wildlife Conservancy
  • Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee
  • Humane Society International/Canada
  • International Animal Rescue
  • John E. Marriott (Wildlife Photographer)
  • National Wolfwatcher Coalition
  • North Shore Black Bear Society
  • Ocean Adventures Charter Co.,
  • Ocean Light Adventures
  • Pacific Wild Alliance
  • Project Coyote
  • Robert Bateman (Artist)
  • Sierra Club BC
  • Spirit Bear Lodge
  • Susan Musgrave (Poet)
  • Takaya Legacy Project
  • The Fur-Bearers
  • The Kerulos Center for Nonviolence
  • The Union of BC Indian Chiefs
  • Tourists Against Trophy Hunting
  • Vancouver Humane Society
  • Wilderness Committee
  • Wolf Awareness
  • Zoocheck Inc.
  • Breder Law, Animal Lawyers
  • In Defense of Animals


Media Contact: Kelly Butler, wildlife campaign manager: 438-882-7238;

Sodexo Canada has created the new, 100% plant-based eatery in collaboration with HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program, as part of Sodexo’s plant-based pledge

Humane Society International / Canada

MONTREAL—On this World Vegan Day, Sodexo Canada and Humane Society International/Canada are excited to announce another milestone in their national collaboration: the launch of Verde, a 100% plant-based dining concept. The first ever Verde location has just opened at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and is being operated by Sodexo Canada.  

“Our new Verde offer is a game changer in the food service industry where Sodexo Canada continues to commit itself to the well-being of its students and the planet through an innovative plant-based, plant-forward concept,” said Martin Lapointe, senior vice president of operations for Sodexo Campus. 

“We’re very excited for the opportunity to grow our relationship with HSI by opening the first Verde location in Canada,” said Kyle Mason, senior manager culinary development for Sodexo Canada. “The increased demand for plant-based food has been dramatic over the past few years and HSI has supported us through this exciting transition. The training sessions have not only provided our chefs with the skills to add more plant-based items on their menu, but they’ve also become a networking opportunity where our chefs can connect and collaborate on ways to further increase the number of plant-based items on their menu.” 

The introduction of Verde is part of Sodexo’s nationwide commitment to transition 20% of its protein purchases across Canada to plant-based by Dec. 31, 2024—a pledge made in conjunction with HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program last year. Forward Food works with leaders in the food service industry to make plant-based options more widely available, meeting consumer demand for more ethical, sustainable and nutritious food choices.  

“We are overjoyed to see Verde come to life, making it easier for students and staff at Confederation College to enjoy plant-based meals,” said Riana Topan, senior campaign manager for HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program. “Working with Sodexo’s leadership on this initiative has been a dream and we are so proud of their progress to date in making more compassionate and environmentally friendly meals a bigger part of their menus.”  

Sodexo and HSI/Canada began collaborating in 2018, and since that time they have co-hosted a series of plant-based training sessions for the food service management company’s culinary staff. A star participant in those trainings was Chef Leanne English, Sodexo’s national director of culinary experience for campus and the creative culinary mind behind Verde.  

The concept’s initial offerings include dishes such as an avocado sushi bowl, black bean and sweet potato burrito, plant-based meatball sub and cheesy tofu scrambled toast. Chef English’s launch menu makes use of a wide variety of ingredients, from staples like chickpeas and quinoa, to dairy-free cheeses and a dark chocolate spread made from scratch. 

Sodexo plans to open other Verde locations in the future, continuing to elevate the company’s plant-based menu options at their higher education, corporate services and energy and resource accounts in Canada. HSI/Canada and Sodexo Canada will also co-host their ninth culinary training session this month, and Sodexo Canada’s sustainability manager, Davide Del Brocco, will participate in a webinar hosted by HSI/Canada at the end of November. 

The collaboration between Sodexo and Humane Society International spans across the globe, including in Singapore, Europe, United Kingdom and the United States. HSI commends Sodexo’s corporate social responsibility strategies that help people eat healthier, lighten their footprint on the environment and deliver on improved animal welfare standards across the food service industry. 


Media contacts:  

Stephanie Aubin, director of communications, Sodexo Canada, email: 

Riana Topan, senior campaign manager, HSI/Canada, cell: 438-882-7231, email: 

Humane Society International / Canada

Call to phase out the captivity of elephants and protect wildlife from roadside zoos in Canada

Humane Society International / Canada

Foxes on a fur farm
We Animals Media

MONTREAL—Kelly Butler, HSI/Canada wildlife campaign manager, issued the following statement, reacting to images released from a Québec fur farm investigation:

“We were deeply disturbed by the images appearing in the media of foxes and mink on fur farms in Québec. Such images underscore the urgent need for governments and the public to bring the cruel and outdated fur farming industry to an end.

“In fur farms, wild animals—primarily minks and foxes—are intensively confined in cramped, filthy cages, denied the most basic of their needs. These inhumane and overcrowded conditions may also promote the proliferation of zoonotic diseases including COVID-19. We are calling on the Québec Government to follow the lead of British Columbia in taking action to end fur farming within its borders. To date, over 20 countries have taken action to prohibit or severely restrict this cruel, high-risk and needless industry.”


Media contact: Kelly Butler, wildlife campaign manager:

Humane Society International / Canada

Give dogs from around the world a second chance at life in Canada

Humane Society International / Canada

Force-feeding of ducks and geese can lead to tragic injuries, illness and disease

Humane Society International / Canada

Animals die in these shameful attacks on wildlife so the contestants can win cash or prizes. B.C. must ban these contests now.

Fans can vote online to help Save Ralph win internet’s top honor

Humane Society International


WASHINGTON, DC—Humane Society International announced today that Save Ralph has been nominated for best Public Service & Activism video in the 26th Annual Webby Awards. Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet.

Save Ralph is a stop-motion animation short film produced in several languages by Humane Society International (HSI) in support of its global campaign to end cosmetic testing on animals. Written and directed by Spencer Susser and produced by Jeff Vespa in partnership with HSI and the Arch Model studio of puppet maker Andy Gent, the film features HSI’s campaign spokesbunny Ralph, as he goes through his daily routine as a “tester” in a lab. HSI’s #SaveRalph campaign tackles the disturbing issue of animal testing in an original and unexpected way—using the story of one bunny to shine a light on the plight of countless rabbits and other animals suffering in laboratories around the world, engaging viewers to help ban animal testing for cosmetics. The English-language film features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Taika Waititi as Ralph, along with Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff and Tricia Helfer. Save Ralph was also produced in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese, and subtitled in multiple other languages, to support HSI’s efforts to reach hearts and minds of consumers and lawmakers in Canada, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Southeast Asia and beyond.

“Nominees like Save Ralph are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, president of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 13,500 entries we received this year.”

“We are absolutely thrilled that Save Ralph is being recognized by the Webby Awards. This nomination provides a fantastic opportunity for Ralph to continue shining a global spotlight on the cruelty of cosmetic testing on animals to a new audience and the need to ban this practice around the world,” said Donna Gadomski, Save Ralph executive producer and HSI senior director of external affairs.

“Save Ralph has had a tremendous impact on Humane Society International’s efforts to end cosmetic testing on animals globally since its premiere last April,” said Troy Seidle, Save Ralph executive producer and HSI vice president of research and toxicology. “This film has motivated millions of people around the world to sign HSI’s petition to outlaw this cruel and obsolete practice, propelling Mexico to become the first North American country to ban cosmetic testing on animals, and is helping advance our legislative efforts in several other countries. We’re excited that the Webby recognition may help continue this momentum.”

As a nominee, Save Ralph is also eligible to win a Webby People’s Voice Award, which is voted online by fans across the globe. From now until April 21st, Save Ralph fans can cast their votes at Webby Awards People’s Voice .

Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, and honored in a star-studded show at Cipriani Wall Street. Winners will have an opportunity to deliver one of The Webby Awards’ famous 5-Word Speeches. Past 5-Word Speeches include: Steve Wilhite’s “It’s Pronounced “Jif” not ‘Gif’; NASA’s “Houston We Have A Webby”; and Solange’s “I Got Five On It.”


Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international coordinator in media relations:

Humane Society International/Canada emergency shelters in Ontario and Quebec will provide urgent care and rehabilitation

Humane Society International / Canada

Jean Chung/HSI

TORONTO – As the government in South Korea considers a ban on the dog meat industry, more than 100 lucky dogs who were rescued from the country’s dog meat farms last year will arrive in Canada to continue their journey to find forever homes.  

Many of the dogs were saved from a dog farm on Jindo Island by Humane Society International in partnership with local group LIFE. They were found confined in small, dilapidated wire cages in horrendous conditions, many of them forced to witness the brutal slaughter of cage mates. Conditions on the farm were so bad that local authorities responding to neighbour complaints about dogs crying in terror closed down the farm for breaching the Animal Protection Act. In November last year, the South Korean government initiated a task force to consider a ban on farming dogs for consumption, prompted by a suggestion from President Moon Jae-in.   

All the dogs coming to Canada were being bred for human consumption and most are Jindos, South Korea’s national dog breed. Due to flight restrictions, they were unable to leave South Korea at the time of rescue and so were cared for by HSI’s partner shelter. Now free to fly, the Jindo Island rescues together with dogs HSI saved from other farms, will arrive in Ontario over the next week and a half to receive much needed medical and behavioural care at HSI/Canada’s temporary shelter in Cambridge. While many of the dogs will later be transferred to a separate shelter in the United States to start their new life, around 40 dogs will travel to HSI/Canada’s Montreal facility to begin their search for adoptive families and finally put their traumatic past behind them.  

Ewa Demianowicz, senior campaign manager for HSI/Canada, said: “We are so thrilled to once again help our colleagues in South Korea end the cruel dog meat trade by welcoming these dogs who have been rescued from horrible dog meat farms at our emergency shelters. HSI/Canada will provide veterinary and behavioural care for these dogs and then our partner organisations will help find loving adoptive families for around 40 of them, while others will travel on to the United States to be cared for by our colleagues there. These dogs have endured tremendous suffering and our team is thrilled to be bringing them to safety and helping them recover from their physical and psychological trauma.”

At the Jindo Island farm, HSI/Korea was horrified to discover a large pile of collars in the central killing area of the farm where countless dogs will have been killed by electrocution and butchered for dog meat while their terrified cage mates looked on. Humane Society International/Korea, which has closed down 17 other dog meat farms in the country and rescued almost 2,500 dogs, is campaigning for legislation in South Korea to end the dog meat industry.   

Among the dogs coming to Canada is gentle Kaya, whose cage on the Jindo Island farm was positioned very close to the slaughter area. Despite the traumatic scenes she must have witnessed, Kaya was eager for human affection during her rescue, and loves being fussed over. Kaya’s tail doesn’t stop wagging, she’s always so happy to see people. Also flying to Canada is sweet Moose who is very calm and enjoys treats; energetic Max who was likely an abandoned pet; Sony who was depressed and emaciated at rescue but is now gaining weight and confidence; and other sweet natured Jindos such as Lucie-loo and Jenny-joo. 

As these dogs start new lives, HSI’s team in Seoul will continue to campaign for an end to the dog meat industry and is looking forward to assisting the government’s task force in its deliberations. Since 2015, HSI’s Models for Change program has seen the NGO work in co-operation with many dog farmers eager to leave the controversial and dying industry, helping them transition to more profitable and humane trades. Opinion polls show that most Koreans (84%) don’t or won’t eat dog meat, and there is growing public support (almost 60%) for a ban. Despite this, an estimated 1 to 2 million dogs are still kept on thousands of farms across South Korea. 

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, said: “I hope very much that for these dogs flying to Canada, the dog meat industry will soon be just a distant memory. They have experienced the worst of humanity, but now they will know what love and compassion feels like. Here in South Korea we are at a crossroads, with the government giving serious consideration to ending this cruel industry. The many years of experience that HSI’s pioneering dog farm closure program has to offer will hopefully take us one step closer to a future where no dog farms exist and all dogs can live happy lives.”

HSI’s farm closures were conducted under COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. A veterinarian tests for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”) at the time the dogs receive their rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza and Leptospira vaccines. The dogs are quarantined and health certified prior to transport overseas, in accordance with international export and import requirements. 

Download photos and video of this rescue.


Media Contact: Ewa Demianowicz: 514-575-3499, 

Landmark decision will protect public health and save hundreds of thousands of animals annually from a lifetime of misery

Humane Society International / Canada

Jillian Cooper/ Wild mink

MONTREAL—In the wake of multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 on BC fur farms—and a recent incident in which infectious mink escaped from a quarantined facility—the provincial government has announced a phase-out of mink farming by April 2023. In the past 18 months, hundreds of COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred on mink farms globally, with dangerous mutations of the virus occurring in some facilities and being transmitted back into the human population.

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada stated: “It is the abysmal conditions and horrendous suffering on factory fur farms that make these facilities incubators for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Mink farming is exceptionally cruel, intensively confining highly intelligent, semi-aquatic wild animals and denying them their most basic of needs. The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined our relationship with animals and our environment, calling into question many formerly accepted practices. In protecting both people and mink, the BC government has shown tremendous leadership and set an important example for the rest of the nation to follow.”

Mink on almost 450 mink fur farms across 12 countries (including 10 EU member states) have been found infected with COVID-19, leading to mass culls of millions of minks. British Columbia is the latest member of a growing list of nations and territories— including the UK, Luxembourg, Slovakia and the Netherlands—that have taken decisive action to stop fur farming within their jurisdiction due to serious public health and animal welfare concerns.


  • The BC provincial health officer identified mink farming as a “health hazard” that “endangers public health,” noting that “the susceptibility of mink to infection with SARS-CoV-2 creates a risk of development of variants of concern which pose a threat to public health and could undermine the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccination program in British Columbia.”[1]
  • Mink escape into the wild from fur factory farms at notoriously high rates. In 2020 (the last year for which data is available), over 23,000 mink died prematurely or escaped from BC fur farms.
  • Escaped, infected mink are capable of transmitting COVID-19 to wild mink, and likely to other susceptible species of wildlife, which can establish disease reservoirs in the wild, risking further virus mutation and potentially catastrophic spillover events.
  • Fur farming has been banned and/or is in the process of being phased-out in numerous European nations such as Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland’s cabinet has approved legislation that would see fur farming banned effective from 2022; and legislation to ban mink farming is currently being debated by politicians in France, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain and Ukraine.



Media Contact: Michael Bernard: 613-371-5170;

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