Friday, May 30, 2014

Feeding the World? More Like Devouring the Planet.

A recent National Geographic Magazine features food, and feeding the predicted 9 billion people that are expected to be on planet Earth for 2050.

While lacking in conviction, Jonathan Foley does suggest eating less meat and animal products. Like the majority of writers wishing to remain popular, he doesn't push for eliminating what is a cruel, unnecessary and inefficient choice for food. It would be helpful for him to remind us that no human needs to consume animal products; and this message would go a long way to helping feed people, reduce greenhouse emissions and ecological destruction, and curb exploitative attitudes.

Here is an important and revealing graphic from the article; it's an impactful revelation of what we're doing to the planet with livestock:

From National Geographic.
According to this, 46.5% of the world's land remains undeveloped - a bit reassuring as I expected a much smaller percentage. This means the other 53.5% of all land on the planet has been developed - meaning people have altered the landscape for various purposes.

By and far, most land on Earth is utilized by agriculture. A staggering 38.6% of all land on the planet is devoted to raising livestock and growing crops. Most of it is for livestock. Foley puts it this way: "an area roughly the size of Africa" is how much land livestock occupies (and the area of South America for all crops.)

Just think about that a moment - if we were to raise all livestock in one place, it would fill up Africa. And a lot of the cropland is also used to feed livestock, increasing their total footprint.

Clearly, the solution to our problem is not more livestock. We just don't have the space for it.

Some might ask: is organic livestock a better option? Almost no one dares to breach this uncomfortable topic, but one of the 'perks' claimed by organic animal agribusiness is these animals are given significantly more space.

Given what we've just learned, space is one thing we don't have to spare. Organic practices demand even more land, further shrinking remaining habitat for wild species. It becomes a battle between livestock, and wild animals. I shudder to think how little space would be left were organic livestock practices to increase significantly.

Here's another related graphic, courtesy of XKCD:


This is the mass of all land mammals on the planet. Humans are the dark blocks in the middle, livestock (cows, pigs, sheep) and pets are light grey, and a total of 35 of remaining blocks are wild mammals.

Once again, a tiny percentage of mammals (the green blocks) on land are wild. If you were to put all our goats on one side of a giant scale, and *every wild mammal* on the other side, goats would tip the scale.

What about hunting for meat? For me, this really puts into perspective the claim 'things would be better if everyone hunted!' If a majority of people switched to hunting, I expect nearly every remaining mammal would be killed in less than a week. (Where do we go from there?)

We really need to consider the the effects of livestock, and how we're going to feed imminent generations without ruining more of the planet.

No matter how you look at it, we need to change how we eat.

A couple more relative facts from the Nat Geo piece:
  • "Only 55 percent of food-crop calories directly nourish people. Meat, dairy, and eggs from animals raised on feed supply another 4 percent."
  • "For every 100 calories of grain we feed animals, we get only about 40 new calories of milk, 22 calories of eggs, 12 of chicken, 10 of pork, or 3 of beef."
Be the change we need: go vegan, and get your family and friends to switch!

Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Twitter: @Victoria_Vegan & @VeganCyclist (personal)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Media Release & Action: Accident Renews Call for Horse Carriage Ban

Credit: CHEK News footage.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Accident Renews Call for Horse Carriage Ban

Victoria, BC - May 23, 2014 - After confirmed reports of a carriage horse throwing and injuring its driver and colliding with two cars and a motorcycle this evening, local activist group Carriage-Free Victoria is renewing their call on council to ban this industry.

Victoria-based animal activist Dave Shishkoff has been campaigning against Victoria’s horse carriage trade for over 8 years. He believes horse drawn carriages are cruel, out-dated and dangerous. “Tonight was extremely unfortunate, but it also was 100% preventable. With tourist season fast approaching, traffic levels are only going to increase. City council needs to take immediate action and pass a bylaw to prohibit horse-drawn carriages.”

Over the next few weeks, Shishkoff vows to expand his campaign to ban the horse drawn carriages in Victoria. “Social media, protests and filling City Council’s mailboxes with signed postcards from residents urging council to ban the horses will be priority number one. There are clearly safer and more humane ways to entertain tourists in our city”, Shishkoff adds. Over 500 post cards have already been sent to City Hall.

Currently there are only two horse-drawn carriage companies that operate in the City of Victoria, after a third was shuttered last year for not paying taxes.


-30-

Action: WRITE CITY HALL IMMEDIATELY!

Demand they take steps to ban the carriages before even more people or horses are hurt. Some suggested talking points:
  • It's an outdated and cruel industry.
  • It's hard on horses: walking all day on hard concrete is harmful for their bodies, as is breathing in traffic fumes, and the traffic is an obvious danger.
  • Too many accidents already have happened, and there's no system in place requiring accident reports, meaning the only accidents we hear about are the ones the media reports on.
  • Traffic downtown will only intensify as the tourist season progresses, increasing the potential danger of these incidents.
  • New York City is about to ban their carriages, and Victoria needs to follow suit.

Carriage-Free Victoria on Facebook: Facebook.com/BanVictoriaCarriages

Finally, remind them that there is an election this November, and you expect to see them address this issue as well.

Send your emails to:

mayor@victoria.ca;
ccoleman@victoria.ca;
sgudgeon@victoria.ca;
lhelps@victoria.ca;
bisitt@victoria.ca;
pmadoff@victoria.ca;
cthornton-joe@victoria.ca;
gyoung@victoria.ca;
malto@victoria.ca;

Credit: CHEK News
MEDIA COVERAGE (Check back for updates.)
Thank you for helping make Victoria a carriage-free city,

Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Twitter: @Victoria_Vegan & @VeganCyclist (personal)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Catching Up: Victoria Screening of The Ghosts in Our Machine

Back on April 23rd, I participated in the Open Cinema 'Connecting The Docs' feature screening of Canadian documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine, which tracks photographer Jo-Anne McArthur as she investigates a fur farm, livestock farms, and animal laboratories and the animals used in these exploitative industries.

The event itself had a big social media tie-in, and our volunteers Mike N and Diana H were representing us (the Victoria Vegan Fest and The Victoria Vegan) on Facebook and Twitter respectively. I was also active on social media during showing, and joined the discussion panel afterwards along with Lesley Fox of the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, and Maneesha Deckha, UVic Associate Professor, Faculty of Law.

It was a great experience, lots of people I haven't met before attended the film and participated in the discussion afterwards, discussing issues from the film as well as Canadian and local animal issues.

Check out their Storify archive of the event, featuring video, photos and tweets.

Here is the trailer to The Ghosts in Our Machine:



And here is the video to the post-film discussion:



A big thank-you to Mandy and Open Cinema for having us, and we hope to see more animal films in the future!

Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Twitter: @Victoria_Vegan & @VeganCyclist (personal)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Catching Up: Living With Beavers, Tree-Wrapping with APFA

On Thursday, May 1st, I joined Adrian Nelson from the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals (APFA) on a trip to a rural Langley residence that was getting visits from beavers.


You can see in the photo above this beaver's been busy! He'd already munched on a few trees before. Instead of trapping the beavers, the homeowner looked into coexistence options, and found APFA. A few weeks earlier, on his initial visit and consultation, Adrian wrapped what was remaining of this tree and set a future date to complete the work on the yard.

Returning on this sunny, spring day, there were a few dozen more trees along the stream which we also 'wrapped'. You may have already read our previous posting on beavers when we joined APFA in building a beaver deceiver on the Sunshine Coast last summer. Flooding wasn't an issue in this case; Adrian determined this beaver is just looking for a snack.

Tree wrapping is another simple but elegant solution to competing interests. It's not more than trimmed wire fencing and zip ties, preventing beavers from chewing select trees.


Above is another tree our furry buddy chose on the opposite side of the stream, and behind are a couple freshly-wrapped trees. Each tree takes 3 - 10 minutes to wrap, and we quickly took care of a couple dozen in a few hours. It's encouraging there are easy and effective options like this available.


Trees closer to the water were prioritized. It's interesting to note there was no discernable pattern to which trees the beaver chose - he went for different species, and in one case travelled over 100 meters from the stream to get at a tree (passing many others, which appeared equally delectable to us!)


Above is Adrian taking care of a cedar a bit further up from the stream.

If you've got beavers visiting your property, rather than trapping and killing them (relocation in BC is often not an option, and nearly always harmful to the animal and their families and communities), be encouraged and aware that we have options like this, making living with wildlife and peaceful coexistence a cinch. Contact APFA if you've got issues with beavers or other wildlife, and let's continue making the world more livable for all.

Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Twitter: @Victoria_Vegan & @VeganCyclist (personal)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Oak Bay & CRD Deer Updates

A few days ago, the Oak Bay News published a letter from Nils Jensen & the Oak Bay Council on the deer. (Original PDF can be found here, a bit better formatting, from the City of Oak Bay website.)

It's great they're increasing feeding fines and allowing taller fences (there was a 6' height restriction, which is insufficient from keeping our bounding buddies out.) And they're mirroring our efforts by sending out two new CRD deer leaflets (which we link to on our Greater Victoria Deer Advocates site) in this week's Oak Bay News. Education is key to this issue.

An excerpt from our
Living With Deer booklet.
In the letter, Mayor Jensen writes "[in] the absence of any natural predation, the deer population has increased dramatically, and as a consequence, so are the incidents of deer/human conflict on the rise." While we know there is a raise in conflict, it's inaccurate and contentious to insist the "population has increased dramatically". We really don't know what the population is, as there have been no counts performed - either recently, or in the past. Mayor Jensen is pushing his confirmation bias, which doesn't progress situations like this.

For example, as people talk about deer more and more, and we see them highlighted in the media, you start to notice them more, and leaves more of an impression. Their population may or may not be increasing, but attention to them most certainly does.

Pick a number between 10 and 50. Now watch for it. Suddenly you're seeing it *everywhere*. It's on road signs. You're seeing it whenever you look at the clock. It's appearing on household addresses and phone numbers. Is that number really 'more popular' and on the increase, or are you just paying more attention to it?

Normally we don't see ants much. However, if you stop and look at the ground outside, you'll suddenly spot one. Then more. Then realize the ground is crawling with them. Are there more ants, now that you're watching for them? Or were they always there?

This is a type of confirmation bias, and the Mayor is perpetuating his own bias, but no real facts.

Excerpt from CRD
Deer Management
Strategy map.
The increase in deer collisions very well could be for other reasons. We know for a fact that nearly all deer being hit are on Cadboro Bay Road across from the Uplands Golf Course. (Mayor Jensen insists deer collisions occur in other areas, and has promised a map, but this has yet to materialize.) Perhaps someone in the area has been feeding deer, drawing them to that area. Perhaps there are disturbances (like construction) in other areas, influencing their movements to this area of Oak Bay. Maybe people are speeding more, and using less care. There are a number of reasons beyond population increase that could influence collision rates.

Speaking of Cadboro Bay Road, we've been criticising Mayor and Council for not dealing with the speeding on this stretch, which is the #1 spot for collisions, according to the CRD. Thankfully, this has changed.

We have reports that a number of people have been pulled over and ticketed on this stretch. Speeders have been caught exceeding 70kph, and apparently even a motorcycle travelling at 90kph. Is it any wonder that accidents are occurring here? The 50kph speed limit is already much too generous for the conditions, and our own testing shows that people speed here regularly.

We purchased our own speed radar,
and found people speeding along this stretch.
They've also set up counters, which count the number of cars and their speed, so we can see that they're starting to take this section seriously (although we've been pointing this out since December, and is painfully obvious with the CRD map.)

Mayor Jensen insists that safety is his number one concern, so reducing collisions should be at the top of that list. This is easily accomplished given what we already know, by dealing with this stretch of Cadboro Bay Road. We've been demonstrating on this section, reminding drivers this section is active with deer, and to slow down, and it's good to see Oak Bay taking steps in this direction as well. An easy install would be a flashing speed sign for this stretch.

On another note of interest, the Oak Bay City Hall website has been updated, and they state "while deer have inhabited Oak Bay for centuries[..]" - which I've personally had Oak Bay resident hollering at me over, claiming that deer have only been here recently; only for the last 20 years. Despite biologists insisting that deer have been here millenium longer than humans, and that other Oak Bay residents insist on seeing deer for decades, these people continue to yell that deer are new and don't belong here. I hope they read this and reconsider their argument.

Mayor Jensen concludes the letter with "[t]he burgeoning population of deer in our community means there will be more deer on our roads, so please take particular care when driving."

He's right that we need to take care when driving, but the only burgeoning population in Oak Bay is the human population. Remember: it's much easier to manage our own behaviours, and if we're sincere about safety, we'll act accordingly.

For more on the Oak Bay and CRD deer issue (including links to the two new CRD brochures), visit the Greater Victoria Deer Advocates information page, and join our Facebook discussion group.

Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Twitter: @Victoria_Vegan & @VeganCyclist (personal)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

5th Annual World Wide Vegan Bake Sale Day

Saturday, April 26th was the 5th year we've participated in the World Wide Vegan Bake Sale Day event, which is a grass roots international initiative encouraging vegan bake sales around the world to raise funds for vegan and animal activism.

The Victoria Vegan Fest was our fundraiser target once again, and if you're not familiar it's a big celebration and promotion of the vegan lifestyle coming up on Canada Day (July 1st) in Market Square (downtown Victoria)! This year's venue was Green Cuisine once again, and we're very fortunate and grateful to have their support. We had many contributors donate over 20 different sweets; a wide variety of goodies for just about any taste!

We had the standards like cupcakes and brownies, a wide selection of cookies and other goodies, and some surprises like toffees, caramels, and vanilla rooibos fig newtons (which were quite possibly the author's top choice!) All were vegan, and nearly half were gluten-free as well.

Goodies with gluten.

Goodies without gluten.
We nudged ahead of last year's bake sale, raising about $570. Thanks to all who came and filled their bellies with goodies, let us know what your favourites were in the comments section!

A HUGE thank-you to all our superstar bakers: Cadence, Colleen, Corie, Cristina, Diana, Hayley, Jordan, Kiley and her mom, Krista, Michelle, Paulina & Mike, Sandra and Tlell! You were all critical in this, and we really appreciate all your delicious and inspired contributions!! Also, another thank-you to Green Cuisine for lending us their space, it's a big ask given they've got their own baked goods to sell! Thank you for being such a big supporter of the Victoria Vegan Fest!

We also got some media coverage, check out this Chek News video.

We'll likely organize another event or two for the Vegan Fest, watch this space or the VVF site, or join our email announcement list to make sure you don't miss a thing!

There's a lot of yum going on!
Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Twitter: @Victoria_Vegan & @VeganCyclist (personal)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bryan Adams: Killing Seals Wrong, but Rodeo Okay?

Hello readers!

Earlier today I spotted this tweet from Lori, an article on Bryan Adams, who's sometimes described as vegan, playing at the Calgary Stampede.


Disappointing to say the least, the rodeo is a monstrous event, torturing hundreds of animals for the entertainment of others. Not only is this a rodeo, but it's some kind of burger event.

Oddly, Adams is also in the news about his upcoming show in Newfoundland, who are calling him a hypocrite for playing there while they're out on the ice slaughtering seals. (Although it'd be fine if it was another time of the year?) To this, Adams is quoted as saying:
Last time I checked, it was OK in this country to have an opinion on what goes on in the world.
Either way, I’m coming to Newfoundland for my fans and to play music, not to get drawn into a debate with the seal killing industry.
However, for the record, I’m a veggie and against the deliberate killing of ALL animals, not just seals, so for those people that want to protest about my coming to play a gig, make sure to get all the chicken farmers, cow farmers and fishermen to march in unity at my presence.
Those are strong words we vegans can get behind...maybe it's not too late for him to back out of this show?

Here are some contact options:

Contact form on his website: http://www.bryanadams.com/index.php?target=contact (Also note several email addresses and phone numbers.)

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bryanadams

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bryanadamsofficial

Fingers crossed things change, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Twitter: @Victoria_Vegan & @VeganCyclist (personal)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Update on The Victoria Vegan

Greetings readers,

Just a quick update that I'm no longer with Friends of Animals, and this blog and website are currently an independent project. Hopefully we'll continue with the projects we're running, like the Greater Victoria Deer Advocates group and Carriage-Free Victoria.

Let us know if you have any inspirations for activism! In the meantime, we'll still be putting on the Victoria Vegan Fest (and a bake sale this Saturday, Apr 26th) which should have a third amazing year!

Eat your veggies,

Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Twitter: @Victoria_Vegan & @VeganCyclist (personal)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Oak Bay Deer Booklet Distribution!


UPDATE: 2nd distribution session on Saturday, March 1st from 12-4pm - come to our table in front of Oak Bay City Hall to get booklets, and select your neighborhood for dropping booklets in mailboxes - we need bodies to complete this project!

NEW FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE:

Photos: from our first session in February, where our volunteers gave out 2,500 booklets to north Oak Bay: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.499395750170047&type=1

Media coverage from first session:



This Saturday & Sunday (Feb 8th & 9th), we'll be distributing the 5,000 Living With Deer booklets we've just had printed!

We'll have maps, and you can pick a neighborhood in Oak Bay, or get assigned one, and help ensure every home has one! It'll be a fun wander around the streets, bring your family and dogs! This will go a long way to helping people understand how we can coexist with deer, and prevent the proposed deer slaughter.

Our meeting locations each day will be:

* Saturday, 1-4pm, meet on Cadboro Bay Rd north of Lansdowne (note: corrected)
* Sunday, 1-4pm, meet at Oak Bay City Hall

We'll be distributing around 'north' Oak Bay neighborhoods on Saturday, and the southern half on Sunday.

Please dress for the weather and bring water and snacks, and post below if you have any questions, or email Dave: dave@friendsofanimals.org

Thanks so much for helping; we can stop the deer kill, and education is the first step!

UPDATE: Media release (PDF, 101kb)

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

Friday, January 31, 2014

Oak Bay: Are Deer the Problem, or is it Speeding?

On Thursday, January 30th, an elderly man was struck by a vehicle at a crosswalk on Cadboro Bay Rd in Oak Bay, according to this Times Colonist news story.

Friends of Animals has been targeting Cadboro Bay Rd for speeding and dangerous driving, but on behalf of deer. According to the CRD Regional Deer Management Strategy collision map, nearly all Oak Bay accidents with deer occur on Cadboro Bay Rd across from the Uplands golf course. We’ve even held a demonstration on the road, encouraging people to slow down, and speeding was still evident.

While this accident occurred a few blocks south of the main ‘Deer Accident’ corridor, it’s still indicative of attitudes on this stretch of road – that speeding is somehow okay. This needs to be addressed, for the safety of people and deer. Furthermore, there needs to be more lighting.

Something needs to be done about this stretch of road, and we’ll continue to demonstrate here – if you’d like to get updates on our activities, please join our email list.

Also, visit our Greater Victoria Deer Advocates page, with a digital copy of our new Living With Deer booklet, to be distributed to Oak Bay households in early February.

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oak Bay: Slow Down for Deer!

On Friday, December 20th, from 4-5pm, seven other deer activists joined me on Cadboro Bay Road across from the Uplands Golf Course on a frigid, rainy night holding bright signs to persuade drivers to slow down. Our media release can be read here.

This section of road is the #1 site for deer fatalities in Oak Bay, according to the CRD Deer Management Strategy Map (see graphic to the right).

It's no coincidence, given the factors that make up this stretch: it's the only road in Oak Bay with a 50kph speed limit (and many speed here.) The road is poorly lit, and trees along the west side of the road make it hard to see if there are deer, and they can easily step out on the road and get hit.

You can see on the map there are almost no other areas that accidents have occurred. This is why we targeted this area: this is solvable.

We definitely had an impact - most cars slowed when they spotted us. Several drove by dangerously, clearly above the marked speed limit. It would be helpful if Oak Bay Council installed flashing speed signs in this spot, to remind drivers that they need to obey speed limits.

Much needs to be done, and it is achievable and could significantly reduce accidents. Lighting can be improved, speeds can be controlled, which would have the most impact. A full fence will be unpopular with the Uplands Golf Course, but other solutions exist: there could be more shrubs grown, motion-sensor lights and radios could be installed, and roadside reflector technology which lights up the road when a car passes could also be helpful in keeping deer away from the trees and road.

Come on, Oak Bay - let's do it!

Media:




Thanks to our volunteers for braving the elements!

If you're on Facebook, join our Greater Victoria Deer Advocates group, otherwise sign-up to our email list to get updates on deer and more.

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

Monday, November 18, 2013

ACTION NEEDED: 25 Deer Sentenced to Death in Oak Bay – Write City Hall Now!

A deer spotted on Richardson Street.
Oak Bay City Hall has announced that they’re planning to exterminate 25 deer over the next year (see Times Colonist article here). Killing animals is a brutal and barbaric decision, and is rarely effective in reducing their numbers long-term. Nature is resilient, and often even more animals return due to the upset of their settlement – “nature abhors a vacuum”. The same elements that are attracting deer now remain, and will only continue to draw in more deer.

Additionally, this thinking only institutes a costly and never-ending bloodbath. What happens in 2015? Another deer kill at $12,500? And the year after – another $12,500? How many years along do we overspend the amount it would take to make happy the few who complain? If the money were invested in deer-proofing their yards instead, we could all get along.

There are ways to resolve the problems people have without killing, and we must look into these options – deer deserve our respect, not captive bolt-gun shots to the head.

ACTION: PLEASE WRITE OAK BAY MAYOR NILS JENSEN AND CITY COUNCIL, AND TELL THEM KILLING DEER IS UNACCEPTABLE, AND THAT BETTER OPTIONS EXIST.

Deer snacking in the Ross Bay Cemetery.
You can write to:
Oak Bay Municipal Hall
2167 Oak Bay Ave
Victoria, BC V8R 1G2
Fax: (250) 598-9108

Or email:
oakbaymayor@oakbay.ca
obcouncil@oakbay.ca

In addition to the points described above, some topics to consider including in your letter:
  • There is a bylaw against feeding wildlife, but it is poorly enforced. Between 2007 & 2012 there were only 5 tickets issued. Plenty of people grow plants that attract deer, and are breaking the bylaw, yet Oak Bay does nothing about it.
  • The number 25 is totally arbitrary, no one knows what kind of impact this will have and is literally a shot in the dark.
  • The total cost of the project is $12,500 or $500/deer. If they’re planning to implement this over 10 years, that’s $125,000. This money could be used to help people who are having problems instead.
  • We need to change our own behavior. Managing deer is near-impossible. We have total control over ourselves, and can grow plants that deer are less interested in. We can adapt our behaviours in other ways that would allow for co-existence with deer.
  • Deer were here first – we’re filling up and denying them what was originally their space. Deer belong here, and that is the attitude we must adopt.
Thank-you for speaking up for deer, and please share this action - let’s work together to find a peaceful solution!

A deer visiting a Fairfield home.
Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Save-A-Turkey Trot 2013


Last Saturday, October 5th was the 4th Annual Save-A-Turkey Trot! It's a fun 5k walk/trot/run along the scenic, seaside trails at Clover Point.

It was a cool, slightly overcast day, and a record number of Trotters gathered around the Purica tent to sign up and help us celebrate and promote an animal-friendly Thanksgiving. This year we welcomed 60 people, including 25 runners!


We have lots of great vegan literature to give out, online you can check out our Vegan Starter Guide, and our Thanksgiving: A Celebration For All leaflet. Also at the table was helpful info from some of our our event sponsors:


Shortly after 11am, we sent out the walkers and their dogs, and at about 11:20, the runners were off!



The course was marked with chalk, and we once again set out our distance markers, with facts about turkeys:


It turned out to be a perfect day! While everyone was out, we set out the draw-prizes. As we do for all OrganicAthlete Victoria events, we distributed nearly all the prizes through the draw - all names go into a hat, and when we draw a name, they simply get to choose which prize they want - and we aim to ensure everyone walks off with something! In addition, Purica offered a sample pack of their Cordyceps and Vega sent us packs of Pre-Workout Energizer as samples to give to the first 40 people to sign up - bonus!


The table was PACKED with an amazing number of prizes, valued over $1000! (Click here for the detailed list.)

We had barely set things out when the runners started to return! Darren Tannas was back first, covering the 5k in a blistering 17 minutes and 56 seconds! The sixth runner to appear was Leah Stott, in 20'21, our fastest female for the day.

There was an extra contest for the runners, our 'Are You Faster Than A Vegan' challenge! We had two OA representatives, Nick Patenaude and Sandra Hardy, out to set the bar. Any who beat them would win an Edge Food Energy Bar - so an extra congrats to Darren, Ryan Heffernan, Glenn Jasechko and Leah for keeping ahead of our team members and taking home an extra prize, and being our speediest runners!


Here are the full results:
Runners - Male
Darren Tannas 17'56
Ryan Heffernan 18'21
Glenn Jasechko 18'28
Nick Patenaude 18'29
Brent Hall 19'51
Ibraham Vanjgel-Shedid 22'15
Jesse Crawford 24'21
Karsten Provan 24'38
Magnus McElroy 25'01
Graeme Stewart 26'13
Phil Cottrell 27'08
Eric Hallman 34'38
Bruce Hardy 36'03
Runners - Female
Leah Stott 20'21
Sandra Hardy 21'38
Anika Sander 25'40
Chris Cox 26'06
Line Marie St Jacques 27'08
Sarah Kwak 27'34
Missy Morrison 29'17
Stephanie Lockett 31'59
Cynthia Barker 33'40
Jess Moreland 34'38
Laura Hardy 36'03
Elaine Taylor 36'23
Trotters: Veronica Patenaude, Toryn Patenaude, Kieran Patenaude, Chris Beese, Sarah Beese, Brenda Macevicius, Celeste Macevicius, Daniel Pfeifer, Marg Rothery, Linnea Comolli, Melanie Hudson, Dana Quantz, Maria Fedrigo, Christine Lee, Jade Carter, Nina Carter, Kayle Cheeke, Zareef Houston, Marni Springer, Simon Springer, Soli Springer, Oden Springer, Laura Taves, Adam Pilling, Scott Beck, Haley Lonsdale, Linda Copping, Dee Dee Winger, Dell McLean, Kathleen Garvi, Jacqueline Eluic, Karen Hartley, Rob Kreiser and Colleen Northmark - thank you all for attending!!


We'll be back next October for the 5th Annual Save-A-Turkey Trot, and will likely have a similar event in the Spring; join our email list to get updates on this, and other Friends of Animals activities! Also check out our local website: The Victoria Vegan.

If you'd like to get involved with OrganicAthlete Victoria, visit our website for more info on joining our team (mainly runners, cyclists and triathletes), and getting discounts on Vega, Purica and The Edge Food Energy Bar products!

Thanks to all who helped with set-up and take-down, and especially the lovely Lesley Fox for support. Much gratitude is also owed to our event sponsors, who donated prizes and helped promote the event:
  • Purica - from Duncan, lots of great recovery and health products (plus they loaned us their tent once again!)
  • Vega - from the mainland, lots of great nutritional supplements, including athletes
  • Vegan Essentials - an amazing US-based online vegan emporium
  • Saanichton Physio - the excellent Sandra Hardy has the distinction of being one of the few vegan physios in Victoria
  • APFA - The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, based out of Vancouver, speaking up for wildlife
  • Pure Lovin' Chocolate - a local purveyor of organic, fair-trade and vegan goodies
  • Green Cuisine - our favorite vegan restaurant, and long-time title sponsor of the OA Victoria team!
  • Equinox Health Clinic - one of the top sports massage clinics on the island!
  • Victoria Vegan Fest - our annual vegan celebration!!
  • Oak Bay Bikes - the best bike shop in town
  • Benjamin's Bites - Victoria-made vegan, gluten-free cookies, check out the double-chocolate chip!
  • The Edge Food Energy - from Qualicum Beach, vegan and organic bars in compostable packaging
  • Field Roast - from Seattle, some of the best meat alternatives out there!

Here's a fun post-event interview with The Raging Kucing about the event as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIwdKaVqwhc

Once more, thanks to all participants and supporters, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fundraiser for New Anti-Carriage Postcard Campaign


We're excited to launch a new campaign to ban the horse-drawn carriages in Victoria!

Our new postcard is targeted at City Hall, and asks Mayor Fortin and City Council to ban the horse-drawn carriages. City bylaws have a ban on all animal acts in Victoria, but there are exemptions for dogs and horses. We're asking City Council to update this, and remove horses from the exemption.

Life in the city is neither decent nor safe for horses, who when released, should reside in sanctuaries. Please help educate City Council – pressing them to end this antiquated commercial industry.

We hope to raise $400 with our Fundrazr effort to cover costs for printing postcards, other promotional materials and postage.

You can view a PDF of our postcard: http://thevictoriavegan.com/foa/files/foa-hdc-postcard-1.pdf

NEW! Our poster, to promote the cards, is here: http://thevictoriavegan.com/foa/files/foa-hdc-postcard-poster.pdf

Information on our carriage campaign, including our new FAQ leaflet is available here: http://thevictoriavegan.com/foa/

Your donation is appreciated, even if it's just $2 or $5 - any amount helps us print up more cards! Click here to support our Carriage-Free Victoria page: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/9aUC1

Finally, if you'd like some of our postcards to distribute in your area, please contact us, and we'll get some of our new cards to you!

Thanks kindly,

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Saving Beavers on the Sunshine Coast!

These last two Wednesdays I had the pleasure to join the Fur Bearer Defenders crew in going to the Sunshine Coast to help build and install a few 'beaver flow devices' (see Wikipedia entry and description here.)

It's a pretty neat concept: instead of tearing down the beaver dam, or trapping and killing the resident beavers when a dam becomes an inconvenience for humans, flow devices can be installed which maintain the water levels of their ponds, and barely disrupts the beaver family.

There are a number of designs and ways to install these devices. In this instance a culvert had been blocked decades ago by sediment build-up (and a pretty impressive amount, as we discovered! About half a meter deep, and a couple meters out from the end of the culvert!)

The device prevents culverts from being re-blocked, so water can continue to drain. It's a pretty simple solution that costs very little, but has been very effective in numerous areas in allowing us to live peacefully with beavers with minimal disruption to either.

Check out our two galleries below, and contact the Fur Bearers if you'd be interested in installing one of these in your community!



Direct link to Gallery #1.


Direct link to Gallery #2.

UPDATE: Story on the build in the Coast Reporter: http://www.coastreporter.net/article/20130819/SECHELT0101/308199998/-1/sechelt/volunteer-help-saves-beavers-and-highway

Second story: http://www.martinezbeavers.org/wordpress/2013/08/20/did-you-know-the-cavalry-is-in-vancouver/

Dave Shishkoff

Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Action: Letters Needed for Oak Bay Deer

Action: Letters Needed for Oak Bay Deer

Monday’s Province features a story covering a collision between a cyclist and a deer (see http://www.theprovince.com/life/Urban+deer+population+causes+Victoria+politicians+animal+rights/8714670/story.html ). Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen expects their community deer kill plan to work in deterring other deer from entering Oak Bay. One simply needs to ask if the deer even realize there’s a danger? How can others possibly know when one is trapped and killed with a bolt gun? It’s foolish and short-sighted. Killing deer and other steps like hazing and contraception will ultimately fail to reduce numbers. Deer will simply move to other areas, returning when ‘safe’.

Many people are excited and enjoy seeing deer, and this should be considered by decision-makers as well. But if we’re collectively unwilling to adapt our lives to living with deer, then we need to take steps in eliminating what attracts them: the veritable buffet we’re offering with careless growing of plants and easily accessed gardens - it's literally candy for deer. Nearly all wildlife ‘issues’ are due to humans providing food. It’s no different from bears to skunks to deer. So long as we’re giving them something to fill their bellies, more will always return. As we eliminate food sources, deer numbers will reduce.

Please take a minute to write the Honourable Stephen Thomson, Forestry Minister, who has the final say on deer kills in BC, and let him know that killing deer in Oak Bay (and elsewhere) is an unacceptable option for you. Instead of managing deer we need to act responsibly and manage our own behaviours. And if having deer in your neighbourhood is something special, be sure to highlight this fact: no doubt they get complaints, but let’s send compliments as well.

Thank-you for speaking up for deer, here is Minister Stephen Thomson’s contact info:
Email
FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Post
PO BOX 9049
STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA, BC
V8W 9E2
Telephone: 250 387-6240
Fax: 250 387-1040

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

Monday, March 25, 2013

Event Report: Save Our Seals Sprint

It was a grey, cool day, one I'm sure seals could appreciate for the 'Save Our Seals Sprint' 5km fun walk/run, co-organized by Friends of Animals and OrganicAthlete Victoria.

The event is modeled slightly after a 'zombie run', where runners are 'humans', and out on the course are 'zombies'. In this case, our runners are seals, and out on the course we had a couple seal 'clubbers', who would chase and harass the seals as they were out for a 5 kilometer 'swim' around the scenic paths along Dallas Road to raise awareness about the awful seal slaughter on the East Coast that occurs this time of the year each year.

We had 7 walkers (thanks for coming out Steph, Sara, Kelly, Donald, Todd, Dee Dee and Linda), and 10 runners (listed below in the results). There were also at least five dogs out as well! Each participant also received a 'Save Our Seals' event headband:



The runners line up!
Just after 11am we sent the walkers off, and kept the runners back until 11:15 (so all would arrive much closer to the same time for the draw prizes.)

Out on the course were volunteers Al and Jason, who would chase and yell at the seals, holding signs like 'WEAR SEAL FUR' and 'WE HATE SEALS'. They were piloting the SS Harper and SS Hakapik.

Here comes Callym, he was 10 and the fastest runner!
It was also his birthday!

Some of the seals fought back, here's Lysanne, Dianne and Mirth.

Oscar and Chris dodge the grumpy clubbers!
Back at the table, I actually had people stopping by, to let me know that there were 'protesters' out there, yelling at our runners - hilarious!


The walkers also carried signs, and were often stopped along the course to talk to other walkers about seals.


We also had 9 'course marker' signs along the route, with facts about the seal slaughter.

Our runner finishing times are:
Callym - 28:52 (10yrs old!)
Tamara - 29:27 (Callym's mom)
Lysanne - 30:03
Diane - 30:03
Maria - 35:19
Krista - 35:19
Tom - 35:19
Hannah - 35:19
Oscar - 38:44 (8yrs old!)
Chris - 38:44

Next up were the prizes, we had over $500 in prizes (see here) - a huge thank-you to Lysanne Lavigne of Equinox Health Clinic, who offered all entrants $20 off a massage. A big thank-you to all of our other supporters who contributed prizes: Vancouver Island Paragliding, Purica, Green Cuisine, Sarah's Place and the Victoria Vegan Festival Society. There were just the right number of prizes, as all participants and volunteers left with something in hand. Another thank you to Al and Jason for being our 'clubbers', a big thank you to Ailsa and Carolyn for helping set up, and another thank you to Lysanne, Todd and Diane for helping take everything down (and Todd for the photos!)

Click here to enjoy the full gallery of photos, and below is one last shot, thanks to Chris, of a seal on a rock who was hanging out near the turn-around point on the course!


Hopefully we won't have to do this next year, and the seal slaughter will have ground to a halt, but we'll be back if we have to!

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg