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.


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:

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:
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF:

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 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 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!

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

Dave Shishkoff


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:

NEW! Our poster, to promote the cards, is here:

Information on our carriage campaign, including our new FAQ leaflet is available here:

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:

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:
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF:

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:

Second story:

Dave Shishkoff


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 ). 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:
PO BOX 9049
V8W 9E2
Telephone: 250 387-6240
Fax: 250 387-1040

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site:
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF:

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:
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Event: Save Our Seals Sprint!

SOS Sprint - Save Our Seals Sprint

The SOS Sprint is a fun, 5k run or walk, inspired by ‘Zombie Runs’ - where along the course you may encounter ‘zombies’, but given that you’re a ‘seal’, you’re going to want to watch out for the ‘seal clubbers’!

Participants all receive a ‘Save Our Seals’ event headband to identify them, and the ‘clubbers’ (hidden on the course to ambush seals for their fur!) will be easily identified, piloting their boats among the ‘ice floes’ searching for fleeing seals. Each year tens of thousands of seals are slaughtered off the coast of Newfoundland, and this event is to raise awareness and help bring an end this travesty.

The course is a scenic loop along the beautiful waterside pathways from Clover Point to just before the breakwater. Please arrive by 11am, parking on Dallas or at Clover Point. All are welcome, bring your kids and dogs!

$5-10 sliding scale entry (pay what you can), tons of prizes from OrganicAthlete Victoria and Friends of Animals supporters (distributed by draw). Prize list:

RSVP on our Facebook Event Page:

Download our event poster PDF:

Hope you'll join us in speaking up for seals!!

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site:
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Poster Party for National Anti-Fur Day

= Example of Poster =
National Anti-Fur Day 'Poster Party' in Victoria at Vshoen
Friday, February 8th, 12-2pm
Vshoen, 620 Broughton Street

Friends of Animals and Vshoen invite you to assist in defending fur-bearing animals at our Poster Party for National Anti-Fur Day on Friday, Feb. 8. We're coordinating with the Fur-Bearer Defenders in Vancouver, who have a similar action planned, and we'll be joining dozens of other cities across Canada holding events and demonstrations.

We'll provide posters and vegan snacks while you display posters downtown with anti-fur messages such

More than 3 million animals are brutalized and killed for their skins in Canada each year by trapping, ranching, shooting and clubbing. While full length fur coats are less popular, fur trim is shockingly common in Canada. Look around next time you're in downtown Victoria. A surprising (and deplorable) number of garments include fur from coyotes, wolves, foxes, rabbits, seals and other animals who were murdered in their skins for the frivolous fur industry.

Fur coats look better on the original fur-bearing animals. Please help us educate Victoria residents that fur hurts by joining Vshoen and Friends of Animals on February 8th!

Join our Facebook Event page:

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site:
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: