As many of our volunteers/employees are vegetarian and vegan this question was raised early on. For the most part we served vegetarian/vegan food as we were the ones organizing events, but there were sometimes disagreements. We did some research and found other progressive shelters, as well as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies were serving humane meals, excluding any form of meat and with vegan options. I brought the idea to the Board of Directors for consideration to put a policy in place so it was clear to everyone our stance on the topic. What I find amazing is that over half of our board are not vegetarian/vegan, but they agreed unanimously in favour of the policy. This policy applies across the organization so any event organized by AARCS, including meetings, team functions, volunteer appreciation, fundraisers, etc is vegetarian or vegan.
Why do you feel it’s important for shelters and rescue groups to adopt such a policy?
It's simple, why love one animal and eat another? Our vision is "A Compassionate World for ALL Animals" and to stay true to this we must include all animals, not just dogs and cats. We have on occasion rescued chickens, horses, and pigs and therefore we as shelters should not turn around and serve them. We also found that we gained support from many vegans/vegetarians who donate, volunteer and foster for our organization specifically because we have this policy in place, and to my knowledge have yet to lose a volunteer, donor or foster parent because of it.
Can you tell us about an animal-friendly event you have hosted or are planning?
It's very easy to plan events with a vegan/vegetarian policy. What so many people forget is that you don't need meat to enjoy food and drinks at fundraising events. The majority of people don't even notice that meat is not served because the food is amazing and we are not gathering to eat, we are gathering to celebrate and fundraise on behalf of animals. We recently planned a fundraising event and served a variety of amazingly tasty appetizers. We also have pizza nights with our volunteers.
CONGRATS, Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society!