Photo: Peter Fricker in the office of the Vancouver Humane Society where he works as projects and communications director, getting the messages out on animal suffering to the online world.
Peter Fricker always had a fondness for animals, but he never quite learnt the range of animal welfare issues until he stepped into his career at the Vancouver Humane Society in 2003.
Fricker made a decision after his journalism diploma from Langara College in the early 80s that he wanted to work in the non-profit sector behind something he could believe in ethically and morally. With his desire for justice and fairness and as a vegetarian, fighting against animal welfare with the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) fit the bill.
Fricker was raised in Burnaby and currently lives in East Vancouver. When he’s not busy as the projects and communications director at VHS, he spends his time walking his dog Millie, hiking local trails and watching the popular Game of Thrones show.
Fricker has worked with VHS to success in animal activism achievements such as the fight for charges against a Chilliwack dairy farm, rodeo cancellations, a ban on keeping exotic animals as pets in Vancouver, the creation of their Chicken Out program which has had an impact on B.C. holding the highest percentage of cage free production, among others.
“It’s kind of a desire to see something get fixed,” said Fricker on his start of fighting for animals.
The VHS is a registered charity organization based in South Vancouver, dedicated to reducing or eliminating animal suffering. Fricker presents himself and his efforts in a gentle way, but it’s obvious being involved in the fight to end animal suffering comes from a deeper passion.
Emily Pickett, program coordinator of the VHS said their team is a close-knit group with individual strengths, and Fricker is someone she’s learnt a great amount from.
“Peter is knowledgeable and speaks well to the issues VHS focuses on, whether that be factory farming, animals in entertainment or captivity,” said Pickett.
Making steps in animal freedom
One of the causes the VHS focuses on that Fricker is particularly proud of is the fight against rodeos.
VHS achieved the elimination of four events at the Cloverdale rodeo in Surrey in 2007, a ban of rodeos in Vancouver city limits and a cancellation of Luxton rodeo near Victoria in 2015.
More recently, Fricker and his team rose awareness to the public using media and encouragement to sponsors to stop support of the Abbotsford rodeo, which was cancelled in February.
Although rodeo is argued as traditional, Fricker said there is no excuse for mistreating animals.
“If I did that to my dog I would be charged with animal cruelty. If we made a show out of that with any other animal there would be immediate outrage…but what’s the difference? To the animal it’s exactly the same,” said Fricker.
Thinking of a positive future
Fricker would like to see the Vancouver Zoo to close down, more rodeo cancellations and more schools adopting Meatless Monday.
The VHS currently is working on Go Veg Vancouver, an initiative encouraging people to eat less meat.
“The biggest thing that people could do is to look into a plant based diet because that’s the thing that will have the most effect on the most animals. The lower the demand, the better it is for farm animals,” said Fricker.
Overall, Fricker hopes for a change in the way people view animals.
“It’s a human centric world and we think the animals are here for our purposes and I’d like to see people recognize animals as having inherent intrinsic value, that they exist in their own right,” said Fricker.
Listen – Peter Fricker speaks on his goals moving forward in the Vancouver Humane Society and his hopes for animals: