Food insecurity among vulnerable people and their pets is on the rise. Community emergencies, like fires and floods, as well as the lack of pet friendly housing have exacerbated this issue by forcing pet owners to move into situations they may not be able to afford and compounding the burden of looking after a pet. Community pet food banks mitigate this burden by supplementing food, supplies and resources to residents at risk and their companion animals. In British Columbia, the demand for pet food has increased by 63% in the past 3 years. This trend is a call for action. Consequently, the BC SPCA has prioritized pet food security as a strategic priority.  

After investigating 310 pet food bank programs globally and building experience with operating a pet food bank for the most vulnerable residents on Vancouver’s downtown East side, the BC SPCA has drafted best practices for pet food banks across the province. However, best practices may vary based on an individual community’s needs, location, and resources. The purpose of this workshop is to share the development of a BC-wide food bank strategy and to create an opportunity for participants to explore best practices. 

The workshop will focus on: 

  1. Impact of pet food insecurity on vulnerable people 
  2. Barriers to accessing pet food banks  
  3. Developing best practices for pet food banks in communities using self-assessment tools  
  4. Creating a national community of practice to harmonize standards, research and share learnings and successes 

Educational Topic 
One Health / One Welfare: human, animal and environmental health