Jenna Hauck/ Progress File Calf roping during the 2016 Chilliwack Rodeo.

Vancouver Humane Society says Chilliwack Fair threat a ‘baseless scare tactic’

Fair board revokes claim that VHS campaign violates anti-spam legislation

The ongoing back and forth between the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) and the Chilliwack Fair over the rodeo continues.

A month after the Fair asked the VHS to stop its campaign against some rodeo events they say involve animal cruelty, the Fair’s board has revoked one of its central claims against the VHS regarding a supposed violation of anti-spam legislation.

The issue began before the 2017 Chilliwack Fair when the VHS specifically targeted tie-down roping and steer wresting at the rodeo, events the Society says are “inhumane.”

• READ MORE: Animal activists target tie-down roping, steer wrestling at Chilliwack Fair

The VHS recently ramped up its campaign with Tweets, directing supporters to a page on its website to “Ask these Chilliwack Fair sponsors to help stop rodeo cruelty.”

The site asks people to sign a petition including an email message to four sponsors asking them to urge the Fair to drop the events.

Recently, The Progress obtained a May 15 email sent to the VHS signed by “The Chilliwack Fair” that threatened legal action because of an allegation that the VHS campaign violated Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation.

The VHS responded, however, that those laws only apply to commercial messages.

“Obviously our message is not a commercial message,” VHS communications director Peter Fricker said. “We’ve checked, and it doesn’t apply to us in any way.”

Now, in a letter dated June 14, President of the Chilliwack Agricultural Society Cathy Oss said The Fair revoked its claim.

“The Chilliwack Fair hereby revokes the statement made by email on May 15 regarding the Vancouver Humane Society campaign as being in violation of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation as it was based solely on our interpretation of the legislation and we had not consulted any legal advice in making the statement,” Oss wrote.

Oss continued that the Fair board did not intend the email to go beyond the VHS.

“The Chilliwack Fair had no intention of false allegation and apologizes for any misunderstanding in that regard,” she concluded.

Fricker responded Monday that the VHS feels vindicated, and the Fair has been shown to be using a scare tactic.

“We’re pleased that we have been vindicated and that the Chilliwack Fair’s attempt to intimidate us has been revealed as a cheap and baseless scare tactic,” he said.

The VHS campaign against the rodeo events continues, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Oss said the Fair has approximately 100 sponsors and the rodeo has a further 30.

“All have stood with us,” Oss said. “The Chilliwack community has been very supportive.”

The 146th annual Chilliwack Fair is August 10 to 12 and will feature the 30th year of the rodeo.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack rodeo to continue tie-down roping and steer wrestling


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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