NEW DISCOUNT! Secondhand Stories

Secondhand Stories will now offer a 20% discount off all book orders for VegOttawa Association members!
Check them out on facebook or their website. Get your discount code from your Cardskipper discount app.

Secondhand Stories is a registered non-profit online book shop based out of the Carlington neighbourhood of Ottawa that donates all profits to local farm animal rescue, The Sweet Sanctuary. They accept donations of gently used books and post them for sale here, always for only FIVE ($5) dollars each! Since being established in November 2020 Secondhand Stories has donated over $17,000 #fortheanimals.


In 2019 my partner and I had the opportunity to visit the sweet sanctuary and meet the animals. It was life changing. We immediately fell in love with Pippa, Ellen (in the picture to the left) and all the animals and knew we wanted to support this sanctuary.

We learned that piggies like belly rubs, chickens are soft and, most importantly, that the owners of the sanctuary are the most caring, selfless and compassionate people we’ve ever met. Over the years we’ve seen how their compassion has known no limits.T hey’ve taken in new animals and provided them safe refuge.They’ve done everything they can to improve the lives of the animals in their care – like finding new and better feed for the piggies – like constantly expanding the meadows and pig forests for their animals. 

We are so proud to support The Sweet Sanctuary and every penny of profit we earn will always be raised #fortheanimals 

-Secondhand Stories Founder & Director


If you are not a VOA member yet or need to renew your membership, click here.

REVIEW: Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary Walking Tour

Lying east of the city of Ottawa is Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary, a safe haven for non-human animals that spans 58 acres. This vegan oasis is home to all sorts of creatures including horses, cows, goats, sheep, cats, turkeys, chickens, pigs, quails, geese, and many more.

Like many organizations affected by the pandemic, Penny Lane was forced to close their doors to visitors for many months. Now, they are offering self-guided walking tours that allow visitors to explore the grounds and meet the Penny Lane residents in a COVID-safe way.

The walking tour is about 0.5 KM in length and takes you around the farm sanctuary grounds covering all of the enclosures on the property, including the forest and butterfly garden. To keep things fun, the tour has 8 stations that have a fact sheet about the residents such as their weight, age, and story before coming to Penny Lane.

Throughout the tour, on-site volunteers are happy to answer questions and share more information about each of the residents. I was lucky enough to meet several residents like Jade the horse, who suffered in Quebec City’s caleche industry before retiring to Penny Lane, and Suzie, a 6-week old calf who is one of Penny Lane’s newest additions.

The capacity that non-human animals have for compassion and forgiveness always amazes me. Despite their tragic histories (which often involved abuse and mistreatment), the majority of Penny Lane’s residents showered me with affection throughout my visit. I felt deeply loved as they nuzzled against me or followed me as I walked around.

Residents who are not interested in spending time with humans are given plenty of space and not forced to interact with visitors if they don’t want to. Instead, I was able to appreciate them from afar.

All in all, I highly recommend taking one of Penny Lane’s walking tours as it is a great experience to share with kids, friends, family members, or co-workers. Visiting the sanctuary can also be a great way to share the values of veganism with others by allowing them to interact with some pretty amazing farmed animals. Penny Lane gives visitors the unique gift of seeing animals who are free to just be (which is the sanctuary’s slogan!).

Photo credit: Jon Godin

To learn more about Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary, check out their Instagram and Facebook. To learn how you can support the sanctuary or to schedule a tour, please visit their website.

Jade Conrad is President of VegOttawa Association. She participated in one of Penny Lane’s walking tours on September 12, 2021. This post is not sponsored by or affiliated with Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary.

Local Sanctuaries & Rescues to Support

By Esther Vininsky-Oakes

When you go vegan, it can be frustrating to feel such a strong desire to help animals and not know where to direct that passion.

To help with this, we’ve compiled a list of five organizations in or around Ottawa to highlight all the great work they are doing for the animals and the ways you can lend your support. While a donation may not be possible for everyone, another great way to help is by volunteering your time.

All five organizations on the below list are vegan sanctuaries or rescues located in Ottawa or in the surrounding area. Although not an exhaustive list, we hope that this serves as a starting point to highlight some of the many amazing organizations that are helping animals in and around the Ottawa area. We encourage you to also check out the more comprehensive list of vegan sanctuaries on our website. Be sure to let us know of any other sanctuaries that we should highlight in the future!

Holly’s Haven Wildlife Rescue

Holly’s Haven is a volunteer-run wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center based in Dunrobin. They take in all kinds of animals: racoons, squirrels, rabbits, mice, bats, chipmunks, coyotes, groundhogs, porcupines, and more! They are currently running a racoon sponsorship program from their Facebook page, which allows you to sponsor a baby racoon. In addition to raccoons, you may also sponsor other animals listed on their website.

Feline Cafe

Feline Cafe is a coffee shop in Ottawa that provides a temporary residence to cats up for adoption. Customers can buy drinks and vegan treats while interacting with the rescue cats in need of forever homes. Through the cafe’s income and fundraisers, they are able to house the cats, and pay for their food and veterinary bills. You can support them by visiting the cafe, volunteering, shopping from their online store, or donating here.

Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary

Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary is a farm sanctuary near Clarence-Rockland that saves animals that are neglected or rescued from slaughter. Right now, they are home to a whopping 105 animals who are all loved and well cared for by Penny Lane volunteers. One of their residents, Mango the pig, made national headlines in 2019 when he was saved from slaughter after falling off the back of a truck on the highway and got his happy ending at Penny Lane! You can support Penny Lane through their sponsorship program, making a one-time donation, or buying something from their Amazon Wishlist here.

Contented Clucks Farm Sanctuary

Contented Clucks is a microsanctuary located in Oxford Mills. Founder Lynn Kennedy started the sanctuary a few years ago with the goal of rescuing neglected hens and roosters in need of a safe and loving home. They are currently running a fundraiser to build a larger coop in order to provide more space for the growing flock under their care. To support the sanctuary, donate to their GoFundMe or contact their Facebook page for volunteer opportunities.

Sweet Sanctuary Animal Rescue

Sweet Sanctuary is a farm sanctuary in Mississippi Mills that saves abandoned or abused horses and farmed animals. They have 34 residents right now and are always looking to help more. You can support them through donations or volunteering. You can also purchase their famous chocolate chip cookies (which used to be sold at Grow Your Roots) with full proceeds going to the animals. They can even be delivered right to your doorstep for extra convenience. Cookies that help animals in need are the perfect excuse to eat dessert! Another way to support  Sweet Sanctuary is by donating a book to or buying a book from Secondhand Stories, an online non-profit used bookstore that donates all their profits to Sweet Sanctuary.

Happy Tales Farm Sanctuary, Mel’s Farm – All Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, Refuge RR

Find an updated list of local Sanctuaries and Rescues on our Vegan Friendly Business Directory Page.

About the Author:
Esther Vininsky-Oakes is a new contributor to VegOttawa who has been vegan for 2 years and vegetarian for many years prior. She is currently pursuing an MA in English literature at McGill University, and in her spare time, enjoys advocating for farmed animals in need, exploring the great outdoors, and baking.

NEW DISCOUNT! Soungui Fitness

Soungui Fitness will now offer a 15% discount off of new gym memberships, personal and partner training, virtual classes, and their awesome Soungui Fitness apparel to VegOttawa Association members!
Check them out on facebook, instagram or their website for information on services offered. Sign up or add a hoodie to your cart, enter the VegOttawa discount code and save!

Soungui Fitness is a medium focused on getting people from where they are to where they would like to be or have the potential to be.

At Soungui Fitness we aim to motivate you to maintain an active lifestyle through personalized training and the development of long-lasting, healthy habits. Whether you’re just starting your fitness journey, or you’re a disciplined athlete, you’re in capable hands with Soungui Fitness’ holistic approach to wellness. Healthy living doesn’t just mean fitness, it also means promoting mental and spiritual wellbeing. Our fitness philosophy is centred around vigorous activity, a careful diet, mindfulness and promoting mental health.


If you are not a VOA member yet or need to renew your membership, click here.

Animal Testing in Biology and Medicine: Why it is Obsolete, Unethical, and Mostly Irrelevant.

By Ian Nandlall

The medical field has always been progressive, at least at first glance. However, it has badly underperformed in many key areas concerning sustainability. On top of an environmental impact amounting to roughly 4.4% of global net emissions, the healthcare industry engages in poor animal welfare practices. This is especially true in the context of biomedical experimentation, particularly when it comes to developing and testing drugs. 

Despite the introduction of the Three Rs principle (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) in 1959 as a guideline for reducing animal testing, the practice is still widespread today. As such, one could argue that few medicines are truly vegan or vegetarian.

A mouse in a lab receives an injection.


Many non-human animals have been subjected to suffering in the name of advancing medical science. Animal testing was introduced to minimize and prevent unwanted effects during and after human clinical trials. Some researchers support the “necessity” of animal testing as it is seen as a more ethical alternative to humans. Also, many claim that animal data correlates well with human biology. In their view, animal testing would be impossible to replace.

However, several studies have exposed the poor quality of animal research and its failure to translate well to human applications. For instance, 172 drugs designed for treating Alzheimer’s disease failed in humans despite success in animal trials. Corticosteroids, drugs used to treat inflammatory diseases, cause abnormal fetal development in non-human animals but not in humans. Certain diseases and conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) develop differently in animal models.

An obvious reason for these issues is that non-human animals exhibit differences in terms of basic anatomy and physiology when compared to humans. Thus, drugs are not metabolized in the same manner and the biological pathways through which diseases develop are not the same. Also, the often stressful conditions that non-human animals are subjected to during experimentation may also change their physiology and cause unpredictable effects on disease states and drug metabolism. This means that not only is animal testing irrelevant and cruel, but it causes harm to humans as well by denying them promising drugs that fail animal trials.

In some cases, humans could be subjected to dangerous substances thought to be safe due to unreliable data. Such was the case with Vioxx, an infamous anti-inflammatory drug that was taken off the market in 2004 due to its adverse effect on cardiovascular health in humans. The manufacturer’s claim that the drug was safe had mainly relied on data obtained from African green monkeys.

Some supporters of animal testing would argue that better controlled animal studies and models are all that are required to solve these issues. One possible measure is more diligent breeding. The practicality of this method is unclear. It seems unreasonable to expect that an animal subject would become an acceptable proxy for humans simply by inducing mutation after mutation, especially when methods that better reflect human biology exist.

Rabbit receives an injection in a lab setting.


Today, there exist many alternative experimentation methods that are worthy of attention.

In vitro testing refers to experimentation on biological organisms (i.e. bacteria, fungi, viruses), cells, or molecules outside of larger organisms such as humans or non-human animals. As an example, consider atopic dermatitis, more widely known as eczema. Mice are commonly used in animal research regarding this condition, despite the fact that their skin exhibits key differences (i.e. number of layers, types of immune cells) that have an impact on how eczema develops and responds to treatment. Three-dimensional models derived from human skin and immune cells would allow researchers to examine eczema in a context that takes into account human skin properties. In the future, more refined models could include other factors that play a role in the development of eczema, such as mechanical “wear and tear” as well as blood supply.

Another method involves the use of bioplastic based devices that contain fluid channels lined with human derived cells. These devices are commonly known as “organs on chips” and are essentially slices of functional organs that can be exposed to mechanical stress and different substances, such as drugs. “Organs on chips” show incredible promise in terms of cost-effectiveness, versatility, sustainability, as well as physiological relevance and accuracy in terms of determining drug toxicity. However, the technology is still in its infancy, and their suitability remains to be seen.

There are also more specific types of in vitro testing and refers to involving the use of omics, an umbrella term for sub-disciplines such as genomics (the study of genes and their functions), proteomics (the study of proteins), and metabolomics (the study of metabolites, the byproduct of medications following metabolism). It is next to impossible to go into detail given the immense scope of omics, but the basic idea is to study the effects of medications and toxins on changes regarding gene expression, proteins, and so on. These methods serve more of a theoretical basis as opposed to practical when it comes to clinical testing, but could help in drug development and understanding disease at a fundamental level.

A third type of method encompasses in silico experimentation, which involves the use of simulation using computer-based models. Within the context of therapeutics, they mostly work to complement in vitro methods by predicting toxicity of medications. The number of in silico models that exist is large, but there are several key categories. The first involves identifying biochemical similarities between medications and their byproducts following metabolism with already known toxins. The second type involves the use of equations that predict potential toxicity of a drug based on the level of drug accumulation and the degree to which it interacts with human tissue. These are known as pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic models. Although promising, their use as a sole alternative to other methods is limited due to their relatively small scope and difficulty to factor in all possible variables. However, in silico experimentation will likely become an invaluable addition to other alternative methods in the future.

Lastly, attention has been drawn to early microdose drug studies in human volunteers. In this context, participants are exposed to very low doses of an experimental drug, allowing researchers to study how the medication interacts with the human organism on a basic level. However, this requires the development of extremely sensitive methods that are capable of measuring drug activity at a very small scale such as liquid chromatography (the use of chemical methods to separate parts of a mixture). Also, this technology would need to be adapted to different types of drugs and may not currently be usable for certain medications, which limits its use for now.


All of the these methods have the potential to replace animal testing as more ethical, accurate, and reliable alternatives. However, such an evolution requires not only a large amount of resources, but dramatic shifts in culture, mentality and core values. While it is unclear if these methods will evolve enough to supplant animal testing within the next century, it is an ideal that we should strive for. At the very least, there is a strong possibility that these methods will co-exist with current experimentation methods, which will hopefully lead to a significant decrease in animal experimentation as a whole.

About the Author:
Ian was a longtime vegetarian, recently turned vegan, as well as a new contributor to VegOttawa. Among his interests are animal ethics, biomedical sciences and physics, and the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.


Balls M, Bailey J, Combes R. How viable are alternatives to animal testing in determining the toxicities of therapeutic drugs?. Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism & Toxicology, 2019 Oct 3; 15(12): 985-87.

Bracken MB. Why animal studies are often poor predictors of human reactions to exposure. J R Soc Med. 2009 Mar 1; 102(3): 120-22.

Combes R, Berridge T, Connelly J, Eve M, Garner R, Toon S, Wilcox P. Early microdose drug studies in human volunteers can minimise animal testing: Proceedings of a workshop organised by Volunteers in Research and Testing. European journal of pharmaceutical sciences. 2003 Jun; 19(1): 1-11.

Franzen N, van Harten WH, Retèl VP, Loskill P, van den Eijnden-van Raaij J, Ijzerman M. Impact of organ-on-a-chip technology on pharmaceutical R&D costs. Drug Discovery Today, 2019 Sept; 24(9): 1720-24.

Fröhlich E. Role of omics techniques in the toxicity testing of nanoparticles. Journal of Nanobiotechnology, 2017 Nov; 15(1).

Low LA, Mummery C, Berridge BR, Austin CP, & Tagle DA. Organs-on-chips: into the next decade. Nature Reviews. Drug Discovery, 2021 May; 20(5): 345–61.

Löwa A, Jevtić M, Gorreja F, Hedtrich S. Alternatives to animal testing in basic and preclinical research of atopic dermatitis. Experimental Dermatology, 2018 Jan 22; 27(5): 476-483.

Nast, C., 2021. Vioxx Suit Faults Animal Tests. [online] Wired. Available at: <; [Accessed 26 June 2021].

Perrin S. Preclinical research: Make mouse studies work. Nature. 2014 Mar 26; 507: 423-25.

Raies AB, Bajic VB. In silico toxicology: computational methods for the prediction of chemical toxicity. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Comput Mol Sci. 2016 Mar; 6(2): 147-72.

UPDATED DISCOUNT! | saaboon 15% Off!


SAABOON is an all-natural, vegan soap boutique based in Ottawa, Canada. 

Using the traditional cold-process soap-making method, our handcrafted soaps are made from scratch in small batches to ensure consistent quality. We use only the best natural oils and do not use synthetic chemicals or foaming agents, artificial fragrance oils, artificial colourings, or any preservatives. And we are 100% against animal testing!

saaboon will now offer a 15% discount off all their beautiful soaps, balms, face oils, deodorants, bath salts,… to VegOttawa Association members! (This replaces the previous discount of 10%)

Why buy handmade soap vs. commercial soap? The answer is very simple, with handmade soap, you get exactly that – soap. Commercial soap are not always true forms of soap – they are often detergents. Detergents are petroleum-based products, filled with synthetic, harsh chemicals that will leave your skin feeling dry, itchy, and irritated. Most manufacturers also remove a large percentage of the glycerin from their soap because glycerin contains a high resale value. The glycerin is sold to other companies to make lotions and creams. Glycerin is the natural by-product in the soap-making process. It is a humectant (helps moisturize your skin). With handmade soap, all the glycerin is retained. Whereas with commercial soap the ingredients consists of animal fats and other chemicals that will often leave your skin irritated, our handmade soap are made with all-natural vegetable and fruit oils that not only cleanse but leave your skin nourished and moisturized.

We use only the best oils and butters to make our products — these include olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, cocoa butter, and avocado Oil.

Your satisfaction is extremely important to us. Our mission is to provide great quality products and excellent service.

Come visit our brick and mortar shop at 595 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa, Canada.



If you are not a VOA member yet or need to renew your membership, click here.

NEW DISCOUNT! PlantEd Project

PlantEd Project will now offer a 15% discount off of their Community and Private plant-based cooking workshops to VegOttawa Association members!
Check out their beautiful website (linked above) for more info. about PlantEd Project, their workshops, recipes, blog posts and more!

PlantEd Project is a women-run small business in Ottawa. Co-founders Jackie and Georgia are dedicated to making vegan cooking fun, easy, and accessible.

PlantEd Project provides the tools and resources to help you incorporate plant-based cooking, eating, and living into your daily life.

We offer Virtual Cooking Workshops where you can learn new plant-based recipes, pick up some vegan cooking tips and tricks, and spend time with like-minded people – all from the comfort of your own home.

Join us for a bi-weekly community session or book your very own private session with a group of friends, family, or colleagues. Join us in our journey and discover just how easy it can be to make sustainable choices three times a day.


If you are not a VOA member yet or need to renew your membership, click here.


PlantKind: Fitness. Nutrition. Lifestyle. will now offer a free consultation ($90 value) to VegOttawa Association members! This 1 hour consultation will include a health history, review of goals, movement assessment, & baseline fitness testing and can be done virtually or in person (not during lockdown however). You can fill out the consultation form here or from your Cardskipper app.

Check out the website (linked above) for more info. about PlantKind, the training programs offered, blog posts on fitness, nutrition, recipes and more.

PlantKind is about lifelong fitness – helping you discover the strong, resilient and capable body you were born to have. PlantKind Fitness is for real people who want to live a full life. You don’t need tons of time, a gym membership or a large space. All you need is consistency and some guidance! PlantKind is for busy parents and professionals, elderly and athletes and anyone that can benefit from moving with more skill and strength!


If you are not a VOA member yet or need to renew your membership, click here.


Thank you to all who attended our 11th Annual General Meeting. This year was the first year the Association held it’s AGM via ZOOM. We reviewed our accomplishments and sponsored events of 2020 and held our annual election welcoming a new volunteer board of directors.

We would like to send a huge thank you to exiting board directors, Mark Petersen, Susan Macfarlane, Adam Nephin, Dean Tester, and Marie-Pierre Theoret-Pilon for all of their hard work and time committed towards furthering the organization’s progress.

Your 2021 VegOttawa Association Board of Directors:

Director | President

Director | Vice President

Director | Secretary

Director | Treasurer

Director | Membership Coordinator

Director | Social Media


  • Sponsored IVFF (International Vegan Film Festival) screening of 4 short films at Copper Branch Barrhaven.
  • Hosted Dr. Greger speaking tour, “How Not To Diet” @Algonquin Commons Theatre | March 9
  • Member Draws! Gave away gift cards to some of our favorite local plant-based businesses including SaaboonCopper BranchCinnaholicGabrielle Peterka Hair Co.The Table
  • Donation to Feline Cafe gofundme | COVID help
  • Donation to Chickpeas ‘Pay It Forward’ providing 25 meals to health care workers | COVID help
  • Donation to (VegOttawa Association added to supporter wall as “Champions”
  • Sponsored IVFF event – We Animals Media screening of 5 short films with live Q&A (J. McArthur, K. Guerin)
  • Sponsored IVFF Virtual Festival 2020| Over 25 vegan-themed films shown
  • Melanie Boudens online cooking class | Pass giveaway to lucky VegOttawa members
  • Sara Galipeau online Meal Prep workshop | Pass giveaway to lucky VegOttawa members
  • Holiday Prize basket giveaway x 3 | vegan items and gift cards valued at $250+
  • Donated 300 Tofurky roasts to fulfill Ottawa Food Bank request for people in need of plant based holiday meals
  • Zengarry Veganuary recipe ebook & product discount provided to VegOttawa members
  • Melanie Boudens online cooking class #2 | Pass giveaway to lucky VegOttawa members
  • Added Ottawa Vegan & Vegan Friendly Business Directory to website
  • Added Vegan Transition help page to website
  • Added new discount offerings: Sea Glass Films & PhotographyGabrielle Peterka Hair Salon, Hippie MylkVan Tran PhotographyWuxly Movement (increased discount from 10% to 20%)

On behalf of the organization, thank you to all association members for your continued support. We can’t wait to see you all live and in person sooner than later.


Potluck – February 6

When: February 6, 4:30 to 7:30 pm. (Dinner starts at 5 pm)

Where: Jack Purcell Community Centre

  • 320 Jack Purcell Lane (Elgin at Lewis)
  • Link to google map 

Cost: $2 for NCVA members and $3 for non-members.

What to bring: Each person should bring a vegan dish, one free of animal products, eggs, dairy/cheese, honey, that serves 10 people, as well as your own plate, cutlery, and beverage. Also, please bring a serving utensil and the list of all ingredients for your dish, for people with allergies.