Fundraising barbecue event in Oshawa for dog rescue group cancelled after vegan backlash


Published May 17, 2024 at 10:37 am

lost dog

A fundraising barbecue for a lost pet search group scheduled for Sunday in Oshawa has been cancelled because of a backlash from the vegan community over the serving of hamburgers and hot dogs at the event.

Team Chelsea, a Durham Region-based organization which has been helping find lost pets for more than a dozen years, was planning on holding the event in the Rona parking lot on Laval Drive in the Stevenson Road and Hwy 401 area Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. but were forced to cancel after an “unexpected turn of events” on social media promoting  the fundraiser.

“Sadly, the post on Rona+ Oshawa social media page attracted a lot of attention in respect to the concern for serving meat at this particular BBQ Fundraiser,” Team Chelsea said on their own Facebook page. “We at Team Chelsea believe in freedom of choice and we believe that everyone has the right to choose what’s best for them.”


The thread turned ugly, the group said, with “harsh and offensive” comments directed at both Rona and Team Chelsea, “imploring and bullying us into turning the event into a vegan-only option.”

The fundraiser was an opportunity to raise funds for the work Team Chelsea does in the community to rescue lost pets. Nearly 25,000 dogs and cats have been found since a 2011 hunt for a lost Bernese mountain dog named Chelsea in 2011.

“We appreciate the community partnerships and support that many local businesses offer to Team Chelsea and are very saddened and disappointed with the effect that social media has taken on this particular situation,” the post read. “It is very challenging to try and appease a huge population of people: we felt by offering choices at the BBQ that we would be respecting all our supporters and their values. I regret to say this was not the case.”

Team Chelsea thanked Rona + Oshawa for the invitation to host the event and the volunteers who were willing to come out for a day of fundraising and community awareness.

“We rely solely on donations as we are not funded, so missed opportunities directly impact the number of animals we are able to help. It’s unfortunate that a small group of people were able to make such an impact, as we believe that everyone has the right to choose.”

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