Plant-Based Cheese Maker Stephanos Liapis of Pulse Kitchen, and Peter Fricker of Vancouver Humane Society on Banning Horse-Drawn Trolleys in Stanley Park

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This show features an interview with co-founder Stephanos Liapis of Pulse Kitchen on the story of this Penticton-based vegan business and the creation process of pulse-based cheeses, as well as Peter Fricker of Vancouver Humane Society on the efforts to ban horse-drawn trolleys in Stanley Park. We also speak with Stephanos on reasons to switch to eating plant-based cheeses, as well as the wildfire currently ablaze in Penticton.

Co-Founder and Vegan Cheese Maker, Stephanos Liapis, of Pulse Kitchen

Co-founders of Pulse Kitchen, Stephanos and Brigitte Liapis.

Our feature interview comes in this pandemic time where we want to support the vegan entrepreneurs who are running their vegan businesses. We speak with Stephanos Liapis, who is the co-founder and co-owner of the artisan vegan cheese company known as Pulse Kitchen. They are based in the city of Penticton in the Okanagan Valley of BC, which has lately been facing the threat of a large wildfire in the area.

Stephanos and his wife Brigitte are two ethical vegans who wanted to do something better for the planet and the animals by starting a plant-based food company. They now sell their products in dozens of both large and small retail stores Canada-wide. What also makes Pulse Kitchen unique is that they use pulses – that is, dried beans, chickpeas, peas, and lentils – as the base for their delicious vegan cheeses.

In this interview, Stephanos shares with us his and Brigitte’s personal story of how they became vegan entrepreneurs with a mission to help save the planet in making delicious cheeses out of plants only (and no mammalian secretions). He also speaks about the process that goes into making their vegan cheeses, the nutritional profile of the plant-based cheeses, and the growing trends in the vegan food industry.

Finally, we speak about why omnivores should make the switch in this growing age where you can simply take a look at the vegan alternatives of meat and cheeses and other dairy products in the aisles of almost any grocery store and make a compassionate consumer choice where the animals aren’t harmed.

We also speak about the wildlife situation in Penticton and our animal friends who suffer during these devastating events.

Peter Fricker, Vancouver Humane Society, on Banning the Horse-Drawn Trolleys in Stanley Park

For our first interview, we have local animal advocate Peter Fricker on the show. After gaining a diploma in journalism, Peter Fricker has worked in communications for several non-profit organizations and companies over the last decades, including United Way, BC Hydro, the Hyack Festival, and a housing charity in the United Kingdom. Peter has worked with Vancouver Humane society over a number of campaigns including factory farming, exotic animal trade, and animals used in rodeos such as the Calgary Stampede. He is the Projects and Communications Director of the Vancouver Humane Society, which is a registered charity dedicated to exposing animal abuse and assisting individuals, businesses and governments to end animal suffering, cruelty, and exploitation.

Horse-drawn trolley at Stanley Park creating stress on the horses and being a traffic hazard for others on the road.
Horse-drawn trolley at Stanley Park creating stress on the horses and being a traffic hazard for others on the road.

This past year, we saw bans of the horse carriage industry be passed in both Chicago and Montréal, two big cities that have been implementing this type of “tourism” or “entertainment” for many, many years. Vancouver Humane Society is concerned about the prevalence of horse carriages on the increasingly busy streets of Vancouver and around British Columbia, with carriage rides being offered at a number of local events throughout the year, in addition to regular operations in Stanley Park. In this interview, Peter speaks about the danger to both the welfare of horses and human beings that the horse-drawn trolleys continually bring in Stanley Park, one of North America’s best known parks. We will also learn about VHS’ campaign to call for an end to the horse-drawn trolleys.

In 2016, horses pulling a tram full of tourists through Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park were spooked by traffic. The frightened animals bolted off the roadway, crossing a bike path and smashing a park bench before nearly taking the tram over the seawall. 

In this short video, you can see tourists literally jumping for their lives off the trolley as this shocking incident occurred:

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The Vancouver Humane Society and UBC Animal Justice have sent a letter to Park Board Commissioners calling on them to end the horse-drawn tram in Stanley Park and put the safety of the horses, cyclists, and motorists first.

You can help prevent a tragic accident resulting from the use of horses in Stanley Park from happening – sign the petition here.

Show co-produced by Grace Wampold and Alison Cole, with web content written by Alison Cole and formatted by Asami Hitohara