Source: Facebook

An Oshawa dog rescue organization was forced to cancel its fundraising barbecue after vegan activists chastised them over plans to serve burgers and hot dogs. 

Team Chelsea, a Durham Region-based organization has been rescuing lost pets in the area for over a dozen years and had scheduled the event for this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The group planned to host the fundraising event for lost dogs and cats in the Rona parking lot on Laval Drive in the Stevenson Road and Hwy 401 area. 

However, they were forced to cancel after an “unexpected turn of events” occurred on social media while promoting the fundraiser.

Source: Facebook

“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,” wrote Team Chelsea in a Facebook post. “We at Team Chelsea believe in freedom of choice and we believe that everyone has the right to choose what’s best for them.”

According to the group, their event post was met with “harsh and offensive” comments directed at both them and Rona for agreeing to host the event, “imploring and bullying us into turning the event into a vegan-only option.”

Team Chelsea saw the fundraiser as an opportunity to boost resources in its objective to rescue lost pets. 

A goal that the group has certainly already had a great deal of success with, rescuing almost 25,000 dogs and cats since 2011. 

The group was launched after community members got together in search of a lost Bernese mountain dog named Chelsea 14 years ago. 

“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,” reads the post. “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.”

Despite its disappointment, Team Chelsea still expressed its gratitude for both Rona and the city of Oshawa for offering to host the event, as well as the group’s many volunteers. 

“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,” added the post. 

Comments on the post have since been disabled, however, one community member expressed their support before their removal.  

“This was an opportunity for a variety of people to come together as one to raise money for so many animals in need. Having a difference of opinion or lifestyle does not give a person the right to bully others into thinking or living the way they do,” they wrote. 

“This is such a sad situation and honestly, I don’t know how these people can sleep at night knowing they took medical care, food, housing and other needs away from animals in Team Chelsea’s care, all because others live their own lives, by their own choices. What a damn waste!”