7 June 2024

Bunnings apologises for 'slight miscommunication' after charity's vegan sausage-sizzle canned

| James Coleman
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Bunnings sausage sizzle

Bunnings sausage sizzles are essential fundraisers for thousands of charities across the country. Photo: Henk Tobbe.

Hardware chain Bunnings has apologised for a “miscommunication” that led to the cancellation of a vegan sausage-sizzle fundraiser at its Fyshwick store, but it’s too little, too late for Little Oak Sanctuary.

The animal rescue organisation and sanctuary, based in Manar near Bungendore, has raised thousands of dollars at four different sausage sizzles outside Canberra Bunnings stores since the first at Gungahlin in 2014.

Founders James and Kate Luke only had one altercation halfway through running one outside the Fyshwick store in 2016 when a staff member demanded they sell meat options alongside the vegan sausages.

“The guy said it was an official requirement and in the paperwork, but I was like, ‘Well, I’ve looked through the paperwork, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t say that, but if that’s the case, we’re going to have to pack up because it’s against our ethics and we won’t do it’.”

She later received an apology from Bunnings Australia and assurance they would be welcome to hold more vegan BBQs at its Canberra stores.

The couple have since hosted them at Gungahlin and Belconnen – where the staff were “lovely” and the community reactions “fantastic” – and when they summoned the courage to return to Fyshwick Bunings on 23 June, they were even offered an additional slot on 10 August.

Kate certainly wasn’t expecting the phone call she received this week.

Kate Luke, Little Oak Sanctuary cofounder. Photo: Little Oak Sanctuary.

“Everything was progressing really well, and the activities officer was really friendly with us. But she called me on Tuesday, saying she’d seen our Facebook event listing advertised as a vegan sausage sizzle, and she was like, ‘What’s that about? You have to sell a beef option as well’.”

The sanctuary subsequently posted a statement to its Facebook page, expressing “deep sadness” with Bunnings.

“We are not going to sell the bodies of the animals we are trying to save, not now, not ever,” it read.

“We were counting on the funds for our winter fundraiser. We are devastated Bunnings has made this decision, not just for our organisation but also for other community groups who are choosing to take genuine action for animals and the climate.”

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Bunnings has since apologised for what it describes as a “slight miscommunication” and says the slots remain open to Little Oak Sanctuary.

“Unfortunately, there was a slight miscommunication, and we’re working to contact the group to let them know we’re more than happy to honour their two scheduled fundraising dates,” regional manager David Williams said.

“We always try to cater to the preferences of community groups where possible, and we allow vegan-only sausage sizzles provided they’re discussed prior with the store, in line with our guidelines.”


Bunnings says they allow vegan-only sausage sizzles “provided they’re discussed prior with the store”. Photo: Michelle Kroll

In a letter to Kate, Bunnings managing director Mike Schneider was more personal.

“Asking you to cook and supply a meat option along with vegan sausages was not the right thing to do and not in keeping with our guidelines and I’m sorry our team provided you with this advice,” it read.

He also supplied the charity with a $500 gift card “to assist with your fundraising efforts”.

However, Kate says two instances are enough, and they’ve washed their hands of Fyshwick Bunnings.

“We’ve had some other organisations reaching out to us to hold fundraisers with them, so we’re moving forward with those, or we’ll hold our own thing. But yeah, we don’t want to repeat.”

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Capital Retro12:00 pm 11 Jun 24

How sausages are made: https://youtu.be/lf07v2rWY5c

Gotta laugh at people complaining about not being able to get their normal ‘meat’ sausages at Bunnings once every blue moon. Do they realise how much ‘meat’ is actually in those little artery-cloggers?…go on, live on the edge…give the vegan option a go….you might even like it! (PS: I’m not Vegan)

Hold on, Bunnings apologised and I’m also wondering if this group made it clear in their application that they would only sell vegan sausages? Smells of self righteousness and wanting the publicity rather than accepting that and getting on with promoting their cause. I have no issue so long as they clearly state at place of sale what they are selling.

Jason Cornelius7:31 am 09 Jun 24


What is with adults complaining about a sausage having to be meat or it isn’t a sausage. A sausage is a shape. And with or without meat the shape is still a sausage shape. We all know what happens to pigs and beef in sausage rolls. Horrific lives in factory farms and transported to their death in trucks. They feel pain and fear and have eyes which cry. The inhumanity is real. Good on a sanctuary sticking to its principles and shame on any adult who carries on about a sausage must be filled with the corpse of an abused animal for your taste buds. People need to grow up. It’s 2024. We have come a long way with our knowledge of cruelty and the selfish obsession of some people is outrageous. Animal abuse is real. And the meat and dairy industry inflict it on billions of animals per year for consumers of said cruelty.

Wow. Pigs and beef (sic) have eyes. I learn something everyday.

Vegans are so dramatic. Telling these ridiculous lies about animal torture isn’t attracting any normal person to your cause.

@Ken M
“Telling these ridiculous lies about animal torture …”
I’m a carnivore.

Many of us have seen the video footage of things ‘not going right’ in abattoirs, so I am not naive to moronically assume that every piece of meat that finishes up on my plate has been humanely slaughtered.

The industry, while having regular inspections, is pretty much self regulating when it comes to the humane demise of the 600 million animals slaughtered for food in Australia each year.

Time is money, in any industry. The process of assuring that animals have been appropriately stunned prior to being slaughtered can add to the cost of commerical meat production.

So I don’t think you can dismiss the concerns of vegans and the like as simply the raving lunacy of nutters.

To salve my conscience, so I can continue to enjoy a steak, etc., I trust that institutions, such as the RSPCA, are continually working with the commercial meat industry and its regulators, to review the governing conditions, to minimise (eradicate would be nice) transgressions which do result in the inhumane slaughter of any animals.

Sarcasm means nothing to tears streaming from cows and pigs abused sliced and diced for sausages. Good on you champ

Animal abuse deniers are dramatic. What do you call slashing a cow’s throat whilst strung upside down in an abbatoir? A holiday?? Jog on

Maybe you sjould actually try to set foot in some “factory” farms and watch yourself how “horrible” these animals lives are. Oh no, looks like you know it all after watching a couple of carefully selected documentaries

Dee dee, I call that made up nonsense that doesn’t happen here.

Again, telling lies like that just shows people you are unhinged. It does nothing to attract normal people to your cause.

@Hest Lars
“watching a couple of carefully selected documentaries”
So how many botched slaughters in an abbatoir are acceptable to you?

None happening in australia, and if so, then the abbatoirs will be fined and potentially closed. Procedures in abbatoirs are very well monitored and regulated.

@Hest Lars
Really? If that is the case, then why is the RSPCA “… concerned about the differences in the regulation of Australian abattoirs and poultry processors across jurisdictions and the current gaps in those regulatory systems.”

Leeanne Lincoln7:41 pm 08 Jun 24

Disgusting on Bunnings behalf and I hope the staff are reprimanded.

Were they telling people they were vegan? or passing off some veg as a healthly snag?

Terry Atkins4:31 pm 08 Jun 24

The Vegan option at Bunnings needs to be strictly Vegan.
I believe this is what is planned.
Sharing a site would not work.
I remember when in retail in Melbourne in the health food industry, we served one family vegetarians who could not stomach going to a park to put up with the smell of barbecues. This was in the late 1970s.
Knowledge and health issues have changed. If Bunnings can be objective to both groups, well done.
I will support the Vegan option at Bunnings in Windsor Gardens Adelaide, if it eventuates.

Capital Retro12:11 pm 08 Jun 24

How about vegan koala cutlets and platypus patties too?

Where do you get non-vegan “koala cutlets and platypus patties“?

Interesting to hear about this. I normally walk past the sausage sizzle when visiting Bunnings, but do occasionally stop when my stomach commands me to. If I walked up and read a sign which said “Vegan sausages only today – try one” (and there should be signage), I’d definitely stop to try one out of curiosity. Would it ruin my day if there wasn’t a meat option – heck no, I’ve more important things happening in my life. It’d be a rare occasion so this is not a catastrophic issue.

But they’ve had push-back twice at Fyshwick, and at no other location? Sounds a little like the Wild, Wild West out there. Perhaps Bunnings Executive need to investigate the management there to confirm they represent the community aspects of the company.

So, as usual, vegans refuse to cater to other dietary choices, and create a hassle.

Bunnings deserve it for entertaining them in the first place.

Capital Retro8:11 am 08 Jun 24

I am shocked to now learn the sausages at the Bunnings fund-raisers actually have meat in them.

I thought it was re-purposed sawdust from their timber department.

Would “re-purposed sawdust” be vegan?

Capital Retro5:45 pm 08 Jun 24

Great thinking JS. I knew you were capable of deeper things.

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