FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Humane Canada statement on recent incident at Edmonton Humane Society
OTTAWA - June 7, 2018 - Humane Canada is saddened by the recent incident at the Edmonton Humane Society involving three cats being accidentally left in one of the organization’s transport vehicles. Edmonton Humane Society has acted swiftly to review and change their transfer policy and procedures in order to prevent this kind of gravely serious error from ever happening again.
This incident highlights a need for an independent review mechanism for organizations that both care for animals and also enforce the law, as more than 40 per cent of Humane Societies and SPCAs in Canada are responsible for enforcing both federal and provincial animal protection laws. Edmonton Humane Society not only supports this but is actively working to determine what the process would be to access such an external review free from conflict of interest.
Humane Canada does not support recent calls to download animal protection law enforcement responsibilities solely to public institutions.
"For 150 years now, SPCAs and Humane Societies have been responsible for enforcing the law in Canada. In fact, they make up a highly specialized unit in this country solely dedicated to the protection of animals. If animal cruelty enforcement were to be taken over by the policing sector or any other public institution, we would lose that singular focus on animals and their welfare. Animals deserve more than that," says Barbara Cartwright, CEO of Humane Canada.
Humane Canada supports oversight and transparency. In partnership with Humane Societies and SPCAs across Canada we are developing national standards and a certification program for humane societies and SPCAs. Edmonton Humane Society is a leader in this area and we look forward to our continued partnership to advance animal protection in Canada.
Humane Canada is available for comment on this issue.
For media interviews or additional information, contact:
Communications and Marketing Manager
(The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies)
Now that 2017 has come to a close, Humane Canada (also known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies) is once again asking: are things getting better or worse for animals in Canada?
Below, we takes a look back through 2017 and compiles the biggest stories of the year on the advances, setbacks and jaw-dropping stories of Canadian animal welfare in 2017. As a bonus, we've included the top international animal welfare wins. The lists appear in no particular order.
- The Senate got more animal-friendly. Despite some dicey moments, Bill S-214 and Bill S-203 progressed from the committee stage to third reading this year. Bill S-238, which aims to ban the import of shark fins, was also introduced in 2017 and is currently before the Senate Standing Committee for consultation.
- Canada’s farming industry is inching closer to ending intensive confinement. This year, we saw the start of the phase-out of cruel battery cages for hens and the introduction of rigorous, world-leading standards for cage-free housing systems. We also saw the first steps toward the ban of veal calf crates in Canada.
- Reversal of Montreal’s pit bull ban. Animal advocates across the country cheered as Valerie Plante was elected as Montreal’s new mayor on November 5. She has been following through on her promise to alter the city’s recent animal control bylaw to remove or amend breed-specific provisions.
- Focusing on owner responsibility in municipal animal bylaws. Cities across Canada, including Chateaguay, Laval, Surrey and Rankin Inlet have introduced new animal control policies for their municipalities focused on responsible pet ownership rather than short-sighted policies like BSL.
- Cetacean ban for Vancouver Aquarium. In a bold move, the Vancouver Park Board has banned the captivity of cetaceans on its park lands, effective immediately. This ban includes Stanley Park, where the Vancouver Aquarium is situated.
- New provincial cruelty legislation in PEI. After introducing a new provincial animal welfare law early in 2017, Prince Edward Island has gone from near the bottom of the list to number one in a ranking of provincial animal welfare laws.
- On May 4, an Ontario Court judge found animal advocate Anita Krajnc not guilty of criminal mischief for giving water to thirsty pigs on their way to slaughter, saying he's not convinced a crime ever occurred.
- The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association released a new position statement on cat declawing this year, taking the stance that the surgery is ethically unacceptable and should not be performed as an elective surgery. Just before the end of the year, Nova Scotia became the first to ban the practice provincially.
- For the first time ever, a corporation has been charged with animal cruelty. More than 20 charges were laid against Chilliwack Cattle Sales and seven of its workers, and the company has been fined close to $350,000. The Crown has launched an appeal, saying the sentences should be longer.
- In a sudden change of policy direction, the government of British Columbia has announced it's closing a much-criticized loophole in the province’s recent grizzly hunting ban. Public consultations have made it clear that killing grizzlies cannot be allowed, with the exception of First Nations people.
- In a shocking development, all charges against Marineland were dropped by the Crown in the case, who said there was no reasonable possibility of conviction.
- It was discovered that infamous hoarder April Irving, who severely neglected more than 200 dogs who were living on her Milk River, Alberta property, fled Canada for Jamaica.
- Canada is falling down on its responsibility to protect wildlife. Each and every province and territory missed the deadline for submitting a caribou protection plan to the federal government, the federal government missed a 90-day deadline for endorsing updates to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and sockeye salmon counts remain much lower than expected despite years of work to implement federal protections.
- Tens of thousands of farm animals died agonizing deaths in barn fires across Canada again this year. Some of the worst happened in Abbotsford, Sarnia, Chilliwack, the Montérégie region, and Bothwell and Steinbach, Manitoba. Animal advocates are calling on the Manitoba government to reinstate the fire regulations repealed earlier this year for buildings with low human occupancy, such as barns.
- In July, following a dispute over voting rights, the Ontario SPCA suspended the Ottawa Humane Society’s affiliate status, preventing the organization from investigating animal cruelty and enforcing the law. OHS went to court to challenge the decision and ensure that Ottawa’s animals were well-protected, but the restriction remains in place.
- Abusive vet continues to practice. Dr. Mahavir Rekhi, whose license to practice veterinary medicine was temporarily suspended after the release of videos that showed him physically abusing several animals in his care, has had all charges dropped against him despite extensive video evidence.
- Hidden camera footage obtained by CTV’s W5 showed abuse and mistreatment of dogs, pigs and monkeys being used for research at ITR Laboratories Canada in the West Island region of Montreal. The claims are being investigated by the Canadian Council on Animal Care.
- More than 9,000 fish and frogs died after a power failure at a University of Alberta research lab disabled two dechlorination pumps, releasing chlorinated municipal tap water into freshwater tanks.
- The BC SPCA is recommending federal and provincial animal cruelty charges after undercover footage captured heinous abuses on a chicken farm in Chilliwack, BC.
- Twelve endangered whales die in Canadian waters. Marine mammal experts say that ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are to blame for the deaths of 12 critically endangered North Atlantic Right whales, who were all found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence throughout the summer of 2017.
- Smile, you’re on camera. England and France both implemented policies that require CCTV in slaughterhouses to help curb animal cruelty.
- Ringling Circus closes. After 146 years of operation, the owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed the show for good in May, in part due to years of pressure from animal advocacy groups.
- Expedia is one of a growing number of travel companies that have committed to no longer selling tickets to exploitative wildlife rides and shows. The booking service has announced that it will no longer sell tickets to “activities involving certain wildlife animal interactions.”
- Days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a decision to lift the ban on elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia, President Donald Trump announced plans to reverse course.
About the Humane Canada™ Frederic A. McGrand Award
The award is named after a founding director and past president of Humane Canada™, the late Senator Frederic A. McGrand. Throughout his life, the Senator recognized and advocated respect for all life. He left an important and ongoing philosophical legacy to the animal welfare movement and also established a charitable trust that continues to benefit humane societies and SPCAs in Atlantic Canada.
Please note that the Frederic A. McGrand Lifetime Achievement Award was not presented in 2018.
The 2017 Frederic A. McGrand Lifetime Achievement Award winner: Dr. David Suzuki!
Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and the co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2012 Inamori Ethics Prize, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award and UNEP’s Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 29 honorary degrees from universities around the world.
He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. In 1990, he co-founded The David Suzuki Foundation with Dr. Tara Cullis to collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life, including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.
His written work includes more than 55 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, BC.
Nominate an Animal Welfare Hero
Created in 1985, the prestigious Humane Canada™ Frederic A. McGrand Award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to animal welfare in Canada. Past winners include wildlife rehabilitation pioneers Kay and Larry McKeever, animal welfare advocate and veterinarian Dr. Carol Morgan, farm animal welfare champions Tom and Sharon van Milligen, among many others.
How to nominate:
A nominee for the Humane Canada™ Frederic A. McGrand Award must have made a significant contribution as a founder or builder of Canada's animal welfare movement or otherwise have made a substantial contribution to animal welfare in Canada.
The nomination must include the following information:
- A title page with full contact details about the nominee and nominator including:
- A detailed description of the contributions to animal welfare and protection in Canada that were made by the nominee. This may include, but is not limited to, a narrative description by the nominee, newspaper articles, blog entries, media transcripts, articles or other supporting materials.
- Two letters of reference to support the nomination.
- A signature and date by the nominator.
All entries will be reviewed by the Executive Committee of the Humane Canada™ Board of Directors, and the award will be presented at their discretion.
Please send nominations to Humane Canada™ by mail, email or fax:
Mail: 102-30 Concourse Gate, Ottawa, Ontario K2E 7V7
Fax: (613) 723-0252
Past winners of the Humane Canada™ Frederic A. McGrand Award
The Frederic A. McGrand Lifetime Achievement Award has been given out on a semi-annual basis since 1985. Below are the past winners.
Dr. David Suzuki
Dr. David Fraser
Dr. Carol Morgan
Exploits Valley NL
Dr. Alice Crook
Mary L. Driscoll
St. John’s NL
St. John’s NL
Tom and Sharon van Milligen
Dr. Denna Benn
Quebec City QC
Philip Baines (posthumously)
Kay and Larry McKeever
North Bay ON
Senator F.A. McGrand
Fredericton and Ottawa
For decades, cat people and bird people have been at odds with each other. But the welfare of one does not need to be sacrificed in order to protect the other. We have a responsibility to all of this country’s animals and need to work to improve the situation for both cats and birds. Pitting them against each other fails to address the perils facing both. Solutions for our embattled birds are necessary, but we can’t lose sight of how dire the situation is for Canada’s cats.
That’s why Humane Canada is partnering with Nature Canada on the Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives program, an initiative that brings together cat people and bird people and encourages them to work together to better protect both groups of animals. By bringing together Canada’s oldest conservation charity and Canada’s largest animal welfare community, we’re increasing knowledge and education on the benefits to cats, birds and others when owned cats are prevented from roaming unsupervised outdoors. And we’re ensuring that broad-based strategies and actions initiated to help one group don’t cause harm to the other.
We know that both cats and birds are facing very difficult odds in Canada. Twice as many cats are brought to shelters as dogs and, in 2015, approximately five times more cats were euthanized than dogs. Generally, about 70 per cent of stray dogs taken in to shelters are reclaimed by their guardians, compared to 10 per cent of stray cats. In the outdoors, cats are exposed to a variety of threats, including diseases, vehicle collisions and fights with wildlife and other cats. While a cat’s independent nature might lead some people to treat them like something between a pet and wildlife, we owe cats the same level of care we give our dogs.
While cats are facing a number of different threats, so are our birds. The official list of bird species at risk increased from 47 to 86 between 2001 and 2014, and some bird populations have declined by more than 90 per cent. Predation by free-roaming cats only adds to the much more significant risks that birds face due to habitat destruction and climate change.
For the welfare of cats and birds, we need to change how we care for our feline friends. It’s counter-productive to malign cats in the hopes of protecting birds, which is why we’ve chosen to get involved in a unified campaign that aims to educate the public and transform assumptions about how to approach cat and bird protection. Let’s curb the vitriol between these two camps. Together, we can – and will – do better.
How you can keep your cat safe and save bird lives at the same time:
Consider harness training
Training your cat to walk on a harness is a fantastic way to give your cat access to the great outdoors without risking their safety or that of other local wildlife. Just remember to let your cat take the lead in the process and don’t push them to do anything they’re resisting. For tips on how to go about humane leash training, check out this blog post.
Build a safe outdoor space
Cat enclosures, catios and cat fences can be built by you or bought from a manufacturer. These enclosed spaces allow your cat to enjoy all the perks of the outdoors without risking their safety.
Enrich the indoor environment
Many cats can easily transition to the indoors when given the proper stimuli. Enrich their indoor environment by providing a window perch next to a properly screened and secured window that will allow them to view the outdoors. Cats also enjoy stable and safe play spaces to climb, like cat trees, gyms or condos. Ensure play spaces are fit with a variety of both interactive and simple toys. Spaces that include a scratching post are the most enjoyable and allow cats to exhibit natural behaviours.