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In Animal Rights

Sia’s Christmas Story

Dear readers,

I want to wish all a very Joyous Holidays and that you may build fond memories with your significant others. I haven’t written much in the last months, and I wanted to explain why that was, in the hope that it will help someone else get through some tough times, especially those feeling lonely during this festive time of the year.

On June 7th of this year, I adopted a very sick puppy.  Never in my wildest dreams could I of imagined what I was about to live. On that warm sunny summer day, my mother and I took off to Burlington  (we live in Montreal) to go and get my three-month-old puppy.  I had her (now named Sia Red) flown in from St. Louis, Missouri knowing that she wasn’t in good shape but unaware of its extent. When we got to the Burlington Airport, I took one glance at Sia and realized she was in much worst form than that of which I was informed. Sia was aloof and could barely stand on her own. Green puss started coming out of her nostrils. She was a terrible heart-wrenching sight. My mother and I looked at each other, and we didn’t even have to talk: my mother stepped on the gas peddle and off we were: going to save this puppy’s life, no matter what!  You cannot imagine how fast we took her through the border and thankfully,  Sia was checked in an Intensive Care Unit in Montreal a couple of hours later. Tears flew (no kidding – flew) from my face when the vet told me to keep the phone next to my head in case I would get the phone call (you know, the one when your animal doesn’t make it). Fortunately, Sia survived the night, but her lungs were 90% filled with puss at the time, and she was lucky that we had brought her to the I.C.U. As we were informed the next day,  she had only a few hours to live.

During the next six months, Sia was admitted four other times to I.C.U’s.,  for different reasons. The doctors could not figure out what was wrong with her. She kept swaying from super well to looking like she extremely sick the very next day. It was a hell of a roller coaster, but we hung on;  Sia, my mom and I and her Boston Terrier brother Tommy (another rescue and now Sia’s best friend). I decided there and then that I would dedicate my life to this little creature because I had promised her that as long as she wasn’t suffering, I would be there for her and keep her alive and well. I became a 24 hour/ seven days a week dog nurse. I’ll spare you all the details, but through those months I barely saw outside except to walk Tommy and Sia as well as run a few errands. I  neglected to take care of myself, and my back pain which in result turned into pain meds (which is another nightmare altogether) and I lost a lot of friends, and of course, this rescue cost a small fortune which also put me at odds with my family. Looking back I know I was in a depression but had failed to see it since Sia was my primary focus. Thankfully there is nothing wrong today with Sia and miracle; she takes no medication.  I believe that with the love and care we gave Sia, as well as all those nights staying up praying for her and, of course, Sia’s courage and strength were enough to get her out of the I.C.U.  I can finally go back to my life, although I will never be the same.

That dark period took a significant toll on me, on my relationships and my family. But would I do it again?  In a New York minute!  Why? Because Sia has taught me some life lessons such as never to give up, that animal activism starts at home (!), and that darkness had led me back to my Creator.  I have now gone back to Church and am feeling stronger than ever.

So if you are struggling in your life, know that dark times come to pass, that prayer does work and that God will give you everything you need to get through those times.  Funny enough I see this dark period as a gift.  I am a better person for it, a stronger person for not listening to people who told me that she cost too much money and I should put her down, for following on my promise to her and for leading me back to my Creator, a relationship that had been suffering for quite some time.

I hope this story will inspire anyone going through a rough patch. Never give up -you never know what lies ahead.

 

In Animal Rights

Aidez-nous à mettre fin aux rodéos du Québec!

Voici la suite du premier article publié sur Forever Kindness sur la cause anti-rodéo, dans les mots de Me Roy lui-même:

“Hier s’achevait le Festival Western de St-Tite et ses rodéos et, du même coup, le mandat de mes trois représentants observateurs-experts sur le terrain (sur la photo ci-dessous, de gauche à droite : M. Michael Kobliska, Dr Jean-Jacques Kona-Boun, médecin vétérinaire anesthésiste, et M. Steve Hindi, photographe officiel spécialisé dans les rodéos, venu spécialement de Chicago à notre demande). Après avoir visionné l’ensemble des épreuves du rodéo urbain de Montréal (24 au 27 août), ces trois dévoués bénévoles ont observé les 46 heures d’épreuves des rodéos de St-Tite réparties sur les dix jours qu’a duré le Festival, bénéficiant de la présence continue du huissier de justice que nous avons engagé à nos frais pour leur permettre de profiter des accès illimités reconnus par le jugement de la Cour supérieure que nous avons obtenu le 16 juin dernier, sans interférence ou ingérence indue.
Les observations cliniques du Dr Kona-Boun et les 138 heures de bande vidéo contenant différents angles d’observation inédits des êtres animaux utilisés dans le cadre des épreuves de monte de taureaux et de chevaux sauvages, de prise du veau au lasso et de terrassement du bouvillon sont d’une très grande richesse. Dès sa finalisation, le rapport qui en résultera sera remis au nouveau « Comité consultatif sur le bien-être et la sécurité des êtres animaux dans le cadre des activités de rodéo » constitué en application du jugement du 16 juin. Pour rappel, le Comité consultatif est composé: 1) des trois représentants du domaine du droit animalier que j’y ai désigné le 7 août dernier, soit Me Nicolas Morello, avocat et président-fondateur de « Droit animalier Québec – DAQ », Dre Josianne Arbour, médecin vétérinaire au Centre vétérinaire DMV, et Pr Stevan Harnad, professeur de sciences cognitives à l’UQÀM et directeur de la revue scientifique Animal Sentience; 2 ) de trois représentants de l’industrie du rodéo et 3) de deux représentants du MAPAQ. Au cours des prochains mois, le Comité consultatif verra à analyser les données colligées par mes trois observateurs-experts et à déterminer si les épreuves de rodéo enfreignent oui ou non les dispositions de la Loi sur le bien-être et la sécurité de l’animal (Loi BÊSA). Dans l’affirmative, il reviendra au MAPAQ d’émettre les avis de non-conformité ou d’établir les rapports d’infraction qui s’imposent, selon le cas. Si, à terme, le MAPAQ refuse, néglige ou fait défaut d’intervenir, alors que les conclusions tirées des preuves recueillies et de leur analyse devraient au contraire l’inciter à agir pour assurer le respect de la Loi BÊSA, une nouvelle action judiciaire pourra être envisagée.
Je tiens à remercier très sincèrement M. Michael Kobliska, Dr Jean-Jacques Kona-Boun et M. Steve Hindi de l’excellent travail d’observation et de collecte qu’ils ont accompli au cours des dernières semaines. Chapeau à vous trois ! Je profite également de l’occasion pour souhaiter bon succès à Me Morello, Dre Arbour et Pr Harnad dans l’accomplissement de leur mandat au Comité consultatif et pour les remercier de leur engagement.”

Dans le but de continuer de lever des fonds pour Me Roy l’association montréalaise Ma Voix Pour Eux organise une 3ième édition à sa campagne de levée de fonds c’est-à-dire un souper, ce jeudi le 28 septembre 2017 au restaurant vegan Invitation V. Je tiens à souligner cet événement car il reste encore quelques billets au coût de $75 par personne dont $35 qui sera remis directement à la cause anti-rodéo. Me Alain Roy, l’invité d’honneur, donnera un compte-rendu plus approfondi des faits saillants et il y aura des prix de présence très intéressants. Je suis certaine,comme la première édition de ces soupers, que cette soirée sera tout aussi mémorable. 
6 In Animal Rights

Un rodéo à Montréal?

Vous vous demandez en quoi le débat entourant les rodéos consiste? Bien que les rodéos aient lieu depuis 200 ans, ce n’est que dernièrement que le public commence à se rendre compte que ces événements causent de la douleur physique et émotionnelle aux animaux qui sont forcés d’y participer.

Récemment, une société publique a été créée afin de mettre sur pied des activités pour célébrer le 375e anniversaire de Montréal. Le rodéo de Montréal, d’une durée de quatre jours, en fait partie.  À l’annonce de cette activité, des réactions négatives ont fusé dans les médias, en partie à cause des blessures subies par les animaux lors de rodéos. Malheureusement, ces blessures peuvent être fatales.  Le cas de Grady, le cheval décédé d’une fracture à la colonne vertébrale au rodéo de Ste-Tite, le 28 mai dernier, a largement été rapporté dans les médias. Cela a fait rapidement naître les inquiétudes quant au manque d’éthique des rodéos.  À chaque année, des centaines d’animaux subissent des blessures sévères ou décèdent lors de ces rodéos. Évidemment, les organisateurs prétendent assurer la sécurité et le bien-être des animaux. Cette affirmation est remise en cause, autant par les activistes de la cause animale que par le grand public qui s’informe dans les médias.  Nous savons que les rodéos peuvent entraîner des retombées économiques importantes, mais il n’est ni juste ni humain que les organisateurs de ces événements s’enrichissent au détriment de la santé et de la sécurité d’animaux innocents.

Alors que je devenais de plus en plus consciente de l’hypocrisie des rodéos, j’ai décidé d’aider le professeur de droit Alain Roy et son équipe remarquable d’étudiants dévoués dont la tentative d’empêcher la tenue du rodéo de Montréal pourrait changer le futur de ce sport abusif envers les animaux.  Professeur de droit de la famille à l’Université de Montréal, Alain Roy est bien connu comme défenseur du bien-être des enfants et des animaux.  Le Professeur Roy m’a expliqué que la province de Québec a reconnu, en janvier 2015, l’animal comme étant un «être doué de sensibilité ayant des impératifs biologiques».  Auparavant, aux yeux de la loi, les animaux n’étaient que des biens meubles.  Cela veut dire que les lois du Québec prohibent maintenant toutes les activités qui compromettent la santé et la sécurité de l’animal, sauf lorsqu’il est question d’agriculture ou de science.  Il est assez incroyable que ce soit seulement aujourd’hui, en 2017, que les citoyens se battent pour s’assurer que les lois archaïques concernant les animaux soient mises à jour.

Heureusement, le débat entourant le rodéo du 375e anniversaire de Montréal a donné voix à ceux qui sont contre l’exploitation d’animaux sans défense, à des fins lucratives et sous prétexte de divertir.  Le Professeur Roy fait remarquer que le traitement infligé aux animaux lors des rodéos serait jugé révoltant et inacceptable s’il était infligé à nos animaux de compagnie.  Pourquoi est-ce plus acceptable lorsque les animaux en cause sont des chevaux, des veaux ou des taureaux qui participent à des rodéos?

En intentant une demande d’injonction contre Nomadfest Rodéo, le Professeur Roy et son équipe ont réussi à faire homologuer par la Cour supérieure de Montréal une entente survenue entre les parties.  Selon cette entente, un Comité consultatif, composé de trois représentants de l’industrie du rodéo, trois représentants des droits des animaux et deux représentants du MAPAQ, le ministère québécois responsable de l’application des lois concernant les animaux, sera créé. Le but de ce comité est d’évaluer la légalité des rodéos dans une perspective de sécurité et de bien-être des animaux qui sont forcés d’y participer.

Le Professeur Roy a nommé deux experts, vétérinaires et béhavioristes, et un photographe qui recueilleront des éléments de preuve lors des quatre journées du rodéo de Montréal et des onze journées du Festival western de Ste-Tite.  Ces experts auront un accès illimité aux animaux avant et après chaque épreuve pour les examiner et les filmer.  Les épreuves seront elles aussi filmées.  Les données recueillies seront compilées et analysées par des experts externes qui rédigeront un rapport final.  Ce rapport sera soumis au MAPAQ d’ici un an et sera étudié à la lumière de la nouvelle loi entrée en vigueur au Québec.

En terminant, j’aimerais mettre au clair une dernière chose.  Hormis les experts et le photographe dont les dépenses doivent être payées, toutes les personnes participant à ce projet — le Professeur Roy, ses élèves et son avocat, les trois membres du Comité consultatif représentant les animaux et toutes les autres personnes dévouées qui travaillent dans l’ombre — oeuvrent BÉNÉVOLEMENT.  Ainsi, pour défrayer les coûts de déplacement, l’hébergement et les honoraires des experts externes et du photographe, le Professeur Roy et son équipe ont créé une campagne Go Fund Me en ligne.  Le succès de la collecte d’éléments de preuve dépend grandement du travail de ces experts externes.  J’invite tous ceux qui ont à coeur le sort des animaux sans défense utilisés lors des rodéos à contribuer à l’effort du Professeur Roy via la campagne Go Fund Me.  Je crois réellement qu’ensemble, nous pourrons protéger ces animaux, maintenant et pour toujours.
https://www.gofundme.com/Rodeo-illegal-Rod-o-ill-gal

In Animal Rights

What’s up with a rodeo at Montreal’s 375th Celebrations?

Here is what the whole rodeo debate is all about: while rodeos have been going on for 200 years, public awareness has been growing that they cause physical and emotional harm to the animals forced to perform in them.  Similar concerns have been arising about circuses and whale and dolphin acts, and of course the most barbaric abuse of all: bullfights.


Recently a Public Corporation was put into place in order to choose the activities for celebrating Montreal’s 375th anniversary. They decided to promote a 4-day rodeo as part of the festivities. There was a negative reaction in the press concerning rodeos partly because of some very serious injuries being reported. These range from torn ligaments to, sadly, even death.   The case of Grady, the horse who died of a broken back at the Festival Western de St-Tite on May 28  was given a high profile in the media and concern abruptly mounted about whether rodeos were in fact ethical.  The truth is that hundreds of these animals suffer severe injuries in rodeos and many of them die every year. The organizers of such events claim that they are ensuring the safety and welfare of their animals, of course, but this just doesn’t seem right to many people; and not just to animal activists but to regular folks watching the evening news or reading the morning newspaper. Everyone understands the economic benefits that such events bring to a region but it just doesn’t seem fair, or even remotely humane for that matter, that these organizers make money by entertaining (?) crowds at the expense of the health and safety of innocent animals.

As I became more conscious of the hypocrisy surrounding these rodeos I decided to help law professor Alain Roy and his amazing team of dedicated law students whose attempt to block the rodeo from coming to Montreal may succeed in changing the future of this abusive sport.  Professor of family law at the University of Montreal, Alain Roy is well-known as a defender of children’s as well as animals’ welfare.  Prof Roy explained to me that as of January 2015 the Province of Quebec has accorded to animals – who until then were just property according to the law — the status of  “sentient beings with biological needs.” This means that Quebec law now forbids any activity that compromises the health and safety of any animal (except animals used in agriculture or science). It is quite unbelievable that it is only today, in 2017, that citizens are fighting to ensure that archaic laws on the treatment of animals are getting updated and enforced.

Thankfully the debate about the rodeos during Montreal’s 375th Celebrations has opened the door for those who do not believe that we should be creating revenue from the fear and distress we inflict on helpless animals under the guise of entertainment.  Prof. Roy points out that what is being done to rodeo animals would be judged as appalling and unacceptable if it were being done to our own beloved pets or anyone else’s. What makes it any less unacceptable when it is done to the horses, calves, and steer in a rodeo?

Prof. Roy and his team, filing for an injunction against the Nomadfest Rodeo, succeeded in negotiating a court-certified agreement to create a balanced Consultative Committee consisting of 3 representatives for the rodeo, 3 representatives for animal rights, and 2 representatives from MAPAQ , which is the Quebec ministry responsible for the enforcement of the laws governing these animals. The goal of the Committee is to identify and assess the standards currently in practice for the security and well-being of rodeo animals.

 Gathering the direct evidence for the Committee will be two external veterinary and behavioral experts and a photographer, appointed by Prof. Roy, who will be given unlimited access to examine and film each animal, before and after each trial, as well as to film each trial, throughout the 4 full days of the Nomadfest rodeo as well as the 11 full days of the St-Tite Festival Western Rodeo. All the data will be compiled and analyzed by further external experts, who will then write a final report to be submitted to MAPAQ within a year for review and recommendations in light of Quebec’s new law.

I also want to make it clear that apart from the appointed external experts and photographer, whose expenses need to be paid, all those who are involved in this project – from Prof. Roy, his students, and his attorney, to the 3 animal-rights members of the Consultative Committee and all the other dedicated helpers in the background — are doing this on a VOLUNTEER basis. It is in order to raise the funds to pay for the travel, lodgings and time of the external experts and photographer that Prof. Roy and his team have created a GOFUNDME campaign on the web. The success of their evidence-gathering mandate depends critically on the work of these external experts, so I urge all those who care about the fate of the hapless victims of the rodeo to contribute to this effort on GOFUNDME. I truly believe that together we will be able to protect the welfare of these animals, now, and forever. https://www.gofundme.com/Rodeo-illegal-Rod-o-ill-gal

12 In Animal Rights/ Society

Stop Breed Specific Laws

Since December 2016, Montrealers have had to abide by the new BSL by-law imposed by Mayor Denis Coderre. This breed specific law, known as “the bull shit law” amongst animal activists and most dog owners, is controversial. Therefore I decided to explore it some more and was quite surprised by my findings.

In all fairness, I truly understand the gravity of this situation but having looked at both sides of the issue. I believe this is a knee-jerk reaction coming from the Mayor’s office. Of course, everyone was appalled when Lucifer, a 7-year-old Pit Bull, killed a 55-year-old woman in Montreal after he had escaped from his backyard. The Quebec court pressed charges against the owner, but he was acquitted; a decision that I struggle with since the dog had lunged at bystanders outside a convenient store,  bitten a cousin and was muzzled at home when guests came over. The owner had also asked the SPCA for help to reduce Lucifer’s aggressive behavior. Who is to blame? Is it the dog’s fault or the owner’s? In this case, it seems that the dog was at fault and was killed by the two police officers at the scene. In other cases, the owners were not so lucky and were charged with manslaughter and pleaded guilty to criminal negligence. Where do we draw the line?

Apparently by deciding that all the dogs that look like Pit Bulls have to have a license, must be muzzled outside the home, be neutered (therefore trying to extinct the breed); also no new Pitt Bull types are to enter our municipality. What does this mean exactly? Any dog that has a square jaw and a muscular body fit that description. Personally, I found that this by-law installed more fear than anything else. I will give you an example: I was at the convenience store with my Boston Terrier, and someone asked me why my dog was not muzzled? Here is a picture of my dog Tommy.

After more dog digging, I found that many municipalities that had enforced this regulation had REVERSED it because it was unfair, unenforceable and ineffective. According to the statistics in Canada, you are 18 times more likely to be killed riding your bicycle, but I don’t see any municipality outlawing bikes?

I believe that any type of dog can be dangerous and that each case we should treat individually. I used to own a Miniature Pinscher named Jack that was a lot more unpredictable then any Pitt Bull and I had to take special precautions to restrain him. There are roughly 500,000 dog bites per year in Canada and Pitt bulls do less than half of them. According to an article in the Globe and Mail by Stanley Cohen, some dog experts have stated that dog bites could be reduced by 89% if dogs received basic obedience training. Now that makes sense to me.

Please help to put pressure on the City of Montreal to stop the BSL enforcement. Many demonstrations are happening around the city and many organizations you can join to fight this ridiculous by-law such as Ma Voix pour Eux and the SPCA, for example.

 

 

2 In Animal Rights

Giving animals a voice

Coming back from the first edition of Ma Voix Pour Euxs (My Voice For Them) mini-conference,  I felt a deep feeling of gratitude for those who dare go where most citizens flee – the world of animal activism.  It is without saying that this movement has had some of an impact on society although the statistics remain bleak; only 2.5% of the population of the United States is vegan, and there is a staggering 15% of those who have reverted from veganism and vegetarianism and this within only three months. The main reasons for their change of heart are merely due to their lack of knowledge on how to be vegan and from them being ostracized by their peers having failed to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Still, it is staggering that these numbers are so low when the reality remains that millions upon millions of animals are tortured and killed each year for us to eat, wear, use and use as entertainment.  As one of the guest speakers explained, it takes a lot of courage to be able to face the real facts.  Modern society has manipulated us into believing that farm animals are commodities and that their lives do not matter in any way.  I thought that most people knew by now the horror of slaughterhouses and the lack of laws protecting animals in industrial farming… sadly just a handful seem to care. Why have governments and industries led us into making unkind and monstrous decisions which are morally depraved and insane? Are not these decision depraved of ethics? Herein lies the debate of animal activism.

The human animals behind this movement consider non-human animals as they would other human beings. They see them as they are:  sentient, intelligent, emotional and in no way do they feel superior to them.  The reason animal activists are calling for the end of their exploitation.  Animal activists, often seen as marginal and disturbing people, are doing all they can. Their goal is for others to see what they have seen and to feel what they have  They are the ones who dare watch the documentaries, read the books, look at the statistics and go to the forefront of this battlefield by showing up with their picket signs at slaughterhouses and demonstrations.

This dark reality lies in our every day lives yet society seems to want to cling to its immunity.  Our entire way of living depends on imposing cruelty to animals which sounded disturbing enough for Rick Hinojosa and Daniel Lussier,  two vegan friends that have decided to step up their involvement by giving back a voice to these muted animals. It is one thing to step out of the box and make better choices for yourself. Activists have decided to push the envelope further and stretch out their necks out by showing up at demonstrations with their banner, by going to city hall and demanding answers and now by giving a platform for fellow activists to educate others. While the decision to fight for animals is a personal one, it is by no means an unimportant one,  a fact which was underlined by every one of the six chosen speakers.  Animal activists want the truth to be said and they will never stop until every cage is empty, every slaughterhouse closed and every animal freed. Why? Because it is the moral thing to do.  As Sir Paul McCartney once said:

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

Ma Voix pour Eux wants to educate others on the horror of slaughterhouses, on the impact of the dairy and cattle industries on climate change and the benefits of a plant-based diet for example. What struck me the most about the conference was not just the facts because I am quite familiar with them, it was the love and kindness you could feel in the room.  Animal activists are people who wish to speak to your heart to plant a seed of compassion for these beings.  There is an invisible war happening – animals are brutally raised and murdered, trees and rainforests are burnt and bulldozed, and industrial farming is poisoning waterways.  Human beings have never been so sick and buying more medication ever. Pharmaceutical companies are laughing all the way to the bank.  We are deterred into making choices that are sick and disgusting for the animals themselves,  for the sustainability of our planet and health yet 98% of society still chooses it.

After listening to the speakers, I retained many things such as:

  1. I cannot just sit behind my computer anymore.  Although I have been to a few gatherings, my activism must become more ruthless because there is no justice for these animals.
  2. It’s ok to be loud and disturbing sometimes because it’s time for this war to end.  As one speaker said: ” If each vegan today turned six others to veganism and so on most people in the world would someday be vegan.”
  3. No matter what people say (and trust me, people, social media can be very mean) I will NEVER shut up.
  4. I will keep supporting industries that are cruelty-free – keep putting my money where it counts.

The event which held at Le 5e Griffintown, a vegan and zero-waste café, also held a raffle which raised money for Jacomo et ses Amis, a refuge for farm animals in dire need of your generosity. Thank you so much to Ma Voix pour Eux for encouraging people to keep fighting a good fight. I am without a doubt that you have inspired others and will continue with your next events.

 

If you wish to join or donate: Ma Voix pour Eux, as well as Jacomo et ses Amis, have a page on Facebook.

There will be a video of the conference coming out soon-keep posted!

In Animal Rights

Animal welfare across cultures

A friend of mine called me and suggested I write about the Yulin lychee and dog meat festival which takes place in China every year during the summer solstice. I was reticent to do so due to the morbidity of the story but being an animal activist I cannot turn my head the other way. What I discovered was way more gruesome than I could ever have imagined.

The practice of eating dog meat in China can be traced as far back as 400 years ago although the Yulin dog meat festival began in the 1990’s. The dog meat trade is quite barbaric given the fact that household and stray dogs, which account for 80% of these animals, are hunted and killed by poisonous darts, crossbows, metal traps and nets. The dogs that make it alive to the festival are packed in wood or steel cages, paraded around the grounds, and hung alive to be displayed to potential buyers.  Tens of thousands of dogs are severely abused during this 10-day festival. They are beaten and put into bags alive.  When bought they are skinned (sometimes live) and then cooked.  I admit I was outraged and disgusted at the gruesome images and videos I watched to write this story.

The dog meat trade seems entirely appalling for us North Americans, but it is practiced in some parts of the world mainly in Asian countries such as China, Thailand, Korea and Vietnam. Disgusting?  Sure. But the real shocker is what I found out while digging for information: dog and cat meat consumption by humans are not explicitly illegal in Canada.  According to an article published in 2015 in the Toronto Star, four dog carcasses were found in the freezer of a Chinese restaurant in Alberta in 2003, and the local health inspector said there was no law against it.

“To be available to serve in a restaurant and for the public, the meat has to be inspected,” Capital Health Authority’s Nelson Fok told the CBC.

The slaughter of animals for food in Canada is a provincially licensed activity, which means meat plant operators must obtain a license.

“For a meat plant operator to obtain a license for dog meat, it must be proven that the slaughter of dogs fits within the definition of food animals,” said Susan Micallef, a spokesperson Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Animals raised for food have to be kept in captivity and raised for the sole purpose of human consumption except for hunted game animals.  Therefore for a meat processor to obtain a license to slaughter dogs for food, it would have to prove that the dogs were raised solely for food and were never meant to be petted.  There are no provincially licensed plants approved to slaughter dogs although this practice still exists being pushed underground due its unpopularity and regulations.

The role of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is to set the standards for meat inspection across the country and to regulate meat importation. Fortunately, there is no category for dog meat. But I still find it hard to believe that in 2017 Canada has no animal-rights law which would entirely forbid this practice. In my opinion, no animal needs to be killed to feed, clothe, entertain or be experimented on for personal gratification; let alone the ones we view as our companions.

I am vegan therefore I do not eat any animal or animal by-product, and this decision was partly due to the torture that farm animals endure in industrial farming.  I truly believe that animals are sentient beings and that the non-existence of laws regarding the prohibition of dog meat production as well as the lack of regulations concerning the welfare of animals in industrial farming in Canada is nothing else but disheartening.

What can you do to help? There are many organizations you can support to help end the suffering of these animals.  You can also make a difference by not consuming animals or at least reducing your intake of animal products. Also, putting your money where it matters by supporting companies that consider animal rights, putting pressure on governments by signing petitions that protect animals, as well as donating to animal welfare organizations. You can also save animals from a life of suffering by adopting one or sharing this information with others as to raise awareness. I listed a few organizations where you can help with a suggestion:

. The Humane Society International

. Animal Justice Canada

. Stop the Yulin dog meat festival

. Stop Yulin dog eating festival

Please help end the needless suffering of animals which has been going on for far too long. Together let’s give animals back their inherent rights and freedoms and by doing so making this world a gentler place to live.

In Animal Rights

A victory for animals

My interview with Camille Labchuk from Animal Justice Canada

It is not a coincidence that I got to interview Camille Labchuk, a criminal animal rights lawyer,  on no other day but Martin Luther King day. The fight for animal rights and to end animal cruelty is in its essence the same fight as the civil rights movement.  Being an animal activist, I often stopped and wondered if the battle for animal rights was even worth keeping up;  it seemed nothing was happening and that changing the mindset of the collective conscience was a utopian idea at the most. After my interview with Labchuk, I was not only enlightened, but my view of animal activism had changed entirely. I now firmly believe that we can end animal cruelty. How? The same way we ended slavery and gave women rights. The same way the civil rights movement gave African-Americans equality. Nobody thought at the time that those changes would ever become a reality but they eventually did. It is without saying that evolution starts with an idea then becomes a movement and with time becomes the norm.  It is eminent that Labchuk, being at the forefront of this battlefield, would remind herself of the importance of her work with the words of the great Martin Luther King.

Why is this so important? Because we have been brainwashed into forgetting about animals and their welfare. We have been ripped from our inherent nature of caring for animals. It is natural for a human being not to want to harm an animal yet we kill and torture them daily and by the billion every year. Is it not true that when someone purchases chicken wings,  a carton of milk or a pair of leather shoes for that matter that they don’t have a single thought that this product comes from an animal, that the animal suffered its entire life and that in all fairness this is solely for economic reasons. Long gone are the days of the small farmers with animals living somewhat normal lives. These are the days of factory farming where not a single animal lives with any sense of respect. From the moment they are born to the day they make it to your plate these animals suffer horrific conditions.  There is only one single law that protects them: the last day of their short lives when they are transported to the slaughterhouse. This law is for food safety, not even for the welfare of the animals. Sigh.  It is entirely legal in factory farming for us human animals to confine, abuse, torture and kill birds and other animals as we see fit.

Labchuk explained how we Canadians do have laws and regulations in places such as the condemnation of puppy mills and cruelty against cats and dogs, for example, but we are far away from animals having the same rights and considerations as we human beings have. Since 2008 Animal Justice has been the leader of the pack in Canada by intervening in ongoing cases involving animals, pushing the Federal and Provincial Governments to change and make new laws concerning their rights and freedoms, and by doing so are embedding animal rights into the social conscience.

Nothing evades Animal Justice Canada as you can see when you visit their website www.animaljustice.ca. There you can educate yourself on ongoing issues, sign petitions and write letters to help them further their cause. You can also donate some time or some money. I urge you to sign ‘The Animal Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ which is featured on the front page. If you scroll down a little, you can also write a letter (made easy for you by them stating all the points that you should include) to pressure the Canadian Government to better its outdated and negligent Animal Transportation Law. Frankly, this law is so archaic that not only is it unacceptable within a modern society,  it is a total embarrassment for Canada.

Labchuk an ethical vegan herself is definitely the real deal. Not only is she following in the footsteps of the great Gandhi by being the change she wants to see in the world and by understanding that the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated; I would not be surprised if someday she would be remembered as one of our brightest and bravest citizens.  I am truly inspired by her wisdom and dedication and I hope that you will be as well. God knows its the time for animal suffering to end and He has well chosen his warriors.

 

 

 

In Animal Rights

Rob Boisvert a man to follow

 

The last thing that comes to mind  when you see Rob Boisvert is ‘Animal Activist.’  It is more likely the opposite like skinhead, drug dealer, definitely some kind of shit-disturber.  Although Rob is covered with tattoos and resembles a hooligan ready to throw a punch at you, he’s everything but violent.  Actually he’s probably less violent than your average person. Intrigued? So was I. As I sat and listened to his story I tried to have some form of detachment,  but driving back in my car the truth of what this gentle man had survived really hit me.

Rob grew up in a small town in Ontario where his parents not only raised him but also pet rabbits, pigs, geese, and chickens. As a child Rob endured mental, physical, and sexual abuse and found refuge in these animals, especially his two pet pigs.  One day  a visitor came and the father introduced him to the two pigs, then right in front of little Rob put a bullet in their heads. Twelve-year-old Rob was so devastated, having endured cruelty himself and seeing his parents execute animals, he went to the barn and put a rope around his neck. Rob was broken. He later on became a drug addict,  but like all the great people of this world,  he found a way to turn his desperation into an inspiration for himself and many others who come to follow his example.

This is a man that has found his salvation in protecting the lives of voiceless animals. Since 2008, Rob has dedicated his time to this calling. After seeing the movie Earthlings he knew from the bottom of his heart why he had survived such atrocities in his own life, and he felt that the madness had to be stopped. He  joined the Animal Liberation Front,  and the bleeding stopped for him but unfortunately not for the animals that he wishes to rescue from slaughterhouses. His mission:  to help people make the connection between human suffering and animal suffering. After all, isn’t it all the same? Today Rob is part of many Animal Rights groups such as 269life for which he is the Representative for Canada. This group, known as a more extreme form of animal activism, had their followers pour fake blood over slaughterhouses, put themselves in front of trucks in order to block the transportation of animals to slaughterhouses (which Rob is well-known for given his stature), and organize demonstrations all over Canada.

Rob is very adamant in his position of turning everybody vegan, not only to end animal suffering, but because he fully understands the impact that the meat and dairy industries have on our planet.  He’s also a realist and knows that there is just a flicker of hope left for humankind on Earth. He became teary-eyed when he reflected on the planet we will be leaving for the next generations, and frankly so did I. Thank you Rob for granting me some of your time because you truly are a Giant and you have the power to turn that flicker into a wildfire in the hearts of the many followers to come.

To help Rob raise money for Animal Rights  you can visit the site of Refuge RR which is in dire need of support, or buy any 269life merchandise which will in turn be saved in the hope of opening an animal sanctuary. Do the noble action and follow the steps of this man, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

In Animal Rights

The truth about chicken the world’s favourite meat

From the moment they are born up to their deaths, chickens are by far the most mistreated animal in our food industry today. The reason behind this animal cruelty lies in the simple fact that there are no laws to protect them, merely because they are birds. Therefore they are treated with horrible cruelty and unlike their counterparts such as cows, pigs, and lambs, for example, they do not benefit from any animal protection laws.  Although the fate of all animals raised in our food industries is to end up in a slaughterhouse the unimaginable suffering chickens around the world endure, all well-hidden from the consumer,  must and should be stopped.

The demand for chicken meat being on the rise in many countries around the world has thrown the industrial farming of chicken into a gruesome and disgusting practice.  From this mass production where 60 billion chickens are raised for meat every year,  called “broilers”  within the industry,  40 billion spend their entire lives cooped up in filthy sheds with thousands of other birds. Their lifespan, from the hatchery to the slaughterhouse, is only six weeks. They are drugged with antibiotics and endure extreme genetic selection in order to expand their growth rate. Most sheds are so densely packed and extremely filthy that their movements are restricted causing them to experience lameness, skin conditions and lesions, and health disorders such as breathing difficulties, leg injuries, heart conditions,  and stress.

chicken-pic

Investigators for the World Animal Protection have uncovered overcrowding misery such as chickens being forced to lie in the droppings of others and not being strong enough to survive such horrible conditions, many of them die.  Their corpses are often found rotting away in cages,  forcing others to cling to their lives while standing on the dead. They are then transported to the slaughterhouse in trucks that are not protected from the heat nor the cold causing much more to die. Not being protected by the Humane Slaughter Act, they are run through electrified water and are still able to feel pain when their throats are cut by a machine.  Enough said?  I cannot see this as anything but unacceptable.

Being vegan myself I am not supporting this industry in any way and am trying to educate others to do the same. I have replaced chicken with tofu, for example, and am telling all my friends about the state of this industry.   Otherwise, there are other solutions such as supporting legislation to end the cruel use of the confinement system as well as the unethical killing of chickens.

There are many organizations where you can sign petitions for the welfare and the rights of industrially farmed chicken. I urge you to visit the World Animal Protection site and sign their petition or better yet – stop eating chicken!

www.worldanimalprotection.ca