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Here’s Why Animals Keep Burning to Death in Canadian Barn Fires

Animal Justice April 18, 2018

Between January 2015 and November 2017, more than 470,000 farmed animals burned alive on Canadian farms. These animals would have endured frightening and agonizing deaths, trapped in cages or stalls with no chance to escape the smoke and flames.

Most buildings in Canada must follow strict fire safety rules, but farm buildings with “low human occupancy” don’t. Modern farms can contain tends of thousands of animals whose ability to experience physical pain and emotional suffering is no different than our own, but because human occupancy is the standard, very few fire safety requirements exist to protect them.

Tragically for animals, farm buildings are dangerous fire hazards and disaster is inevitable. Animals are trapped inside, with no escape route. There are no fire detection or extinguishing systems in place, like sprinklers. Farm buildings are usually in rural areas, far from fire hydrants, fire stations, and the volunteer firefighters who respond from home. Wiring and electrical equipment is easily damaged by rodents and rampant indoor air pollution. Barns are often filled with flammable straw and wood, flammable gases from animal waste, and dangerous equipment like heat lamps. Despite the extreme risk to animals, fire safety inspections, and prevention plans still aren’t mandatory.

The current National Farm Building Code is being revised, but animal protection isn’t one of the guiding principles. This is a glaring absence! Animals trapped in barns must be protected from needlessly burning alive.

Please sign this Parliamentary petition to Canada’s federal government asking them to consider the animals when they revise the farm building fire safety rules. Thank you to Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals for sponsoring this petition.

Animal Justice

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Canada Killed More Than 800 Million Land Animals for Food in 2017

Animal Justice April 17, 2018

Slaughter reports from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada show we killed over 800,756,236 land animals for food in 2017—up from 771 million in 2016 and 750 million in 2015. The growth is mostly because more chickens are being killed for meat. This is in part due to population growth, but per capita consumption of chickens (including chickens eaten and lost to food waste) is also steadily rising.

Here are the numbers broken down by sector:

Meat chickens: 711,459,823
Egg-laying hens and breeding chickens: 36,580,473
Turkeys: 20,248,949
Ducks and geese: 6,428,062
Pigs: 20,728,785 (federally) 864,871 (provincially)
Adult cows (dairy and meat): 2,831,766 (federally) 151,484 (provincially)
Calves: 199,409 (federally) 36,640 (provincially)
Sheeps and lambs: 170,576 (federally) 371,516 (provincially)
Goats: 68,709
Bisons: 9,369 (federally) 1,517 (provincially)
Rabbits: 604,287

But these numbers don’t paint the full picture. The government concealed horse slaughter numbers this year, so tens of thousands of horses killed are likely not accounted for here.

The numbers also don’t include aquatic animals, whose deaths aren’t tracked. However, we do know that last year we killed 160,054 tonnes of farmed finned fish (e.g., salmon and trout), accounting for millions of individual lives.

Deers, elks, and wild boars are also killed in Canadian slaughterhouses but no data is available.

Animals killed by the animal agriculture industry outside of slaughterhouses are also not accounted for, including the male chicks killed at birth in hatcheries ,and the millions of animals who die prematurely of illnesses and injuries on farms and during transport.

 

Photo courtesy of Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

 

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Animal Justice

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Four Reasons to NEVER Buy a Bunny as an Easter Gift

Animal Justice March 28, 2018

Easter is just around the corner, and with it comes family gatherings, chocolate, Easter egg hunts and gifts. It’s also a time of year when local animal rescue groups brace for the impact of thousands of people buying bunnies as gifts for children. Tragically, many of the rabbits are abandoned in the weeks after Easter, once families begin to realize that caring for a rabbit is a major commitment. We break down why giving a bunny as a gift is a terrible idea.

1. Companion animals should never be bought or adopted on impulse

Rabbits are incredible animals, but there are many questions to consider and prepare for before bringing a rabbit into the family. Many families aren’t prepared for the responsibility of pet ownership, and the joy of a new rabbit can quickly wear off. A rabbit’s lifespan is 8-12 years, and if a family loses interest, the bunny could suffer years of neglect. Rabbits are sensitive animals, and don’t make good pets for small children. A child’s enthusiasm and handling can be stressful for rabbits or even injure them. Rather than viewing rabbits and other pets as consumer items, it’s important to understand that they are individuals.

2. Rabbits have complex needs

Caring properly for a rabbit can be complex. Rabbits are high-maintenance pets with many specific physical and emotional needs. Rabbits may suffer from boredom and depression if they are kept in cages, so they need many hours of free-roaming time and mental stimulation every day in a spacious, rabbit-proof area. If an area isn’t rabbit-proofed, rabbits may chew items. Rabbits also require a diet rich in hay and fresh vegetables.

3. Many rabbits bought for Easter will end up dead or abandoned before their first birthday

Tragically, it’s all too common for people to dispose of rabbits once the responsibility of their care sets in and the excitement of Easter weekend wears off. Many rabbits will be brought to animal shelters, end up confined in outdoor hutches, or simply be abandoned. Bunnies who are released into the wild usually die from starvation, the elements or from predators.

4. Buying from pet stores supports bunny mills

Just like in puppy mills, bunnies are often bred in large facilities where their welfare is not respected. Bunny mills force rabbits to live their entire lives as breeding machines confined in cages, with no ability to roam, enjoy being with their families, or perform natural behaviours.

Babies are often taken from their mothers too early, at only a few weeks of age, because they look cute and take up less space in pet stores.

Meanwhile, shelters are overflowing with loving animals, including rabbits, who need forever homes. Purchasing rabbits from pet stores and breeders condemns rabbits in shelters and rescues to death, increasing euthanasia rates of healthy, adoptable pets.

Try these alternatives instead

Who doesn’t like chocolate, especially over Easter? Try gifting a plush toy or a dairy-free chocolate Easter bunny!

Bring your child to an animal sanctuary or volunteer at an animal shelter with them. These are great places to interact with animals, to teach children about different animals, and how to properly care for and respect them as individuals, not consumer items.

 

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Animal Justice

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