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Authorities Refuse to Crack Down on Misleading Milk Ads

Animal Justice March 21, 2018

In November 2016, Animal Justice filed complaints with authorities over a misleading ad campaign that suggested that consuming of dairy is essential for human health. The ads, sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, were crafted to appear as public health announcements by several health organizations, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Osteoperosis Canada, and Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Disturbingly, the ads told Canadians to consume dairy to prevent osteoporosis, colorectal cancer, and hypertension.

According to Dietitians of Canada, it is not necessary to consume fluid cow’s milk, yogurt, or cheese to avoid colorectal cancer, osteoporosis, or heart disease. On the contrary, Dietitians of Canada states that a vegan diet, without dairy, “has many health benefits including lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.”

Dr. Walter Willet, Chair of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, observes that high dairy intake is not beneficial and may even be harmful. According to Dr. Willet, high dairy consumption is associated with increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancer.

Animal Justice filed false advertising complaints with the Competition Bureau and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)—which are responsible for protecting consumers from fake marketing. Food ads must be truthful so consumers can avoid food fraud and make informed choices.

Last year, the Competition Bureau—the federal consumer protection agency—opened an inquiry into the false ads. However, Animal Justice just received bad news—the Commissioner of Competition dropped the inquiry.

Laws protecting farmed animals in Canada are weak or often don’t exist in the first place. Even when laws offer some protections to animals, they are badly under-enforced. That’s why Animal Justice lawyers get creative to protect animals. We use false advertising laws to crack down on the meat, dairy, and egg industries. We’re dismayed that our legal complaints have not resulted in justice.

But we’re not ready to give up. Next, we’ll file requests under freedom of information legislation to find out why authorities fail to act. As long as farmed animals are confined in appalling conditions and food companies get away with lying about their products, we will use whatever legal tools are available to fight for animals.

 

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Animal Justice

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Supreme Court of B.C. Grants Animal Justice & Zoocheck Leave to Intervene in Vancouver Aquarium Lawsuit

Animal Justice September 11, 2017

VANCOUVER – The Supreme Court of British Columbia has granted Animal Justice and Zoocheck leave to intervene intervene in the Vancouver Aquarium’s lawsuit against the Vancouver Park Board. The two organizations argued in court for the ability to intervene on Friday, September 8 with the favourable decision coming down late in the day.

The Aquarium is seeking to strike down the Park Board bylaw banning the Aquarium from confining whales, dolphins, and porpoises in its facility in Stanley Park. Animal Justice and Zoocheck will focus on dismantling the Aquarium’s troubling legal argument that confining cetaceans is a form of expression protected under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If confining animals for entertainment is found to be a constitutionally-protected form of expression, there could be drastic consequences for animals. It would become difficult, if not impossible, to pass laws protecting animals from being confined as those laws would be vulnerable to legal challenge.

“The Aquarium’s freedom of expression claim in this disturbing lawsuit could permanently undermine animal protection laws right across Canada,” said Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice. “Animal Justice and Zoocheck are pleased the court has recognized that our perspective, on behalf of animals, must be heard. We will argue in court to protect whales and dolphins, and other animals across the country, from the suffering they endure in captivity.”

Animal Justice and Zoocheck will submit to the court that confining cetaceans should not be considered ‘expression’. The organizations rely on well-established case law stating that expression that is violent or is connected with violence is not protected by section 2(b) of the Charter. Capturing and confining whales and dolphins are forms of violence, in that they involve the coercion and involuntary captivity of living beings who have complex thought, the ability to suffer, and the capacity for self-determination. Confining cetaceans has been shown to cause significant physical and psychological harm to them.

Animal Justice is a national animal law non-profit that leads the legal fight for animals in Canada. Zoocheck is a Canadian-based international charity that works to protect wild animals in captivity and in the wild. Animal Justice and Zoocheck are represented by lawyers Arden Beddoes of Farris Vaughan Wills & Murphy LLP, and Benjamin Oliphant of Gall Legge Grant Zwack LLP.

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The Animal Justice and Zoocheck application to intervene can be downloaded here.

The Aquarium’s petition can be downloaded here.

The Parks Board’s response to the petition can be downloaded here.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

 

Animal Justice

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My Trip to the Ice: Visiting Baby Harp Seals with Sea Shepherd

Animal Justice April 28, 2017

By Camille Labchuk, Executive Director

The commercial seal slaughter has long been a bloody stain on Canada’s reputation. Every spring, the Canadian government lets sealers club, shoot, and skin baby seals in Atlantic Canada—most of them only a few weeks or months old—simply so their fur can be turned into luxury products for foreign markets.

I was pleased to team up this year with our friends at the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as a crew member for Operation Ice Watch 2017. Sea Shepherd and its founder Paul Watson have been fighting to save seals for over 40 years. On this trip our mission was to visit seals on the ice with Hollywood actress Michelle Rodriguez, and remind the world to keep pressuring Canada to end the bloody slaughter of baby seals.

The seal slaughter has always been devastating to me. I grew up in Prince Edward Island—not far from where the killing takes place—and I can still remember the shock and sadness I felt as a child when I first saw footage of gentle baby seals seals being chased and clubbed by sealers.

Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to meet harp seals in their icy nursery. Spending time with these creatures is an incredible experience, but meeting them makes it even more heartbreaking to return to the ice a few short weeks later when sealing season opened. Working with Humane Society International/Canada, I’ve helped document the slaughter, expose its cruelty to people around the world, and push other countries to ban seal product imports. Fighting to save seals helped inspire me to become a lawyer and use the law as tool to protect animals.

© Bernard Sidler

Ten years after my first visit to the ice, I returned. On our first day the Sea Shepherd team took off from the Charlottetown airport and flew out to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, hoping to find the seal nursery. Searching for seals is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. The Gulf is around 155,000 square kilometres, and spotting a patch of seals that may be only a few kilometres wide can sometimes feel impossible.

But as I looked down from the helicopter, not only did I not see seals, I didn’t even see any ice. I saw large expanses of dark, open water instead of the solid, packed sea ice that should be there at that time of year. Harp seals are an ice-dependent species; they need thick sea ice to give birth to their babies on, nurse them, and let them learn to swim and fish on their own. If mother seals can’t find enough ice to give birth on, or if it melts from underneath them, seal pups will drown.

Camille Labchuk, Yana Watson, Brigitte Breau, Clementine Palanca. © Bernard Sidler

After hours of flying, we finally found a small patch of packed ice and a harp seal nursery with only a few thousand seals—a far cry from the tens of thousands we expected. We landed on the ice and stepped out into the icy wonderland in the midst of hundreds of baby whitecoat seals—newborn animals who were still nursing their mothers.

Whitecoat harp seal. © Camille Labchuk

No matter how many times I visit seals, it always feels magical. Baby seals are incredibly trusting; they have never seen humans before and don’t fear us. They look up with black, liquid eyes, make soft noises, and if you lay still on the ice they may even come up to have a closer look. It’s especially incredible to watch them doze in the sun, warm in their thick fur.

Beater seal. © Camille Labchuk

We also saw a few “beater” seals—still babies, but slightly older as they have shed their white fur in favour of a silvery, spotted coat. (They’re called beaters because they beat their flippers in the water while learning to swim.) Whitecoats are protected from being killed, but once they begin to moult at only a few weeks of age and become beaters, they will be clubbed and shot. Their silver, spotted fur is what sealers are after.

On our second day, we returned to the area where the nursery had been only to find the solid ice was broken up by warmer weather and strong storm winds. After hours of zigzagging back and forth in search of the nursery, we feared the worst—that the babies drowned when the ice smashed and melted beneath them.

On our third and final day, we cheered after finally spotted a small scattering of seals, but the ice was still broken and thin. The helicopters couldn’t land on the precarious ice pans, so they dropped us off and hovered nearby. Our worst fears were confirmed—the larger patch of seals we saw on the first day was still nowhere to be found, suggesting they likely perished in the melting and broken ice.

Sealing, 2009, © Camille Labchuk

Harp seals have endured centuries of being clubbed and shot to death for their fur, but now they’re also facing global warming, which is literally melting their habitat out from underneath them. Sea ice has declined drastically over the past few decades, yet even with so many drowned seal pups, the Canadian government opened the hunt up early. It’s heartbreaking to think of the peace and beauty of the harp seal nursery being shattered by industrial sealing boats, gunfire, and hakapiks, with the baby seals bloodied and dead.

The good news is that dozens of countries around the world, including the entire European Union, have closed their borders to products of the cruel commercial seal slaughter. With markets shrinking, pelt prices are lower and fewer seals are being killed.

The seal hunt is an outdated, dying industry that is being kept on artificial life support by massive cash subsidies from taxpayers—even though most Canadians oppose commercial sealing. Please ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to end the East Coast seal hunt, buy back sealing licenses, and support humane ecotourism instead of brutal seal killing.

Animal Justice

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  • Aurelia’s Birthday Donation

    by on January 24, 2018 - 0 Comments

    More and more often, kids are donatiing to charities like SCARS in lieu of getting birthday gifts. When she turned six, Aurelia (Auri) decided there were enough toys around her house. She saw the good life that her own pets have and wanted to help rescued animals. For her birthday Auri collected toys, treats and

    The post Aurelia’s Birthday Donation appeared first on Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

    Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

  • B.C. Court Strikes Down Vancouver Aquarium Whale & Dolphin Ban

    by on February 9, 2018 - 0 Comments

    VANCOUVER – National animal law advocacy organization Animal Justice is responding to the decision from the B.C. Supreme Court quashing, in part, a municipal bylaw aimed at preventing whales and dolphins from suffering in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium. The Aquarium sought to overturn the Park Board bylaw passed in May, 2017 that bans confining whales, dolphins, and porpoises in Vancouver parks, including... Read more » Animal Justice

  • Vancouver Transit Police Target Animal Activist for Showing Slaughterhouse Footage

    by on March 16, 2018 - 0 Comments

    TransLink Transit Police in Vancouver have ticketed an animal advocate for spreading awareness of animal cruelty by showing farm and slaughterhouse footage to passersby on the street. Jeff Rigear is a former undercover investigator on Canadian farms who now runs TV Outreach for Animals. Mr. Rigear sets up a 42-inch television screen on busy streets... Read more » Animal Justice

  • Cooper (formerly Fox)

    by on January 28, 2018 - 0 Comments

    Hi SCARS. Cooper has almost been with us for a year. He is a very smart obedient dog, he enjoys his morning walks and loves all his cat and dog friends. He is the perfect fit for our crazy busy family, we can't imagine our lives without him. We would like to thank SCARS for

    The post Cooper (formerly Fox) appeared first on Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

    Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

  • Here’s Why #Februdairy is Already Totally Failing

    by on February 2, 2018 - 0 Comments

    Nice try, Big Dairy. The dairy industry recently launched #Februdairy, a social media campaign aiming to promote dairy milk during the month of February. But before the campaign could even officially start, it quickly became a marketing failure. When public caught wind, the Twitter hashtag exploded with the shocking truth about the dairy industry—focusing on... Read more » Animal Justice

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