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Animal Justice Urges Government to Fund Animal Testing Alternatives & Plant-Based Food

Animal Justice August 9, 2018

Animal Justice is urging the federal government to fund innovative industries that save the lives of animals by creating humane, animal-free products. Specifically, Animal Justice is asking the government to invest in developing alternatives to animal testing, and invest in growing Canada’s burgeoning plant-based food sector.

The federal government is currently consulting on 2019 federal budget priorities, focused on economic growth and ensuring Canada’s competitiveness. Animal Justice’s submission, filed last week, suggests opportunities that improve life for animals while supporting animal-friendly economic opportunities.

Animal Justice is seeking funding for the new Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM). The first of its kind in Canada, CCAAM was set up at the University of Windsor in 2017, and has a mandate to develop and promote scientific research, teaching, and toxicity testing methods that do not require the use of animals.

Canadian researchers used over 4.3 million animals in cruel experiments in 2016, an increase of over 20% from 2015. Conventional medical research relies heavily on animal models of disease, even though it is difficult to reliably translate results in animals over to human patients because of significant biological differences between humans and other animals. Scientists around the world are already at work developing animal-free methods because they are more reliable, accurate, and cost-effective. Not only do these animal-free alternatives spare millions of animals from death and suffering, they also represent a significant economic opportunity for Canada as the field grows.

Animal Justice is also asking the government to invest in the plant-based food industry, which is growing at an astonishing rate. People are incorporating more plant-based food products in their diets to protect animals, human health, and the environment. A preliminary draft of Canada’s new Food Guide, released in 2017, also suggests a shift toward recommending that Canadians eat more plant-based foods.

The global meat alternatives market is valued at $4.33 billion and is expected to reach $6.43 billion by 2023. Meanwhile, the global plant-based milk market is set to reach $16.3 billion by the end of 2018.

The federal government has already recognized the economic potential of the plant-based sector, investing $150 million in the industry through the Innovation Superclusters Initiative in 2017.

Canada is already one of the largest producers of flaxseed, canola, oats, and durum wheat, and the third largest producer and exporter of pulses, with the highest yields in the world. With further government investment, Canada is well-positioned to become a powerhouse in the field of plant-based protein. The exponential growth of the plant-based market promises to create a more profitable and competitive economy for Canada, as well as ensuring long-term sustainability in the changing economic landscape.

Have your say! Contact your Member of Parliament to urge them to include animal-friendly initiatives in the 2019 federal budget.

 

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Animal Justice

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New by-law bans zoos & animal circuses in Sault Ste. Marie

Animal Justice July 16, 2018

Sault Ste. Marie just passed a progressive new animal care and control by-law that will mean greater protections for animals. Among other things, the by-law enhances animal care standards, bans circuses from using live animals in performances, and prohibits new zoos from operating in the City.

No More Animals in Entertainment

Sault Ste. Marie is the first Canadian city to take the huge step forward and ban keeping animals captive in zoos. Unfortunately, the only zoo in the City—the notorious Spruce Haven Zoo—has been exempted from the ban by a vote of 6-5, but the by-law will still prevent new zoos from popping up in the future.

Last year, Prince Edward Island became the first province to restrict the use of exotic animals in circuses. Now, Sault Ste. Marie is following suit, banning circuses and events in which any animal is required to perform for the entertainment of an audience. Unfortunately, equestrian shows, dog and cat shows, horseracing, sled dog racing, and aquarium displays are exempt, but the City still deserves some credit for the changes.

Some other highlights of the comprehensive new animal care and control by-law include:

  • New animal welfare rules, including a ban on collars that may restrict an animal’s ability to breathe or swallow.
  • Mandatory sterilization of cats over 6 months of age.
  • A requirement that animals be kept on premises that are free from unsanitary conditions that may disturb the enjoyment or comfort of the animal, or that may endanger the health of the animal.

Animal Justice celebrates this leap forward for animals in Sault Ste. Marie, and urges other municipalities to follow suit.

 

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What You Can Do About False Animal Welfare Labels on Meat, Dairy, and Eggs

Animal Justice May 3, 2018

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a “What We Heard” report about its planned overhaul of Canadian food labelling regulations. What We Heard reports are issued after stakeholders are consulted on proposed policy changes; themes in stakeholder feedback are identified and summarized.

What does food labelling have to do with animal protection, anyway? Meat, dairy and egg packaging often tries to present products as animal-friendly, using terms like “free range,” “cage-free,” “grass-fed” and “family farm.” These labels suggest to consumers that animals were raised in a certain way and may convince them to buy or even pay more for animal products with these labels.

If labelling laws are lax, there is no incentive for producers to improve conditions for animals, because they can mislead consumers instead of making actual changes. In addition, consumers who care about animals may be led to believe that so-called humane agriculture is kind for animals. The truth is that most consumers believe conditions for animals are much better than they actually are.

Now, the CFIA wants to make labelling regulations even weaker than they already are. It wants to make animal welfare and other so-called “consumer values” claims its lowest enforcement priority. Instead of proactively defining and standardizing claims about how farmed animals are treated, the CFIA thinks consumers should be forced to contact companies themselves to find out what their animal welfare claims mean.

But consumers have no way of verifying information provided by companies. Meanwhile, companies stand to benefit financially from misleading consumers.

Animal Justice participated in the CFIA’s labelling consultation. We told them that animal farming lacks transparency, that government must ensure consumers can make informed choices, that animal welfare claims must be regulated, and that regulation is the responsibility of government, not consumers or industry.

We also mobilized Canadians to take action, guiding you through the online feedback process.

It seems that our concerns have been heard: in its What We Heard report, the CFIA wrote:
“Many questioned how the model would achieve a consistent approach regarding the meaning of claims or criteria for making claims.”
“Some consumers and consumer associations thought they may not have the resources (e.g. time, influence, money, knowledge, education, access to information, etc.) to fulfill their role as part of this model. There were concerns that if this is the case, it could become “buyer beware” in the marketplace.”
“Stakeholders stressed the role of government in providing guidance on how to avoid misleading claims.”
“Effective enforcement was mentioned as critical to the success of the model and to avoiding consumer deception when CFIA intervention is needed.”

Unfortunately, however, the CFIA also noted that 84 percent of stakeholders were in favour of the proposed policy changes. Not surprisingly, support was greater among industry than consumers.

What can you do?

The CFIA has correctly identified the concerns with loosening labelling regulations. Now, they need to act on them. Tell the CFIA to crack down on misleading labelling by signing our petition!

 

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Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / Animal Equality

Animal Justice

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    by on July 11, 2018 - 0 Comments

    I wanted to give you a little update on Figaro. It's hard to believe that we've had her for nearly two months! She's settled in beautifully and we LOVE her. We've come to know her as a very sweet, quirky little kitty. She always seems to be near us, frequently comes for pets, sleeps with Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

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    by on June 25, 2018 - 0 Comments

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    by on July 28, 2018 - 0 Comments

    Hey SCARS, Pitch here just wanting to give a 1 year update. I found my furever home last year when my mama came to look at my brother storm. I made such an impact on her that she ended up taking me home instead! My mom says I’m such a panther! I love telling her Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

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