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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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The End of Iditarod and Canada’s Complicity in Sled Dog Cruelty

Animal Justice March 19, 2018

This is a guest post from Fern Levitt, the award-winning documentary filmmaker behind Sled Dogs, the first film to expose the brutal reality of the dogsled racing and tourism industry.

March 3, 2018 marked the start of the 46th annual Iditarod dogsled race in Alaska, and I was there at the ceremonial start. Not as a filmmaker embarking on another documentary, but to stand with others in protest of this “last great race”.

The lavish opening ceremony is in sharp contrast to the humble beginnings of the race itself: In 1925 teams of sled dogs and mushers transported a life saving serum over 1000 miles to the remote village of Nome, a town inflicted with an outbreak of diphtheria. Despite sub-zero temperatures and gale force winds, the teams of sled dogs made the route in record time and the entire town was saved. The mushers and dogs were considered heroes and celebrated throughout the United States.

The Iditarod began in 1973 as a race to commentate the 1925 Serum Run. It retraces the very same route and has become the biggest sporting event in Alaska, bringing thousands of tourist dollars to the town of Anchorage.

Mushers boast of their love for the canines and say they consider these dogs super athletes and beloved members of their family.

But in recent years, reports of animal abuse, infighting and dog-doping scandals have shattered the myth of a noble partnership between musher and dog. Sponsors have dropped out, no longer willing to be associated with rumours of animal cruelty.

My personal relationship with the Iditarod started quite unexpectedly in 2010 when my husband and I went dogsledding in Northern Ontario.

When our two-day trip was over, we went looking for where the dogs lived. Down the road we were stunned to find a field of more than 200 dogs, living in what I considered to be heartbreaking conditions.

Over two hundred dogs, many running endlessly in circles, lived at the end of a chain. They had plastic barrels or dilapidated wooden shacks as their only shelter against freezing temperatures. Some of the dogs’ ribs showed through their emaciated, filthy bodies. Some dogs barked furiously to get our attention, others sat quietly with downcast eyes and tails between their legs. It was the one of the most quiet, passive dogs that we chose to take home with us that very day—our beloved dog Slater, who at nine years old, had lived on a chain his entire life.

It was because of Slater that I, as a journalist, felt compelled to make a documentary about the Iditarod, the world’s most famous sled dog race. For over a year my film crew and I followed an Iditarod rookie musher, who trained and raced two-year-old dogs for champion musher Mitch Seavey, (who recently has been accused of dog abuse by his former handler, Jane Stevens).

The sled dogs in Alaska live under similar conditions as the sled dogs in Canada—hundreds of them tied to chains with plastic barrels as shelter. The dogs spend most of their time alone on the chain except when on training runs for 40 to 80 miles and more each day, preparing for the race.

What we documented as a film crew was not a unique breed of canine athletes, as racers often claim. What we saw were thin, frightened dogs who cowered when examined by the Iditarod’s veterinarians during the race. We saw dogs with severe dehydration and exhaustion.

Over 150 dogs have died since the inception of the Iditarod, yet every year the race continues. Many more are killed—including puppies who are drowned or otherwise disposed of—because they don’t make the grade or the mushers can’t afford to keep so many dogs. Shockingly, culling healthy dogs is not illegal in Alaska (or the rest of the United States and Canada), as dogs are considered property and killing them is the right of their owners. Meanwhile, compassionate people understand that dogs are sentient beings with emotions and intelligence, capable of feeling pain and stress, or happiness and joy. Our laws must catch up to societal attitudes.

So I went back to Anchorage to stand in hope that the chains will finally be broken. There is now speculation that the Iditarod, the last great race, just might be coming to a shattering end, hounded by animal cruelty and doping scandals.

Here at home, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the public and our lawmakers to ignore the vast suffering that is endemic to the Canadian sled dog industry. From the Whistler sled dog massacre, to the sickening video footage earlier this year from Windrift Adventures in Ontario, to the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest race, people are seeing the dark side of this industry. Please take action today—call on our politicians to help the thousands of dogs used in Canada’s own dogsledding industry. Dogs deserve so much better than the misery of life on a chain.

 

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Vancouver Transit Police Target Animal Activist for Showing Slaughterhouse Footage

Animal Justice March 16, 2018

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 in Vancouver, and plays video footage exposing brutal conditions inside modern farms and slaughterhouses. He hands out leaflets and speaks with pedestrians about veganism to inspire personal dietary change and help save farmed animals from unimaginable suffering.

Mr. Rigear was recently approached by several transit police officers while doing outreach near a transit station. According to a letter filed by a lawyer for Mr. Rigear, the conduct of the officers was “extremely disturbing”. They rudely accused him of enjoying the slaughterhouse video, then told him repeatedly that they did not like his footage. Disturbingly, one officer suggested that he should “just smash [the] TV”.

The officers then had a lengthy discussion about how they could charge Mr. Rigear, and which laws they could accuse him of violating. They eventually issued him a ticket for soliciting transit users. However, the law is clear that soliciting requires an attempt to get money or other items of value from a person. Mr. Rigear was not asking for money—he was distributing information, and engaged in his constitutional right to express his views on animal cruelty, which is an important topic of intense public and social interest.

Animal Justice is concerned by this apparent attempt by TransLink Transit Police to target an animal advocate for his views. Animals have no rights of their own, which is why we regularly fight to protect the rights of advocates like Mr. Rigear who are targeted by law enforcement while engaged in lawful activities.

We will continue to monitor this case as it proceeds through the court system.

 

 

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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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