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B.C. Wants to Let Hunters Chase Terrified Cougars With Dogs

Animal Justice January 17, 2018

British Columbia was in the news late last year for the incredible move to ban grizzly bear hunting province-wide. But the province is still no paradise for other animals. The B.C. government is quietly preparing to weaken a long list of hunting and trapping regulations, leaving cougars, wolves, black bears, and other wild animals exposed to hunters’ bullets and the cruel snap of a fur trap.

B.C. officials may hope that compassionate people will be too distracted by the grizzly hunting ban to notice that many other animals will suffer and die as a result of these disturbing regulatory changes. Not on our watch. Animal Justice has compiled a list of the regulations that are set to be gutted, and now you have an opportunity to comment on them before January 19.

Here’s a list of the disturbing changes:

  • Extending the wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island, even though officials acknowledge they do not have solid evidence to indicate the health of wolf populations.
  • Allowing hunters to chase cougars with dogs in the Okanagan Region after they have reached their cougar bag limit. The stated rationale for this is to allow hunters to train and exercise hunting dogs.
  • Doubling the number of cougars who can be gunned down in the Peace Region, from one to two.
  • Extending the spring black bear hunt in the Peace Region by two extra weeks.
  • Allowing increased, year-round deer hunting on some parts of Vancouver Island, as well as increased elk hunting.
  • Allowing turkey hunting on Vancouver Island and the Kootenay Region. Turkey hunting is not currently permitted.
  • Allowing hunting, without a permit, on Mayne Island.
  • Extending the season for killing elk near Kamloops—from 10 days to 50 days.
  • Allowing hunting in Silver Star Provincial Park, north of Kelowna. Currently, no hunting is permitted in the park.
  • Extending the deer hunting on Saltspring and Gabriola Islands, from 10 days to 90 days.
  • Creating a new mountain goat hunting season near Sleeping Chief Mountain.
  • Removing a hunting ban on certain public lands in the Peace Region.
  • Creating a new elk hunting season near Lower Cowichan.
  • Allowing rocky mountain elk hunting in the Skeena Region.
  • Allowing mountain elk hunting in the Perkins Peak and Cherry Creek areas.
  • Expanding bighorn sheep hunting around Taseko Lakes.
  • Allowing snowmobiles and ATVs to be used to hunt cougars, bears, and wolves in South Chilcotin.
  • Allowing mountain goat hunting near Nahatlach River Provincial Park.

The government is accepting comments on the proposals until January 19. Here’s how to have your say:

  1. Visit the Hunting/Trapping Regulation website, and select “Login” at the top to register for your own BCeID account. (Tip: Choose the Basic BCeID option.)
  2. Follow the links above to leave your comments on the proposed new regulations. Let the government know that you oppose increased hunting and trapping, hunting in provincial parks, and harassing cougars with dogs.
  3. Email your B.C. MLA and politely ask them to speak up against increased hunting and harassment of wild animals.

When the B.C. government ended the grizzly bear hunt, they stated that gunning down innocent grizzlies was no longer socially acceptable. We agree. It’s also not socially acceptable to kill and chase cougars; trap wolves; allow a spring bear hunt; gun down goats, elks, turkeys, and sheep; and hunt in provincial parks. Please take action before it’s too late to protect these vulnerable animals from a brutal death at the hands of hunters and trappers.

 

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Animal Justice

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Canadians Just Forced the Government to Address Animal Welfare in Slaughter Laws

Animal Justice January 15, 2018

Last year, we told you that the federal government is overhauling Canada’s decades-old slaughter regulations as part of a food safety modernization initiative. We told you that in the entire introduction to the update (over 22,000 words), animal protection wasn’t even mentioned once.

We explained the many ways that the proposed slaughter rules would permit inhumane treatment of animals. We submitted a detailed critique to the government, and mobilized you, our supporters, to do the same.

We’re pleased to tell you that the government has heard us. In the recently issued ‘What We Heard Report‘, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) identified a lack of attention to animal welfare as a key theme that emerged from the public consultation period.

According to the CFIA, 1717 written submissions were received, many of which “supported further strengthening the proposed animal welfare requirements, including a petition signed by Canadians in support of recommendations for more humane treatment of animals.”

In particular, “more precise training protocols, and specific and stronger language were requested for the humane treatment of animals prior to, and during, slaughter.” The CFIA will now revisit the draft regulations, taking this feedback into account.

Our specific criticisms of the draft slaughter regulations were:

  • live-hanging of birds (who represent 97 percent of animals killed for food in Canada) is still allowed, even though this method is known to cause horrific pain and fear to the sensitive creatures.
  • they fail to address the well-documented margin of error on fast-moving slaughter lines—many animals are improperly stunned and drowned, scalded, or skinned alive.
  • sentient aquatic animals like fishes, crustaceans, and octopuses are entirely excluded from slaughter rules.
  • non-stun (ritual) slaughter continues to be permitted, even though it’s opposed by veterinary and animal welfare organizations around the world.
  • cruel electric prods continue to be permitted.
  • government inspectors aren’t required to always be on-site during slaughter.
  • the proposed rules use are difficult to enforce due to vague wording. For example, instead of setting out exactly how much space each animal should have, they simply require animals to have “sufficient space.”
  • the agriculture industry will be allowed to define values claims such as “free range,” even though these marketing terms are deliberately used to mislead consumers.

Thank you to the countless compassionate animal advocates who spoke up! Sometimes it can feel discouraging to fight against the billion-dollar animal agriculture industry, which has the ear of government officials and often gets its way. But we have justice and compassion on our side, and together, we are making a difference for animals. Our voices are starting to be heard, and those voices will only get louder in the years to come—all thanks to you.

We’ll keep you updated on the next steps in forcing the government to take animal protection seriously in its regulatory updates. 

To help, please sign up to our mailing list and stay tuned for ways to get involved.

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur /Djurrattsalliansen

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Animals Are Freezing To Death on Canadian Slaughter Trucks Right Now

Animal Justice January 5, 2018

Canada is experiencing an especially frigid winter, with temperatures feeling as low as -40° C even in southern parts of the country like Toronto.

Many people will ride out this cold snap in the comfort of their homes, or bundle up if they must face the frosty outdoors. Environment Canada issues extreme cold weather alerts to protect people from frostbite, cities open up warming centres for homeless individuals, and schools even cancel outdoor recess periods when the temperature plummets.

But for the millions of chickens, pigs, and cows trucked to slaughterhouses everyday in Canada, it’s business as usual—even in frigid extremes.

Canadian animal transport slaughter truck slaughterhouse livestock

Animals are routinely transported to slaughter in open-sided vehicles, with no heating systems to protect them from the dangerous cold.

Canada’s animal transport laws are among the weakest in the western world, and there are no restrictions that lay out minimum or maximum temperatures in which animals can be transported. In brutally cold weather, animals routinely arrive at slaughter frostbitten or even dead from weather exposure. Workers at Canada’s largest slaughterhouse, Maple Lodge Farms, which kills half a million chickens every day, have described chickens arriving to slaughter, frozen solid like “hockey pucks” and “popsicles”. Government statistics show at least 1.59 million animals arriving dead at slaughterhouses every year.

Canada’s outdated transport laws haven’t been revised since the 1970s, and a recent proposal by the federal government to update the rules still fails to restrict animal transport during extreme weather, or require climate control for trucks.

Existing transport laws are ineffectively enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and even when investigations and prosecutions do take place, penalties are not strong enough to motivate industry to protect animals from the cold. Maple Lodge Farms, for example, has been repeatedly convicted and fined for allowing animals to freeze to death, yet still operates using the same inadequate trucks.

In 2018, Animal Justice will continue to fight archaic transport laws, and to protect millions of animals from the extreme suffering they endure on Canadian farms.

To help, please sign up to our mailing list and stay tuned for ways to get involved.

Join the Animal Justice mailing list

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Animal Justice

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