Any other animal

Re: The Seal Hunt Is Dead, Thank God

Margaret Wente states that “killing seals is no more inhumane than killing pigs or cows or any other animal we eat.”

This isn’t a point in favour of the seal hunt; rather, it should be an indication of just how much we need to improve the welfare of animals that are used for the benefit of humans. We have a moral obligation to reduce the suffering of conscious creatures, whether they are on ice floes or inside factory farms. We should be trying to raise the bar, not lower it.

Note: This appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the Globe & Mail.

Shark bait

In response to fatal shark attacks off Australia’s southwest coast, it’s reported that Western Australia’s Premier is considering shark culls because of “locals’ complaints that shark numbers are increasing.” And where are the shark numbers increasing? “Off bustling beaches in one of Australia’s fastest growing population areas.” If only the sharks could appreciate the irony.

Note: This appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the Globe & Mail.

Animal welfare in Canada

Crystal Mackay of the Ontario Farm Animal Council claims that the recent report by the World Society for the Protection of Animals detailing the horrific abuse of farm animals in transport are limited cases and that a majority of the hundreds of millions of farm animals transported each year in this country are done in accordance with the law. But that’s precisely the problem that was outlined in the WSPA’s report: animal welfare laws in this country, and enforcement of these laws, are weak or non-existent. This causes excessive and unnecessary suffering even when these laws are followed, let alone when they are broken.

Animal welfare and the election

One issue that is continually ignored during elections is animal welfare. Considering that our national animal cruelty law dates from 1892, I feel that more needs to be done to address and improve Canada’s animal welfare laws. Last year, a few small amendments were passed increasing the penalties for animal abuse but leaving in place all the loopholes that allow animal abusers to escape punishment.

I want to hear candidates’ views on how to improve animal welfare. Will they commit to updating our anti-cruelty laws? Do they agree that Canada should support the international effort to achieve a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) at the United Nations?