I received this action alert from the WSPA today, regarding Canada's failure in making and upholding animal cruelty laws. This is not just about livestock. This is about puppy mills, dog fights, your angry neighbour beating his "pets" and the guy who "doesn't know he has to provide water to his horse". Less that 0.25% of people tried for animal cruelty are convicted; if a law is even in place to try them at all.
I have almost always been proud of the country that welcomed my Italian grandparents and East European father, treated them as equal citizens and allowed them to prosper. I loved that I grew up pretty much colourblind and with a strong sense of equality and human rights. I was always encouraged to speak up when I disagreed with the system and never feared that my voice would be silenced. These are the values that Canadian society instilled in me.
More and more though, Canada is garnering a poor international reputation for its wildlife and environmental policies (I am thinking the seal hunt and our attitude at the recent climate meetings off the top of my head). Since I live in Europe at the moment, i get to know pretty quickly how the world feels about my homeland, and I find myself defending, or feeling ashamed of, Canada more and more. Canada is so good at so many things and is a model for how a society should work. But everytime we take a step backward, in this case with regards to blatant animal cruelty, it becomes harder to highlight all the progress our nation has made and to lead other nations by example in the hopes that fairness prevails across the globe. In this video, you will see that Canada is behind all EU countries (plus Switzerland and Sweden) and even
I also think that unless we get our own national legislation in order regarding treating animals as sentient beings and not property, it will be difficult to convince other nations to take the first steps to do the same. This relates to the wild animal pet trade, the bushmeat crisis and other conservation issues.
One thing I have been thinking a lot about is banning pet stores from selling dogs and cats, yesterday it was revealed that San Francisco is putting forth legislation to do just that (http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jul/10/san-francisco-hits-nerve-with-pet-sale-ban-idea/). In Germany, it is already illegal to sell cats and dogs in stores, as a consequence there are no puppy mills and their animal shelters are by and far, no kill. Banning the sale of animals in pet stores would not destroy pet stores either. more than 70% of North American homes have a dog or a cat and these people spend more and more on perchadise and pet care every year. A slight switch from pet sales to pet merch sales would not be a big deal for pet stores. Tax payers would also save money since less animals would need to be euthanized, spayed, neutered and housed at pounds too.
You don't have to be an animal lover to see how he way Canada is treating it's animals is wrong. Please watch the video and if you agree that animals should not be treated this way, go to the WSPA website that will generate a letter (which you can personalize) to contact the MP for your riding. Thank You-MA
On Wednesday, Global TV aired an investigative documentary called "Revealed: No Country for Animals" which provides more evidence that Canada falls behind other countries in protecting animals from cruelty and abuse. The documentary was heart-wrenching for me to watch, but I believe it provides us with a great opportunity. If we can get politicians to watch it, they won't be able to turn a blind eye - they will have to do something about the many issues facing Canada's animals.
As someone who is passionate about animal welfare, I'm asking for your help. Contact your MP now: ask them to watch the documentary and encourage them to stand up against animal cruelty. Visit our website http://www.wspa.ca/curbthecruelty to take action now.