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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

An Animal Welfare Year in Review – 2012

Are things getting better or worse for animals? Unfortunately animal welfare advances don’t happen in a long smooth line of progressive changes until the ultimate goal is met, but rather in steps forward and back, false starts and leaps ahead. Below are some of the decisions that advanced animal welfare in Canada (the good), set it back (the bad) and made us wonder if people knew it was 2012 (the ugly)!

The GOOD – Decisions that advanced animal welfare in 2012

1. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency laid 60 criminal charges against Brampton-based Maple Lodge Farms, for routinely allowing thousands of chickens to die from exposure to cold conditions during transportation from farm to slaughterhouse read more

2. Toronto city council recognized the needs of the Toronto Zoo’s three elephants and voted to move them to a sanctuary in California read more

3. The province of Quebec has created a provincial animal welfare body to help promote better caring for animals in the province.

4. Mississauga, ON and Toronto, ON join Richmond, BC in banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores – closing one more venue for puppy and cat mills read more

5. The Federal Court of Appeals ruled that the Minister of Fisheries must protect critical habitat for orca whales as outlined in the Species at Risk Act read more

6. Tim Hortons gave its pork suppliers until the end of 2012 to have clear plans in place to phase out gestation stalls read more

7. The Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association banned veterinarians in the province from cropping dog’s ears for aesthetic purposes because it says ear cropping causes unnecessary pain to dogs read more

8. The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) ordered the University of British Columbia to release details about their animal research program. This is a good first step in creating more transparency in how taxpayers’ money is used in public research facilities read more

9. Newfoundland and Labrador passes a new Animal Health and Protection Act which includes increased penalties. Pet stores and farms are now covered under the Act and the province has committed $50,000 to the SPCA Newfoundland and Labrador for education programs read more

10. After an international out-cry the Aquarium des Iles in Quebec released Zak and Mika, two harp seal pups back to the wild. Initially Fisheries and Oceans wanted the seals to be euthanized read more

11. The Canadian Transport Authority (CTA) found in favour of Air Canada and will allow them to discontinue the transport of non-human primates for medical research. The initial decision has been appealed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Queen’s University.

12. Darwin, the ‘IKEA monkey’, was taken to a sanctuary in Sunderland, ON where he will be able to live out his life with other primates read more

THE BAD – Decisions that set animal welfare back in 2012

1. In August 2012 several former Marineland trainers made scathing accusations against the marine park, however, by the end of the year very little had changed. read more

2. It was announced that Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, currently being built in Toronto, will be stocked with sharks caught from the wild. read more

3. A Senate committee approves a cull for 70,000 grey seals on the East Coast of Canada. read more

4. Canada continues to allow dog and cat fur to be imported from China. read more

THE UGLY – What were they thinking?

1. Robert Fawcett, the man who pled guilty to brutally killing at least 56 sled dogs in British Columbia, is given a small fine and no jail time. The BC court system missed an incredible opportunity to set a new standard for animal cruelty in the province. read more

2. Three horses died in the Chuckwagon races at the 2012 Calgary Stampede. Since 1986, more than 50 horses have died in these races. Chuckwagon racing is not an officially recognized event of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. read more

3. W5 exposed standard industry practices, such as castration without pain medication, confinement housing and “thumping” of piglets. These are acceptable industry practices for on-farm treatment of 27 million pigs raised in Canada every year for food. read more

4. The Saskatchewan SPCA reports a rise in the number of people performing do it yourself pet surgeries! read more

5. Security services deem environmental and animal rights group as an extremist threat to the safety of Canadians read more

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