Animal Alliance of Canada (AAC) was formed in August 1990. In 1998, Animal Alliance produced a document titled “A Ten Year Retrospective”. The document examined AAC’s successes and failures in protecting animals. The document concluded that despite almost a decade of work where AAC had significant victories for animals, the state of the environment was deteriorating and there was little protection for most animals.
In 1999, Animal Alliance formed Environment Voters, the political and electoral arm of Animal Alliance. Environment Voters was involved as a “third party” in elections at the federal, provincial and municipal level across Canada. The intent of Environment Voters was to hold politicians accountable during elections for their animal protection and environmental records.
In early 2000, the federal government passed legislation severely limiting the role of third parties in electoral politics. Environment Voters participated in a number of challenges to the law. In a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, the government’s law was finally upheld essentially neutering any effective third party influence.
AAC decided to test the waters to see if it was feasible to form the first animal rights political party in North America. Thanks to an overwhelming response from our supporters, AAC received notice from Elections Canada that we had been accepted as a political party and were pending registration upon full completion of the requirements. On December 10, 2005, the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada (AAEVPC) received official party status.
AAEVPC ran only one candidate in the January 23, 2006 election: Liz White, the leader of the party, in Toronto Centre. AAEV was founded by people associated with Animal Alliance and Environment Voters – two organizations that have campaigned in elections since 1999 to promote progressive environmental and animal protection policies at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. AAC and EV campaigned to elect candidates and parties with good environmental and animal protection records and to oppose those with poor ones. Since 1999, the groups have participated in over 50 campaigns. In 2016 AAEVPC was renamed the Animal Protection Party of Canada (APPC) and continues to advocate for animals and the environment (see AnimalProtectionParty.ca).
Below is a brief summary of just some of our significant victories for the animals.
In 1991, we proposed that Agriculture Canada amend the Health of Animals Regulations in order to stop the importation of sick, injured and genetically compromised puppies from the United States. The regulations were passed, resulting in a 73% decline in the number of puppies coming into Canada.
Pound Release and Research
We have won bans on the sale of lost pets for experimentation from municipalities in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Newfoundland and Manitoba. According to Canadian Council on Animal Care statistics, the Province of Quebec uses the largest number of dogs and cats for experimentation, followed by Ontario. AAC continues to fight to end the sale of lost pets to research across Canada, focusing on Quebec and Ontario as the largest users. Ontario’s Animals For Research Act mandates the release of pound animals to registered research facilities in the province.
Cows – rBGH
We were part of a coalition of organizations responsible for convincing the federal government to ban the use of rBGH, a bovine growth hormone, in dairy cows. The ban remains in place today.
Hunting – Bear spearing
We were instrumental in banning bear spearing as a method of hunting in both Saskatchewan and Ontario.
Trade in Bear Galls
We were instrumental in shutting down most of the trade in bear parts in Canada.
For 10 years, Animal Alliance reviewed thousands of “downer” reports, animals who are non-ambulatory for numerous reasons. In 2005, we finally won a national ban on the transport of downer farm animals.
In 2007 we won a significant victory when the City of Kelowna was denied a permit to kill 200 Canada geese, making it difficult for other municipalities across Canada from getting such a permit. For over 10 years we have defended Canada geese from massive slaughter as is happening in municipalities all across the United States.
Trapping and Hunting
As a result of several tragic incidents, we have worked to implement hunting and trapping bans in several municipalities in Ontario and Alberta where the incidents occurred. The City of Guelph has passed a model by-law which largely bans leghold and conibear traps. We will be sending the model by-law to all municipalities across Canada.
Cormorant Slaughter at Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Between 2004 and 2006, Ontario Parks staff killed over 10,000 cormorants at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Culling has not occurred since. However, Ontario Parks staff sought the right to cull cormorants for an additional 10 years through the Environmental Assessment Act. Animal Alliance, in co-operation with other animal protection organizations, intervened in the EA process and convinced the Ontario Environment Minister to limit severely culling actions by Ontario Parks. We continue to monitor the situation to ensure that parks staff adhere to the EA directives. Point Pelee National Park: Parks Canada is also killing cormorants on Middle Island, a bird sanctuary that is part of Point Pelee National Park. Parks Canada claims that the birds, who are native to Ontario, are destroying the island. Despite our battle to stop the slaughter, Parks Canada has killed thousands of cormorants. We intend to continue the fight until Parks Canada ends their war against cormorants and decides to protect them.