Let’s Make 2023 Count for Animals
At Animal Alliance of Canada we’ve laid the groundwork for success this coming year. We’ve been striving for decades to bring about significant legislative changes regarding protection of all species of animals. Many of you have been part of this work, and have made your personal contribution to creating a better, safer world for animals in Canada. To better understand where we are going, let’s look back on what we did in 2022, work we accomplished with the help of our donors and supporters – work that we are convinced will make a big difference in achieving the legislative changes that animals desperately need.
New Team Members:
In 2022 we were pleased to add two more dedicated and highly skilled advocates to our team. Well-known animal advocate and investigative researcher, Twyla Francois, joined us to dig into the unacceptable use of animals used for research. And respected naturalist, prolific writer and founding Board Member, Barry Kent MacKay, is now a part of our team. Barry has been a long-time contributor to our work for wildlife and having him with us greatly expands our ability to work on campaigns to protect wild animals.
Animals in Research – Military Trauma Training:
AAC has been reporting on the abuse of living animals used to train military personnel by the Department of National Defence (DND) for several years. We’ve pressured previous Ministers of Defence to adopt alternatives for training that include human replicas (which bleed and move) instead of non-human animals, and enlisted your help to do the same. To push forward we need more information about what is really going on behind closed doors. We have been digging through reams of reports and information, and we are confident that soon we will be in a far stronger position to get the attention of our political leaders on this cruel form of exploitation. You can learn more about the DND and military trauma training by visiting AnimalsInWar.ca
Animals in Research – Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Critical Review:
In 2022 we completed a major review that exposes the disturbing reports about the type of animal research conducted in Canadian laboratories. If you have ever written to your Member of Parliament, you will know that the standard response is that they “care” about animal welfare and that there’s nothing to worry about because the CCAC sets and upholds Canada’s “high” standards of care. Our report, titled ‘Between the Idea and the Reality: A Critical Review of the Canadian Council on Animal Care’, exposes the secret that, in reality, the CCAC merely provides cover to governments across Canada sheltering the research community. The CCAC is a not-for-profit organization, not subject to public transparency or accountability.
The information about how animals are used in research in Canada has never been fully compiled until now, and the work we have done to complete this review has made Animal Alliance of Canada the leader in this issue. This report enables us to challenge the myth that animals used in research have any degree of meaningful protection. This critical review is an essential foundation for our work to come in 2023. The report is available at AnimalAlliance.ca/canadian-council-on-animal-care/
Animals in Research – Another report in the works:
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is the ministry that oversees the Animals for Research Act, legislation that governs the treatment of animals used in research in Ontario. Our report (in progress) examines the conditions that animals in Ontario laboratories are subjected to, and what we are learning is highly troubling. Once finalized, this report, along with our other investigations, will be an additional tool we can use to challenge the use of animals in research.
Canada’s commitment to ending cosmetic animal testing:
In 2022 we continued our participation in a coalition with Humane Society International/Canada to convince federal legislators of the importance of passing legislation to ban the use of animals in cosmetic testing. We expected Canada finally to pass a law that bans the use of animals in cosmetics testing, as well as the sale of products and their ingredients that have been tested on animals. There is agreement from both advocates and industry on the wording of such a bill. We are told the federal government just needs to decide how to get the bill passed in the most efficient manner. We remain hopeful that 2023 will be the year Canada joins over 40 other nations that have banned testing cosmetics on animals.
Protecting Wild Animals:
For more than a decade, we, along with allies, have been pressuring Parks Canada and Ontario’s Natural Resources Ministry to end their ill-conceived persecution of Double-crested Cormorants. We continued with our efforts to end Parks Canada’s yearly cull of these native birds on Middle Island, a small island in Lake Erie. In addition we filed requests for information from the provincial ministry regarding the results of Ontario’s first hunt of cormorants during 2022 and we will continue to push hard to get those reports.
We started work on a paper directed to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change asking that all migratory birds in Canada be listed on the Migratory Bird Convention Act. When the Act was first passed, some species were left off, leaving them unprotected. Our request covers all birds that migrate between Canada and the United States. Cormorants will be included in an updated list, as well as hawks and owls. Inclusion in this Act will provide national protection for persecuted birds like cormorants.
The Use of Poisons to Kill Wildlife:
AAC has been working for decades to stop governmental agencies from allowing the use of poisons to kill wild animals. Strychnine and Compound 1080 are two such poisons that cause painful deaths not only to the animals targeted for death, but other animals who might eat the baited food or the dead bodies of the poisoned animals. We have filed numerous Freedom of Information Requests to determine whether the Alberta government, that uses these poisons, has complied with Health Canada’s rules regarding their use. It appears that there is a long history of the Alberta government not following the requirements resulting in much animal cruelty and suffering. Our colleagues at the Animal Protection Party of Canada wrote a response to a Health Canada review of the use of the poisons and are awaiting the Ministry’s final decision. Our goal is to see the poisons banned.
Protecting Deer. Preventing Culls:
Oak Bay, a community in British Columbia that previously engaged in routine deer culls, is now employing the use of contraception to stabilize the number of local deer. We have interacted with that community, along with others in British Columbia, to promote non-lethal methods that facilitate peaceful co-existence among people and animals. We were pleased to attend a briefing on Oak Bay’s immunocontraception program focused on the Black-tailed Deer who reside in that community. Immunocontraception is proving to be an effective, non-lethal method and we see progress among some communities that formerly engaged in extensive culling. Nevertheless, the ongoing issue of deer culling by communities in British Columbia requires us to be ever vigilant.
The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES):
CITES is an international agreement among participating governments designed to ensure that the trade in wild animals and plants does not endanger the survival of the affected species. The AAC has been contributing to efforts to protect a variety of wild animal species from the harmful effects of international trade through CITES. This work will continue to be an important part of our efforts to protect wild animals in the coming year.
The AAC has applied to be an intervenor (participant) in the legal challenge launched by Animal Justice, of Ontario’s Bill 156, called The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act. AAC has hired our own lawyer who specializes in the Constitution to review this draconian law and present our arguments in court. This bill has made it even more difficult to expose what is being done to farmed animals behind barn doors, and we are committed to ensuring that this Ag-Gag bill is vigorously challenged. Project Jessie: Our revised Project Jessie programme, formerly a hands-on rescue campaign, continues to support and rescue domesticated animals (and sometimes wild animals) through a large number of grants that we have provided to groups working across Canada. We’ve given funds to several groups, some working in remote and poorly serviced regions of Canada, to assist with rescue, sheltering, adoption, and spay/neuter programming. You can visit ProjectJessie.ca for more information about grant recipients.
We are working hard to make 2023 the year when we make significant progress on some of our most critical campaigns. We invite you to join us, to make 2023 really count for animals.