Modernizing Canada’s Animal Protection Laws

Canada’s animal protection laws are horribly outdated – they were first introduced in 1892 but no significant updates to the law have been made since 1954. Many people will be surprised to learn that among developed countries, we have some of the worst animal protection laws.

Attempts to change the law have been made in the past but, they have always been met with resistance from the public, industry and even members of the government. This has resulted in the defeat of any previous Bills. Recently a new private members Bill was introduced by Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith,  called Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protection Act. If it is passed it will essentially become the first ever change to Canada’s animal protection laws in over a century.

While it is no surprise that this Bill is again meeting with opposition from hunters, sport fisherman, the fur industry and agriculture, it was deeply disappointing and shocking to know that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked his cabinet to vote against Bill C-246. Yes, the Prime Minister of Canada wants to stop this bill from being passed. This cannot happen – all Canadians must speak up and tell our government that it is unacceptable to further delay passing laws that would protect animals.

Among other thing Bill C-246 would do 4 things
  • Ban the import of shark fins
  • Close loopholes and strengthen the Criminal Code’s animal protection provisions; and
  • Ban the sale of cat and dog fur within Canada and require labeling of source fur
  • Update the definition of bestiality to include all sexual acts between humans and animals (the current legal definition, as decided by the Supreme Court of Canada on June 9, 2016, must include penetration)

Canada, Animal Welfare, Animal Rights, Bill C246, Modernize Animal Welfare, shark fins, cat and dog fur, animal cruelty, Animal Alliance of Canada

How to help

For Canadians visit Animal Cruelty Legislation Advocates Canada

  • Please contact your MP  and ask them to support BIll C-246, you can find your MP by entering your postal code here
  • Write them a letter, or use this form letter, call, email  or ask for an in person meeting
  • Take the 1 minute survey here to ask PM Justin Trudeau that he must support Bill C-246 (Modernizing Animal Protections Act) and ask his cabinet to do so as well
  • Considering supporting Animal Alliance of Canada’s work to help pass this Bill

Petitions that anyone can sign:

For more information on Bill C-246 please visit:

Finally, please share this whether you live in Canada or elsewhere, we need to let the Canadian government know that the world is watching and that people everywhere support Modernizing Canada’s Animal Protection Act Bill C-246.

Universal Message

I came across some cute educational videos by a Spanish organization called FAADA, the Foundation for the Assessment and Action in Defense of Animals, that I though were worth sharing. Their website is in Spanish so I had to rely on translation, please forgive me if it’s not exact.

FAADA exerts actions and campaigns for the protection of all animals in order to educate and raise awareness on the protection and defense of non-human animals, from different perspectives, linked to the defense of nature and ultimately, life.”

The organization is a non-profit for the protection of animals and works in four areas:

• Advice to individuals, organizations, companies, governments and bodies of authority
• awareness campaigns, education and outreach
• Legal Department (development and monitoring of complaints of abuse and neglect)
• political level local government, regional, national and international Lobby

Two of the videos launched address awareness of pet overpopulation, abandonment, identification and micro-chipping, and the other speaks to the importance of sterilization or spay and neuter.  They are a fun way to get across the very serious issues facing cats (and dogs) in Spain. Regardless of where you live animals everywhere can benefit by the universal message in these videos so please share.

The importance of identifying animals

The importance of sterilizing your animals

FAADA can also be found on Facebook.

Betrayal

I have always admired veterinarians, for their compassion towards animals as well as their ability and instincts to care for patients that could never tell them what was wrong or were it hurt.

Veterinarians take an oath to promote animal health and welfare and to also work to relieve animal suffering. However veterinarian Kristen Lindsey from Texas seemed to miss that part when last week she posted a picture of herself posing with the body of a dead cat. She had shot the orange tabby cat with a bow and arrow and was boasting about the kill on Facebook where she can be seen smiling with the body. The image besides inciting a great deal of anger, reminded me of how trophy hunters pose with their kills.

The image was blurred on some media but the original can be seen here

Cats, Texas, Veterinarian, Kristen Lindsey, Murdered cat with bow & arrow, Boasted about it on Facebook, Texas Veterinarian killes cat Mother takes pictures, animal abuse, cruelty to cats in Texas,

Along with the disgusting image, the caption on the photo is telling of her callous nature and actions that mirror the behavior of a sociopath. In my eyes this is a not only a crime committed against an innocent animal, but also a betrayal to the veterinarian oath she took.

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She had no fear of repercussions apparently which was reflected in the comment section of her post where she wrote “no I did not lose my job. Lol. Psshh. Like someone would get rid of me. I’m awesome!”. The poison apple doesn’t fall far from the tree either, as the legitimacy of the image was called into question and Kristen’s supportive mother writes that it was indeed real and that she took the picture.

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The backlash on Facebook was furious and Kristen’s page came down pretty quick but not before people grabbed screenshots. Washington Animal Clinic where she worked immediately issued a statement and proceeded to fire her. Pictures of the crime made the rounds and surprisingly, or maybe not, people defended her actions. Veterinarians who looked at the photo determined that the orange tabby, who had been shot through the head, was STILL ALIVE when she took this picture.

Cats, Texas, Veterinarian, Kristen Lindsey, Murdered cat with bow & arrow, Boasted about it on Facebook, Texas Veterinarian killes cat Mother takes pictures, animal abuse, cruelty to cats in Texas, Stop animal Abuse, Feral Cats, Homeless cats, TNR works, Ban hunting, Hunting is cruel, Hunting promotes violence, Justice for Tiger, Justice for Tiger Facebook page

Image – Justice for Tiger Facebook page

I have a lot of words to describe Kristen Lindsey, none of them good. I do not think she deserves forgiveness nor sympathy, and she should be shown no mercy for her actions. The orange cat was later identified as Tiger, he was known as a sweet cat who would join his owner as she drove through the farm, and from this video you can see Tiger was well-loved.

Tigers owners are now in the process of filing charges against Kristen Lindsey and have asked the public refrain from harassing her and her family, even though the murder of their beloved cat is a horrendous crime, as it may affect the case.

Over the past few days more disturbing news has come out about Kristen, including a blog she maintained where she wrote “...about finding the meaning of happiness, killing things or trying to kill things (animals, a full glass of whiskey, hangovers, etc), my friends… hunting with my dad and better yet…learning from my dad as we hunt.”

The case is far from over as the investigation gets underway but there are several petitions to sign, including this one by Change.org, to revoke her vet license and help ensure she is prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows. Alley Cat Allies is also offering a $7,500 reward for hard evidence that can be used to get a conviction.

On Facebook two pages in support of Tiger now exist where you can get regular updates about the case Justice for Tiger and Justice for Tiger The cat murdered by Kristen Lindsey.

Animal abuse and cruelty is wrong and should never be considered acceptable in our society whether the act is committed by an average person or by those we put in high regard, like veterinarians. Sadly we still have a long way to go but must continue to advocate for better laws and for ways to prevent it from happening. For Tiger and all the animals like him, we must ensure their deaths were not in vain.

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The link between animal abuse and cruelty to humans has been well documented and recently the FBI has made animal cruelty a felony with its own category — the same way crimes like homicide, arson and assault are listed. While these are important steps it will take the actions of individuals everywhere to make change.

Learn how to recognize animal cruelty, report it, advocate for better laws and lead by example where you live.

In the US please check out the  ASPCA and, in Canada Stop Animal Abuse, both offer resources for ways to help make a difference.

 **********UPDATE********

On April  21, 2015 as reported by the Associate Press:

“A Texas sheriff has asked for an animal cruelty charge against a veterinarian who bragged on social media about killing a cat with an arrow. Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes said Tuesday that results of his department’s investigation have been submitted to District Attorney Travis Koehn. Koehn says his office “will carefully review this matter.”

Manifesto For Cats

Cats are awesome and amazing creatures who hold us captive with their mystery and grace, always managing to leave us wondering what they are thinking. Throughout history they have either been worshiped or persecuted, and if you read the headlines it seems more of the latter is taking place. Thankfully there are many cat lovers speaking and standing up for them, making the world a better place for both owned and homeless cats.

The voice for cats just got a little louder thanks to Cats Protection the UK’s leading feline welfare charity who announced their Manifesto for Cats.

Manifesto for Cats, Cats, Kittens, Cat rescue, Kitten rescue, Homeless cats, Cat Abandonment, animal shelters, cat rescue league, Cats Protection, UK, Cats Protection Feline welfare League,  priorities designed to benefit cats, owners and society as a whole, tighter regulations on licensing air guns and banning use of snares, control breeding and sale of kittens by unscrupulous breeders,  prevent growing number of unwanted cats

“In this General Election year, 2015, we’ve launched our Manifesto for Cats and will be calling on the new Government to put in place measures to protect cats from abandonment, harm and neglect. After a three-month public consultation 93 per cent of participants agreed with all of our 10 suggested manifesto priorities which are designed to benefit cats, owners and society as a whole.”

Some of the key points of this Manifesto include:

  • Tighter regulation of licensing of air guns, banning the use of snares, both of which cause unimaginable pain and suffering to cats on a daily basis
  • Measures to control breeding and sale of kittens by unscrupulous breeders
  • Updating the Dangerous Dogs Act to allow prosecution of dog owners whose dogs
    attack, injure or kill cats
  • Inclusion of animal welfare in the National Curriculum so all children learn about
    responsible pet care
  • Government recognition of the needs of people with cats or other companion animals in rented housing and care homes to allow people to keep their pets
  • Government recognition of the benefits which cats and other companion animals
    bring to health and personal wellbeing when an individual’s care needs are assessed

Cats Protection put together a touching video where cat lovers share their personal stories and ask the policy makers to help bring about the long overdue and much-needed change to improve the welfare and lives of cats. Some of the people in the video recount how their own cats had been killed or injured in ways that this manifesto is trying to address, reduce and prevent.

If you live in the UK, or have friends there, please share and support this, for more click here

Cats Protection is pleased to be working with Government and to be presenting our first ever Manifesto for Cats. Delivery of the manifesto would improve the lives of thousands of cats and prevent them from harm.”

The Four Seasons

Seasonal changes are welcome, and if you are like many spring and summer are the most eagerly anticipated. For animal shelters and rescue groups spring is also the time when they become inundated and overwhelmed with litters of kittens. So what do the seasons have to do with it?

“Cats are seasonally polyestrous. This means they will have repeated heat cycles over a year unless they are bred, and the heat cycles are influenced by the seasons. The mating season in cats is determined by a number of factors, including the length of daylight, environmental temperature, and the presence of other cats.” – Pets.WebMD

Winter

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Most people know the benefits of spaying, but the reason behind ensuring it is done before the spring kitten rush, may be less obvious.

The reason there are so many programs aimed at early spay/neuter of cats comes down to biology and understanding the female cats reproductive system. Animals 24-7 explains why winter can be a crucial time to ensure females are spayed, preventing “a successful winter mating season” and future litters.

“December the 21st is the start of the winter season, marking the shortest day of the year with each succeeding day becoming longer. The incremental increasing lengths of daylight that begin after December 21st are being received through the eye and sent by the queen’s (unspayed non-sexually active females) optic nerve signaling this fact to the pituitary gland which, in turn, makes a hormone signaling the ovary that it’s time to make follicles!”  Biology is cool and amazing.

The follicles = eggs and estrogen. Estrogen turns a queen into “a vocal tom-seeking maniac.” Let the games begin!

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Cats are considered to be primarily induced ovulators, which means mating causes them to ovulate. A cat will continue to go into another heat cycle unless she breeds or the daylight factor takes over.

Spring

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“Shelters call May, June and July the kitten tsunami season, as there are multiple litters arriving per day!” – Image Wikipedia

“March 20th begins the gestation/delivery/nursing season. By this time all unspayed queens are in various stages of the active breeding cycle. Queens who mated in January will be delivering their litters starting in mid-March.”

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” It’ s 61-63 days later that an average of three to five kittens are born. Then, two months (8-9 weeks) later the kittens are weaning.

Summer and Fall

Once the days start to shorten on June 21, the first day of summer, kittens and cats of all all ages abound and some queens will get pregnant a second time if given the opportunity.

Cats, Kittens, Spay cats early, Cat Rescue, The Four Seasons of cat biology, Early spay is critical to reducing unwanted litters, Femail cats should be spayed, Male cats should be neutered, Spay cats as early as 8 weeks old, Spaying helps reduce the cat overpoplulation, Cats in winter, Cat in summer and fall

The traditional calendar reports September 23rd as the beginning of the fall season. Pretty much by the end of August, cycling (periods of a cats heat) has stopped. This means closure as the current kittens are weaned generally making fall a period of feline tranquility until the next winter breeding season begins.

Depending on where cats reside this pattern can vary slightly, however the message will always be the same regardless of geography, and that is spaying female, and neutering male, cats early reduces the number of unwanted litters.

Monsters In The Playground

The other day I happened upon a story about a cat named Quattro, and to be honest it has taken me a few days to process, if I had written this any earlier it might have been filled with a lot rage and foul four lettered words. I have seen a lot over the years, things that will be with me forever and Quattro’s story is one of them. Thinking about what that cat went through made me cry, and while it’s a terrible story it’s one that needs to be shared with the hopes somebody out there knows something and that enough people can demand those responsible be brought to some sort of justice.

To date this is the information available. On May 7, 2014 Quattro the cat was beaten by grade school children (possibly grade 6) with bricks near a playground in New Jersey. Another boy witnessed this and was able to rescue Quattro from the abusers but not before the poor cat suffered deadly injuries.

Among some of the injuries Quattro’s legs were fractured, his eye so severely damaged it had to be removed, jaw fractured, blood and pus in brain and his nails ripped from his paws in his attempt to escape this vicious attack. Quattro was beaten so gravely that he succumbed to his injuries.

Cat, Quatrro, cat abused, children, New Jersey, May 2014, USA“One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.” – Anthropologist Margaret Mead

For one I cannot imagine the fear or pain that this cat suffered…at the hands of children, or I should say monsters. The fact that these kids had the thought to use a brick to inflict suffering on another creature is beyond disturbing. Not only do these children need to be found and punished, their parents should also be charged. In what way are kids being raised that makes them even think about doing something like this?

Animal abuse needs to be taken more seriously as kids who commit crimes like this will likely do it again and, for the fact that animal abuse is a proven link to abuse towards humans. The justice system needs to step up to ensure maximum punishment for all abusers is more than a slap on the wrist. Society as a whole needs to work towards finding ways to make sure events like this never occur in the first place.

A petition has been started demanding that New Jersey Police start an immediate investigation to find those responsible for this crime. I am asking every person who reads this to please sign this Petition and share Quattro’s story as it cannot be allowed to be forgotten.

Finally, to the one brave child who stood up to help Quattro, thank you.