Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two good things... BRAVO Toronto City Council!

Toronto council has made some good decisions in the past week.

First, Toronto Zoo's elephants finally get to go to a climate and place that better meets their needs. Surprisingly, it is the councillor for my Ward that put forth motion - good JOB Michelle Beranedetti!

Berardinetti said councillors could be assured the elephants would not be moved again but would stay in the spacious facility, which includes an elephant sized whirlpool to treat arthritis.

The Galt, California PAWS sanctuary for old and ailing animals will allow Toronto's elephants to live out their lives in a climate more suited to their nature and with 80 acres to roam, will more clearly approximate a natural environment for them.

I am cautiously pleased that society is finally recognizing the wrongs we have enacted against these magnificant creatures with their sensitive natures and complex, complicated and rich culture and making serious attempts to rectify them.

Toronto city council then voted and approved a motion to ban the sale and consumption of shark fins - joining 3 other cities in Ontario in an effort to stave off the very real potential of extinction of this magnificant species of fish.  Rob Stewart, who produced the documentary Sharkwater, detailing the terrible toll being taken on sharks throughout the world, was jubilant:

I think it will set a precedent morally that Canada wants to ban shark fins and I think a federal ban will follow shortly after,” he said. “When your biggest city comes out and says 38-4 that they want a world where sharks have a future, I think the federal government will act, too.”

While disappointing, I'm not surprised at the disgruntled comments which accompany the article in the Star.

You know what, people? City council is EXACTLY where it should start!  The reality of the horrific practice of cutting of the shark's fins and then throwing them back to drown MUST be stopped- and it can and will start with the individual, move up to local government , then to the provincial and THEN to federal.   Read and watch these videos if you really think this barbaric practice should continue (warning, graphic and upsetting).

REAL change starts from the ground up- kudos to City Council for taking on these challenges

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Slaughter of the Innocents

On Tuesday, October 18, just before killing himself, Terry Thompson opened the doors of the cages in which the more than 50 (number is disputed but seems to range between 45-55) exotic animals he owned lived their sad lives and released them to run wild. See the story here, in the Wall Street Journal here and in the Columbus Dispatch.

Ohio has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets and among the highest number of injuries and deaths caused by them.
Apparently, there had been numerous complaints about how the animals were treated over the years, resulting in investigations but no action. Various media report that several different organizations (including a horse rescue) had at one time or another visited the farm in response to allegations of cruelty, neglect and failure to ensure a healthy environment. Due no doubt to the extremely lax laws in Ohio respecting ownership and care of, exotic animals, no repercussions ever occurred and he continued to collect wild animals.

Officers arrived in the area, armed with assault weapons and proceeded to slaughter the confused, frightened and disoriented animals. Sheriff Matt Lutz insisted it was all about "public safety" ... yet as noted below:

There, Lutz said, they found Thompson dead outside his house and “every single animal-cage door open.”Lutz said the deputies saw a number of animals standing outside their cages, still on the property, while others had escaped a fence that surrounds Thompson’s property. Deputies immediately began shooting animals, he said.
It sounds very much to be as if local law enforcement took full advantage of the situation to indulge themselves in big game hunting. From the number of stories I have perused, it was daylight when deputies first arrived - and they IMMEDIATELY opened fire. I am confused as to why tranquilizer guns were not an option nor why they did not immediately seek the help of individuals cognizant of how to deal with exotic wildlife.

While I understand the need to protect citizens, nothing I have read thus far indicates the animals were in any way out of control at that moment. Shooting, wounding and frightening them no doubt DID increase the level of aggression and I would think contributed to their running away.

I do not believe there is ANY place for individuals to "own" exotic wildlife. An understanding of their species, a commitment to creating a humane and positive environment, and the very expensive reality of feeding and housing diverse species is simply beyond the capabilities of most private individuals. Even relegated and government-approved zoos have difficulty keeping in the black - private individuals inevitably cut corners and create environments that are, quite simply, horrific for most animals.

The reality is that the mindset that prevailed for the past many years that you can "own" lions, tigers and bears (and other species) is simply immoral and untenable. Science has clearly revealed the complex societies which exist among the various species are far more nuanced and complicated than man had had ever envisioned. There is a growing awareness that keeping animals in small cages is cruel and inhumane and that IF they are to exist among our society, then money, knowledge and awareness MUST ensure that their environments are suited to their temperaments and needs.

Animals are NOT in this world to create a sideshow for the common man.

Animals are NOT in this world to provide "entertainment" or form a source of quick income.

We have a responsibility to recognize that we share this world with creatures which are different but not inferior to the human species. We are already decimating their natural environments; if they are reduced to living their lives in public arenas, then the very least we can do is provide them with a viable place in which to live out their lives.

The real victims in this tragedy are the animals. First, they are relegated to substandard care and from all accounts, neglect and then, already having been abandoned and ignored by the law, they are then slaughtered. I maintain that there must have been SOME way of ensuring that at least a percentage of these animals could have been captured alive and unharmed; they were, after all, fairly cognizant and familiar with human beings.

This goes for circuses which use animals; many stories have been written about the excreable conditions in which the Shriner Circus keeps its animals.

This goes for Marineland - where whales which are meant to swim the vast ocean are relegated to pools which would be equivalent to living in a bathtub
ZooCheck Canada aptly and tragically details many of the atrocities which occur daily here in our own province.

Deprivation and suffering are the hallmarks of roadside zoos is their motto. Visit their pages and enlighten yourself as to the atrocious and horrific conditions animals are living in RIGHT now in your own neighbourhood.

And as for Terry? I hope he rots in hell.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lest we forget ... vote LIBERAL, vote TO CONDEMN OUR ANIMALS

Below is a letter from Lynn Perrier, Founder of RAWW. What she relates here is the truth. We are in danger in this province of allowing complaceny and a lack of interest to condemn the animals of this province to yet another long endless term of neglect, disinterest, cruelty and gross negligence.  The reality is that it is MCGINTY who gave the OSPCA the obscene powers they currently hold. It is HIS government that condemned THOUSANDS of innocent dogs to die - because of how they look.  Tomorrow, give the animals of Ontario a fighting chance- and vote ANYTHING but liberal.

If you are an animal lover or pet owner your vote in this election has never been more important. You may have been lucky enough to not ever have had an animal issue to deal with which brought the OSPCA to you door. Consider yourself fortunate.

OSPCA and the McGuinty government do not have the welfare of the animals of Ontario on their agenda. OSPCA is mandated to protect animals from cruelty when in fact they are the ones who are cruel. In case you missed all the headlines in May 2010 they planned on killing 350 animals at the shelter in Newmarket. A leak to the press, public outrage and PC MPP Frank Klees demands in the Legislature to stop the killing prevented them from killing all. They managed to kill 102 before they were stopped.

Once caught they claimed it was because of a ringworm outbreak. An investigation by Justice Patrick LeSage and Dr. Allan Meek (which is still posted by direction on OSPCA website found there was no outbreak of ringworm and no justification for the killing. It is rumoured they wanted to renovate the building and its easier to renovate an empty building than one filled with animals. In fact they did renovate after that to the tune of $250,000 lowering the capacity of the shelter to 155 animals from almost 400. To date they have never had it filled with much more than a few cats, a couple of dogs and mostly mice and guinea pigs while they continue to claim they have limited resources are not funded by the government. A naive public send in donations which typically go towards such things their annual meetings at Casino Rama or how about the recent trip to Florida for a meeting by 13 OSPCA staff. That folks is how they spend donor dollars, not for the animals. The Barrie branch of OSPCA recently sent out a public plea for food and donations because they only had 22 cans of pet food. How does anyone justify keeping a government in power who lets an organization like this run amok. You can be sure their spin doctors will manage to find photo ops to make themselves look wonderful.

OSPCA tax return for 2009:
This organization has intimidated and extorted money from farmers and pet owners alike. Around May this year they settled out of court with a farmer whose animals were seized for no reason. You see what they do is seize them and either the owners pay exorbitant amounts to get their animals back or they put them in auction and sell them. Either way the money goes back to OSPCA to squander. The farmer in question should have had his animals returned but when they judge ruled OSPCA must return them, they handed the farmer a bill in the amount of $123,000 for boarding his animals. He didn't have the $123,000, never saw his animals again, lost his farm because of all the legal fees and attempted suicide. What about Rocky the beautiful 14 year old Husky dog in Etobicoke. Rocky was a little arthritic, he sometimes walked slowly, was on medication, well looked after by his vet and loved by his owner who is a school teacher. In June Rocky's owner put him in the backyard where he usually slept when she went to work. The garage door was open enough for him to get in where there was a bed and water if he wanted it. A new neighbour seeing Rocky sleeping under the tree thought he was dead and called OSPCA. OSPCA took Rocky from his own yard and killed him. At no time did they try to locate his owner but what is even worse they didn't even bother to check Rocky's microchip. If they had it would have led them to his vet.

In the meantime, Mr. McGuinty turns a blind eye to this and will not acknowledge a problem. You see his government gave OSPCA their powers. If he acknowledges their abuse of those powers then he must admit he was wrong in the first place. He will never do that so OSPCA continue their reign of terror on the animals of Ontario. There are many, many, many stories similar to these. If you care about it please do a Google search on OSPCA ringworm, OSPCA horse farmer, OSPCA cattle farmer, Dundas, OSPCA Frank Klees, OSPCA Jim Sykes, OSPCA heartworm in Ontario, OSPCA Katrina dogs, OSPCA Kevin Strooband, OSPCA Rocky.

I am pleading with all of you who love animals to please get out and vote against the Liberals to ensure the McGuinty government and their animal hating party do not get in once again. Your vote has never been so important. We can not let this happen. Tell everyone you know to get out and vote. Drive them to their polling stations if you must but please vote. Every vote against the Liberals will be a vote for our animals. Do not let them be abused any more by a government and system that don't think they are important.
If you are an animal lover you can not let this happen.
Lynn Perrier
RAAW Reform Advocates for Animal Welfare
(Ed.Note: - my empahsis - selkie)