THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF CANADA (HSC) URGES MORE CANADIANS TO LEND A HAND

VANCOUVER, August 9th, 2002 - The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) wants to encourage the involvement of thousands of animal protection organizations and is also asking Canadians to redouble their efforts to help drought stricken livestock in Alberta and Saskatchewan. "Millions of animals and thousands of farmers and their families are suffering, and they need all the help they can get," according to Al Hickey, Western Regional Director for the charity. "For the second year in a row, the Prairies have been hard hit by drought, and this has affected over 3 million cattle, horses and other animals," said Hickey.

Although tons of hay has already been donated, there are a reported 6,000 farmers in Alberta and Saskatchewan," explained HSC Executive Director, Michael O’Sullivan. "We want to help as many of their animals as we can. We also want to get badly needed hay to horses affected by the disaster", said O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan is also concerned that governments fail to make the connection between treaties like the Kyoto protocol and the drought on the Prairies. "Global warming and other forms of human caused pollution are disrupting weather patterns worldwide. And yet elected officials and civil servants are looking for ways to avoid our responsibilities to this generation and our children who will feel the impact for decades to come. Instead of having teams of lawyers looking for loopholes, and making decisions based on re-election campaigns, they ought to listen to weather forecasts. This needs to be a critical area of discussion and agreement between all of the Premiers and the Prime Minister," said O’Sullivan. "While some politicians have said they want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need actions, not words."

"The dramatic social and economic costs to people, animals and the environment should never have been ignored in the first place. No politician ever elected to any office has been given a mandate to ignore such a clear and present danger to Canadians from all walks of life," he said.

For the past 30 years, O’Sullivan has worked extensively with livestock here in Canada and in over 85 different countries. He has worked on farms and he also holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph.

O’Sullivan who has coordinated disaster relief efforts before for livestock and horses in war zones like Kuwait, says that while the donation of hay is critical, transportation, communication and distribution are also key priorities for a successful relief effort. And that costs money.

The Humane Society of Canada is donating $1,500 to the effort and is encouraging the public to donate funds to support the relief effort by calling their national toll free number 1-800-641-KIND or by visiting their website at www.humanesociety.com. The organization is a registered charity (BN# 13730 3343 RR0001) and all donations will be gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes.

"All of the funds collected will be used to offset costs associated with the delivery of the feed to the starving livestock. As we promised from the very beginning, not one penny will be spent on administration. Our disaster relief efforts will end only when there is no more hay and no more funds to transport it," he said.

Anyone who would like to help those affected by this drought can contact the Humane Society of Canada by calling our national toll free number 1-800-641-KIND (5463) or by visiting our website at www.humanesociety.com

More background information on Farm Animal Disaster Relief can be found below:

CONTACT: Al Hickey or Michael O'Sullivan by calling toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has 6 grandchildren.

A father with two small children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, O'Sullivan has worked in Canada and in over 85 countries during the last 30 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, livestock, lab animals and the environment. They carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, fund scientific research, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

FARM ANIMAL DISASTER RELIEF BACKGROUND

WHAT IS FARM ANIMAL DISASTER RELIEF?
It is a campaign to ship hay to drought stricken western farmers to feed their cattle, horses and other animals. Along with many other dedicated individuals and organizations, our role is to be a catalyst to help out with the current crisis which is a symptom of a much greater problem, namely global warming which is disrupting weather patterns here in Canada and around the world. Politicians need to pay attention to the dramatic social and economic costs to people, animals and the environment. We need to live up to our responsibilities to this generation and our children who will feel the impact for decades to come. We need to ratify the Kyoto accord, and the Premiers and the Prime Minister need to get serious about reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are harming us each and every day. While some politicians have said they want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need actions, not words. No politician ever elected to any office has been given a mandate to ignore such a clear and present danger to Canadians from all walks of life

HOW AND WHEN DID IT START?
During the week of 21 July 2002, The Humane Society of Canada was the first animal protection organization to step forward with an offer to help with a donation of $ 1,500 and to assist organizers with the coordination of the relief efforts. We want to encourage the involvement of the thousands of animal protection organizations and we are also asking Canadians to redouble their efforts to help drought stricken livestock in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Millions of animals and thousands of farmers and their families are suffering, and they need all the help they can get.

HOW MANY ANIMALS ARE AFFECTED BY THE DROUGHT?
Hay is being shipped to ranchers who own at least 3 million cattle, horses and other livestock reportedly affected by a drought, which has occurred for the second year in a row in Alberta and Saskatchewan. There are a reported 6,000 farmers living in these provinces. We also want to get badly needed hay to horses affected by the disaster.

HOW MUCH HAY HAS BEEN DONATED SO FAR?
Over 800 tons of hay has been donated to help animals.

WHAT IS THE MONEY BEING RAISED FOR?
To pay for the transport of hay. We are asking to have these services donated wherever and whenever possible, and in circumstances where this is not possible, then funds will be used to pay for transportation upon presentation of verifiable invoices outlining reasonable costs.

HOW MUCH MONEY HAS BEEN RAISED SO FAR?
The Humane Society of Canada made an initial offer of $1,500 and including this donation since that time we have raised a total of $5,305 to help the animals.

WHERE HAS THE MONEY COME FROM?
From members of the public and The Humane Society of Canada ($ 1,500).

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE MONEY LEFT OVER?
All of the funds collected will be used to offset costs associated with the delivery of the hay to the starving livestock. As we promised from the very beginning, not one penny will be spent on administration. Our disaster relief efforts will end only when there is no more hay and no more funds to transport it.

HOW LONG WILL FARM ANIMAL DISASTER RELIEF LAST?
The relief effort will continue as long as there is hay and funds available.

HOW CAN PEOPLE MAKE A DONATION TO HELP WITH FARM ANIMAL DISASTER RELIEF?

  • The Humane Society of Canada by calling toll free 1-800-641-KIND or by visiting their website at www.humanesociety.com. The Humane Society of Canada is a registered Canadian charity (BN # 13730 3343 RR0001) and all donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes.

WHAT IS THE STATUS ON SPRAYING THE HAY FOR THE CEREAL LEAF BEETLE?
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is arranging and paying for the spraying. They advise that the hay can be fed to the cattle with no adverse effects from the spraying.

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH RANCH GETS THE HAY FIRST?
By relying on the advice of farmers, hay will be provided to animals where the need is greatest. There are a reported 3 million cattle, horses and other animals, and 6,000 farmers living in Alberta and Saskatchewan. We also want to get badly needed hay to horses affected by the disaster.

HOW IS THE HAY DISTRIBUTED TO RANCHERS?
We are asking to have these services donated wherever and whenever possible, and in circumstances where this is not possible, then funds will be used to pay for transportation upon presentation of verifiable invoices outlining reasonable costs. We also want to get badly needed hay to horses affected by the disaster.

WHAT GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ARE INVOLVED IN THE RELIEF EFFORT?
So far, the Alberta Government has promised $ 324 million in additional relief, the Saskatchewan Government is offering up to $220 million as a part of its drought relief assistance aid. The Government of Canada is providing for the cost of fumigation, some of the costs associated with loading the hay onto trains. As well, the Canadian forces are providing advice for the hay shipments. We are still trying to convince the Governments of Manitoba and British Columbia to lend a hand.

WHO DO WE CONTACT FOR UPDATES?
The Humane Society of Canada will be posting regular updates on our website www.humanesociety.com. We want to ensure that we acknowledge the efforts and kindness of every single person and agency associated with Farm Animal Disaster Relief.