VANCOUVER, November 11/2003 – By rejecting changes to the Criminal Code which would have meant more jail time for animal abusers, the Senate has given a green light to encourage violence against animals and people says The Humane Society of Canada. Last Friday, a number of Senators voted to return the proposed amendments to committee, effectively killing the bill. With Parliament likely to prorogue with a call for a new federal election, the Bill for greater sanctions against animal abusers, along with many other important Bills, will almost certainly be lost. This is the third time over the last twenty years that Parliament has refused to get tough on animal abusers says the animal charity.

 

“Cruelty towards animals leads to violence against people,” says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. “The FBI considers cruelty to animals one of three primary indicators of criminal potential. Scientific studies have shown that there is also very real relationship between animal abuse and a host of other crimes including child abuse, wife beating and murder,” he says.

 

“That this violence is being encouraged by a group of politicians who were never elected and who are accountable to no one only underscores the need for a major overhaul of Canada’s federal political structure,” according to HSC Executive Director, Michael O'Sullivan.

A long running investigation by The Humane Society of Canada found that animal industries which use tens of millions of animals each year have been hard at work lobbying politicians to let them do whatever they want to animals.

Canadians care deeply about the protection of animals, even if politicians don’t, says The Humane Society of Canada. Surveys have shown that 6 out of 10 households have pets, with an estimated 6.25 million dogs and 6.43 million cats sharing our homes. One out of every three Canadian households feed and watch wildlife, and 95% of Canadians support the protection of wildlife and the environment. Less than 5% of Canadians engage in the recreational killing of wildlife.

Consumers have also demonstrated that they will pay more for products that are the end result of more humane practices. The phasing out of PMU horse/foal farms with the news that the drug Premarin causes health risks for women; followed by the tainted meat scandals, environmental damage from factory farms, bans on the use of pesticides, and a public outcry against genetic engineering are all examples of where change is inevitable. Offering cruelty free cosmetics and organic foods are other examples of where consumer driven awareness and purchasing preferences is driving change.

And all of these trends offer hope and encouragement according to The Humane Society of Canada.

“We can either whine about how useless these political hacks are, or we ignore them and get on with doing the job they don’t have the guts or the brains to do. Namely to protect animals, people and nature,” explains O’Sullivan.

The Humane Society of Canada has three major long term plans to deal with this political travesty of justice: The first is to redouble our efforts to educate children and adults from all walks of life about how to prevent cruelty. The second is to use educational campaigns to put animal abusers and environmental outlaws out of business using the purchasing power of the consumer dollar. The third is implement a program to provide a support role to law enforcement officials with the investigation, preparation and prosecution of animal abusers and environmental outlaws to the fullest extent of all existing laws to protect animals and nature.

“All of the problems facing animals stand on two feet. To create and sustain a truly ‘humane society’ means we need concerted responsible action by Canadians from all walks of life. Politicians can lead, follow, or get out of the way,” says O’Sullivan.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[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 was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We 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, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

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