The Humane Society of Canada works to protect dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals, birds, horses, farm animals, lab animals 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, fund non-invasive scientific research, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
Our toll free number responds to thousands of calls each year from the public, and our staff are
The following are just a small sample of our initiatives:
Pets for Life/Rescue Me is a project to combat the greatest preventable cruelty inflicted upon dogs and cats - pet overpopulation. Each year in Canada, tens of thousands of unwanted dogs and cats are put to sleep because lasting, loving homes cannot be found for them. There are an estimated 7.3 million dogs and 8.3 million cats in Canadian households. Surveys indicate that at least 6 out 10 families share their homes and their lives with their pets.
In just six years, two dogs and their offspring can theoretically be the source of 67,000 puppies. Cats, able to have three litters per year, are even more prolific. In theory, over a seven-year period, two cats and their offspring can produce 420,000 kittens. The death of each animal shifts the blame away from irresponsible pet owners and on to the shoulders of humane societies who must bear the moral, ethical and practical burdens of coping with this problem.
We plan to adopt more animals and reduce pet overpopulation through a series of sustained long term initiatives involving engaging creative multimedia campaigns; by working even more closely with breed rescue groups, rescue groups, foster homes and animal shelters; through low cost spaying and neutering services and the use of non surgical methods; pet license and id fee differentials; and by improving lost and found services; by encouraging training courses for pet owners; and conflict resolution between landlords and pet owners.
Feral Cats have a tough life. We support carefully structured initiatives to humanely catch, vaccinate, spay/neuter and return them to colonies where volunteers can care for them. The best example of such an initiative is Rene Chartrand, the “Cat Man of Parliament Hill” in Ottawa who currently cares for 26 feral cats. We have also worked with the Cat Action Team in PEI and the Animal Assisance Society of Niagara assisting them in their spay/neuter iniatives.
Pet Recovery Team is an exciting program which builds on the success of our current efforts to help reunite lost pets with their families through a special network which includes giving each person’s pet a unique id tag bearing the person’s pet’s name and contact numbers. On the reverse side of the tag is a unique serial number keyed to the pet’s information, complete with The Humane Society of Canada’s toll free number which works from anywhere in North America. If a person’s pet is lost outside Canada or the United States, we will accept a collect call from anywhere in the world.
The Forest of Forever is our South American tropical rainforest preserve. Filled with the sounds of cascading waterfalls and exotic birds and animals, this nature preserve is in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. In honour of a person who has contributed their life and support to animals, we will plant a native tree in their name that will become a home for tropical wildlife.
Animal Rescue Network is used to support animal shelters, sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centres with expertise, training, financial support, strategies, goods and services. This includes rescue groups working with pets, horses and farm animals and wildlife throughout all regions of Canada and Internationally.
The Wildlife Biospheres Project has been established to accept donations of land of all shapes and sizes. Functioning like tiny “arks” to protect small ecosystems, these wildlife biospheres will continue to provide sanctuary for plants and trees and shrubs - and everything that walks, runs, swims or flies within them. We can also establish such “arks” in the name of a pet, person or a family. In the past we have funded projects to protect unique archipelagos in the Galapagos Islands and Madagascar, home to wildlife found nowhere else on earth.
Dogpatch is the name of a wilderness adventure park for dogs and their two legged companions. Located in the heart of Toronto’s Don Valley, this off-leash area is a three and one half acre enclosure. Phase I and II have been open for three years. We would like to begin Phase III which will contain a waterfall and rock pool for dogs, a canine obstacle course, web cams interfaced with our popular website and a host of other canine adventure features.
Humane Education is our most critical program because cruelty to animals encourages violence against people and our mission provides educational initiatives to teach children and adults about kindness towards animals and respect for nature. Our new and improved website www.humanesociety.com accompanied by news interviews and public service announcements are some of the critical elements in our efforts to create and sustain a truly ‘humane society.’
Disaster Relief, Rescue and Recovery for animals who are often the forgotten victims of disasters. We also advocate disaster relief planning and preparedness to reduce the risk of injury and loss to animals. We need funds for disaster relief mapping, purchase of equipment and the placement of caches in strategic locations. Three recent examples of our efforts include the wildfires in Kelowna, BC, Hurricane Katrina, the evacuation of pets at the native reserve at Kashechewan and the wildfires in southern California.
Pet Food Safety to ensure a secure healthy food supply and peace of mind for families and their pets. The Pet SAFE Program (Safe Animal Food Everywhere) is based on our Twelve Point Action Plan for Pet Food Safety which calls for laws, education, enforcement and random testing of food supplies and ingredients.
Undercover Investigations are mounted for complex animal and environmental protection cases and involve the use of cutting edge investigative equipment and techniques. We will expand on our ongoing liaison and work with law enforcement agencies like Interpol and the World Customs Organization.
Pegasus is our program to spirit horses to safety. Each year, under cruel conditions tens of thousands of horses, many of them discarded by the racing industry and PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) farms, are sent to slaughter. We have supported the passage of recent state laws and a federal bill in the United States to end these practices, however, we expect that these surplus horses will find their way into Canada in even greater numbers than ever before. We are also working to prevent the use of drugs and increase the age for the first race for horses to at least three years of age; and encourage insurance companies not to issue policies to racetracks which do not meet our rigorous safety standards.
Alternatives to the Use of Animals in Research are needed to replace the millions of animals killed each year in cruel and unnecessary laboratory experiments. Realistically animal experiments will continue for the foreseeable future. However, we need to come up with new solutions to old problems. Shielded from public scrutiny, accountability and laws, using tax dollars and donations, labs largely regulate themselves. New strides in technology and teaching methods allow researchers to obtain results by reducing or eliminating the use of animals. We also need to redouble our efforts to find alternatives including promoting better lifestyle choices and seriously crackdown on environmental polluters who diminish the quality of life for all of us.
Biotechnology and GMO (genetically modified organisms) are relatively new powerful scientific tools which can affect every living thing and we need to encourage safeguards to slow down the headlong rush to commercialize these organisms to ensure that our science doesn’t outpace our wisdom.
Save the Seals Now is our program to raise public awareness in order to stop the killing of seal pups (over 14 days of age) in what is the largest tax payer funded slaughter of marine mammals anywhere on earth. We continue to use a combination of public campaigns and support the passage of laws to ban the import of seal products in the primary markets. Initiatives are ongoing in Canada, the United States, the European Union, Norway and Asia.
Wildlife Aphrodisiacs involves public education campaigns with celebrities like Jackie Chan and the Conservation Awareness Campaign are designed to prevent the farming and killing of bears, tigers, rhinos and other species for aphrodisiacs and to offer alternatives where possible. One campaign, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places is one element of such a creative engaging campaign.
Whales and Dolphins are continually at risk in the wild from nets, pollution and disease and are killed by commercial fishermen who regard them as competitors. Wrenched from their family pods they are also captured and sold, destined to spend the rest of their lives in squalid concrete tanks. They are also captured and trained to kill as weapons of war. Our initiatives are designed to protect them in the wild, prohibit further captures, and we have participated in studies to rehabilitate and release formerly captive (including US Navy) dolphins back into the ocean. Whale Sentinel is a non-invasive research project designed to alert whales and dolphins to the presence of whaling vessels. We also fund a project that works with local fisherman to release marine mammals trapped in fishing gear.
Farm Animals include a broad range of livestock, birds and fish and our campaigns are designed to prevent the inhumane rearing, transport and slaughter of farm animals; and publicize the linkages between intensive rearing factory operations and environmental pollution (such as the Walkerton disaster) and predator control. Realistically, the slaughter of animals for food will continue and in the interim we need to remind consumers that just because an animal is destined for human consumption does not mean the animal should not receive humane treatment. We also encourage people to consider reducing the amount of meat in their diet to use up fewer resources, and to promote greater public health and animal welfare reforms.
Coral reefs are the undersea equivalent of tropical forests. Occupying less than 1% of the ocean floor they provide habitat for more than 25% of all marine life. They are affected by a wide range of human caused problems including commercial fishing, the pet trade, pollution; intense hurricanes and a rise in water temperatures which are directly linked to global warming. We are working to develop more creative public awareness campaigns to protect these undersea inhabitants and their homes.
International treaties can be a powerful tool to help people, animals and the environment. However, based upon our investigations, experience and that of many others such as Transparency International they are also subject to corruption and influence peddling. Left unchecked, politicians and civil servants may routinely violate the laws of the own country and international laws in making deals behind closed doors. Canada is a signatory to over 126 treaties, including the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the North American Free Trade Agreement (which includes the NAFTA Environmental Accords). Our ongoing campaigns as a non-governmental organization includes lobbying between plenary session and at Conventions of the Parties, reviewing and analysing tens of thousands of pages of documents and reports about a wide range of issues affecting people, animals and the environment; and working to ensure the public interest to offset the negative impact of international trade negotiations on people, animals and the environment.
Overfishing by Canadian and other vessels has resulted in the decline of two thirds of the world’s 200 major fisheries; with the balance heading for eventual commercial collapse. More than 25% of the world’s total haul is considered bycatch and is thrown away. Drag nets and other destructive methods destroy vital habitat, and result in the deaths of millions of sea birds, turtles, whales and dolphins. Even the World Bank and the World Trade Organization have said this is a badly over subsidized industry with too many vessels catching too many fish.
Animal Fighting involves investigations to uncover and stop the training and pitting of animals in a struggle to death for profit. In our own experience with undercover investigations, this also involves organized crime and conspiracy and includes illegal gambling, weapons and drug offences. Examples include dog fights and cock fights.
Cruelty Is Not My Style is a campaign of consumer awareness aimed at protecting animals trapped and ranched for their fur to produce luxury items made from wildlife as well as dog and cat. We are working to counter the efforts of the fur trade to wreck a European Union import ban on furs from wildlife caught in leghold traps, and this has included extensive Access to Information searches, two lawsuits, and ongoing public initiatives.
Animal Spectacles involve public campaigns against bull fights and rodeos in which man and animal are pitted against one another, racing against the clock for profit and entertainment. Rodeos in no way represent modern day livestock handling practices. We have used the passage of local bylaws to stop such events, undercover investigations, complaints to the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) about the broadcast code prohibiting violence against animals on television and shareholder resolutions and consumer pressure to discourage corporate sponsorship. One of our campaigns in development is Momma Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.
Cyberspace Cruelty towards animals and nature has surged on the World Wide Web and is increasingly being used to sell endangered wildlife species of animals, plants, mammals, birds and fish, and to coordinate the illegal commercial hunting and killing of protected species. It is also used by organized crime to facilitate the dumping of toxic waste particularly in developing nations, to organize remote control shoot and kill sites for canned hunts and to depict acts of cruelty to animals. Each day brings new information about the use of the internet by animal abusers. Our campaign works with law enforcement and other government agencies to react and to develop long term proactive strategies to deal with new and emerging threats to animals and the environment.
Animal on the Silver Screen is a campaign designed to monitor the training and use of animals in movies and television in Canada and abroad to ensure their safety and wherever possible use and develop alternatives such as computer animation to replace the use of live animals in action scenes. We are working to establish enforceable standards for productions filmed in Canada and for Canadian companies which film abroad, including a requirement that scenes depicting cruelty be removed from any broadcast or viewing of the final film.
Circus Animals lead a terrified existence. Taken from the wild, or bred in captivity, caged and transported from town to town, these wild animals are subjected to hundreds of hours of cruel training behind the scenes; and are doomed to a life time of captivity simply for entertainment. We continue to use undercover investigations, the passage of local laws and by lobbying insurance companies not to issue policies as a part of our strategy to stop the creation of any new circuses, phase out those using animals; and promote events which entertain and amaze without the use of animals. One of our campaigns in development is The Show Must Not Go On.
Zoos often claim that by keeping wildlife in captivity, we will appreciate them more and will work harder than ever to protect species and their habitat. If this is true, then we cannot imagine a more miserable failure because animals and their habitats are facing more clear and present dangers than ever before. Roadside operations are little more than petting zoos and escaped animals have killed or seriously injured people.Zoos in part, also encourage the keeping of exotic pets with sad consequences for the people who bought them and the animals themselves. Our investigations have shown that even respectable zoos have sold surplus wildlife that have later been used in so called canned hunts; and in other instances serve as a conduit for the illegal trafficking in wildlife. We are working to stop the creation or expansion of any new zoos, more tightly regulating existing major zoos which are funded by tax dollars and donations, phasing out roadside zoos with the animals going to proper wildlife sanctuaries, bans on the keeping of exotic pets, and positive education campaigns that protecting and respecting wildlife and their natural homes should not be predicated on the capture and enforced confinement of wildlife.
Great Apes are our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom. The most recent scientific analysis indicates that chimpanzees and humans occupy sister branches on a family tree with 99.4% genetic similarity. Next on the tree are gorillas, then orangutans, followed by Old World monkeys. Devastated by the trade in bush meat, disease, war, and habitat destruction, these intelligent social animals are facing extinction within the next two decades. In the past we have funded projects to protect chimps, mountain gorillas and orangutans and rescue centres. We want to expand these programs to include other primate species and new initiatives.
Silver Paws Program provides routine and emergency veterinary assistance to the pets of elderly people. The Silver Paws Card is a project in development to provide seniors with reduced fees for the routine and emergency care of their pets.
Wildlife Guardians is an ongoing campaign that is being expanded to include more wildlife species. With a $30 donation people can give a unique one-of-a-kind gift to a friend, colleague, family member or loved one. We include a beautiful animal note card with a handwritten message in fountain pen, a package containing a certificate of appreciation suitable for framing and a phtograph of the animal. Also included is a stuffed toy and a fact sheet on the threats facing the animal and how your money and concern is hard at work protecting whales, dolphins, sea turtles, elephants, tigers, lions, lemurs, bears, giraffes, gorillas and snow leopards.
Animal Guardians is a new campaign which is modelled after the Wildlife Guardians campaign and includes domestic pets and farm animals. Currently available are dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs and horses.
A Pet First Aid Kit and Manual has been developed to provide pets with emergency care until they can be transferred to a veterinarian. This compact kit and manual contains emergency first aid treatments and supplies and has been used in disaster and war zones.
Victims of Cruelty Fund provides emergency veterinary medical care for animals which have been the target of animal abusers. This is operated in conjunction with our Animal Cruelty Reward Fund which offers $1,000 or more for information leading to the arrest and conviction of animal abusers.
The Book of Remembrance is a special section on our website which each day receives over 1,000 visitors from Canada and around the world. This honours the lifetime achievements of people who have helped animals and also serves as a memorial section for the animals who have been a part of that person’s family life.
The Humane Society of Canada Special Donation can be made to The Humane Society of Canada either by mail, fax, website or phone. These lifesaving donations can be earmarked for a specific program of the donor's choice
Special Funds Named in Honour of A Pet, Person or Family can be established and supported by a gift, which can be used to provide help for the animal victims of cruelty, or other animal protection programs that the donor believes would be appropriate.These donations can be made to celebrate a special occasion, a birth, a wedding, an ‘in memoriam’ to remember a friend or relative that has passed on, a graduation, bar mitzvah, promotion, the loss of a beloved pet, or simply to express friendship or affection. We will send the person of your choice one of our beautiful cards with your personalized message handwritten with a fountain pen.
Monthly Animal Rescue Team is The Humane Society of Canada’s easy giving program. It offers you the ease and convenience of helping our animal friends through regular monthly donations to the HSC from your chequing or credit card account through preauthorized payments; and it allows the HSC to devote more time and precious resources to helping animals.The Humane Society of Canada depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. A number of our supporters choose to support us through special donations. The Humane Society of Canada Special Donation can be made to the Humane Society of Canada either by mail, fax, website or phone. These lifesaving donations can be earmarked for a specific program of the donor’s choice.