April 8, 2012, VANCOUVER – With Easter just around the corner The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is asking people to help animals during this holiday, by not buying or giving small animals and birds as gifts.
“One of the biggest mistakes that parents can make at Easter is to surprise their children with rabbits, chicks, ducklings or other animals,” says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. “Every beautiful chick and duckling grows up into a large bird with specific needs that don’t fit in with the lifestyle of most households. Children suffer when they have become attached to the birds which are taken away at some point. Because they are so small and sensitive, often chicks and ducklings are harmed by children.”
Parents should also be concerned about chicks and ducklings because they can cause Salmonella poisoning which has been linked to these birds. “Considerable heart ache for everyone involved can be avoided by not getting these animals for children at Easter,” states Hickey.
Rabbits are also popular Easter gifts and can live up to 10 years of age or more, according to The HSC Chairman & CEO Michael O’Sullivan. “Many people do have rabbits as pets, however, they require housing, a special diet and veterinary care. Generally speaking, like most holidays, Easter is a hectic time of year, and if you decide to include a rabbit as a part of your family, it’s better to wait until after the holiday and make sure that everyone is willing to pitch in and help with its care.”
The Humane Society of Canada applauds those retail pet stores that have agreed to stop selling rabbits, chicks and ducklings due to the high numbers of these animals that end up unwanted and in shelters looking for new homes – and we ask all remaining pet stores to make a nationwide commitment to stop selling rabbits, chicks and ducklings at Easter time.
“Those who want and can provide a good home should consider adopting an animal in need,” recommends O’Sullivan. “Check our website www.humanesociety.com, local humane societies, SPCAs, animal shelters or a rescue group to see if there are rabbits waiting to be adopted.” The Humane Society of Canada supports a number of rescue groups who care for rabbits and wildlife.
Chocolate, found in abundance in many homes at Easter, can be deadly for pets and even harmful for people warns O’Sullivan.
“Chocolate is toxic to animals and can result in death,” says O’Sullivan. “Some chocolate is also harmful to people. Lindane, a dangerous pesticide that is a hormone disruptor and which has been linked to breast cancer and birth defects, is sprayed on cocoa crops in some countries. If you are going to buy chocolate you should consider purchasing organic, fairly-traded chocolate which is better for the consumer, those who harvest the crops and the environment,” recommends O’Sullivan.
Easter is a fun time, but it can also result in pets and people being exposed to dangers not typically present at other times of the year. For example, the green artificial grass in Easter baskets can cause gastrointestinal blockages if consumed by pets. Educating others about potential Easter dangers will help to keep people and their animal companions safe.
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.
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