May 3, 2003, VANCOUVER - Be Kind to Animals Week is a great time to celebrate our relationship with our pets, and to reflect on the way we treat other animals says The Humane Society of Canada (HSC). "A simple act of kindness can go a long way towards improving the life of any animal," says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. "In a world filled with danger and uncertainty, animals are our friends, our companions and our protectors."


"Pain and suffering are indeed cruel facts of life. No one should ever believe that we can completely eliminate them from our own lives or the lives of animals. But the cruelty and suffering we inflict is a different matter entirely. That we can prevent from ever taking place," says HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan believes that empathy and respect for animals needs to become a part of our culture and says that this is the only way to build and sustain a truly ‘humane society’: "There are benefits for animals and humans, because cruelty towards animals only leads to violence against people," he says.

"This week is also a good time to ensure that people with pets are doing everything they can to ensure their ‘best friends’ health, safety and happiness," says O’Sullivan. "Even people who are providing excellent care for their pets can learn of more ways to help their animals. For example, putting an animal emergency alert sticker on the door of your house can alert people that your pets are inside and may need assistance in an emergency situation. These stickers are available from The Humane Society of Canada. Emergency wallet cards and first aid kits are also available."

"Support animal organizations that fight animal cruelty and care for pets who need help," suggests O’Sullivan. If a financial donation is not currently feasible you can donate your time. One of the best ways to help pets in need is to become a spokesperson for the wonderful animal companions who are waiting in animal shelters and pounds to be adopted. Encourage people who are looking to adopt a pet to start their search in these facilities. You can even write letters to the editor about the pet overpopulation crisis and the excellent pets available in shelters and pounds."

Ten Simple Acts of Kindness

  • Spend more time with your pets including exercising, playing with and grooming them.
  • Support organizations that help animals and protect the environment.
  • Help out with the pet overpopulation crisis. If your pet has not been spayed/neutered see your veterinarian about having this important procedure done - and educate others about the importance of having this minor operation done.
  • Be respectful of the environment, which all species need to be healthy. Eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides and practice the 3R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle).
  • Support companies (and when you’re making vacation plans, countries) that have good track records concerning animal welfare and the environment and don’t support those who don’t.
  • Contact your political representatives and ask them to make laws affecting animals and/or the environment stronger and more effective.
  • Allow part of your property to revert to a more natural state by planting native trees, bushes and flowers, so that wild animals will have more shelter and food.
  • If you’re looking at adopting a pet, start your search at an animal shelter or pound and consider adopting an older cat or dog who make wonderful companions. Learn what your pet will require. Educate others about the joys of adopting pets in need.
  • Report cases of animal cruelty and neglect.
  • Teach children to be kind to animals so that future generations will give animals and the environment the respect that they deserve.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[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.

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.