News / Current Topics

May 16, 2016 - Article Summaries from Mac Lindsay:

Your dog needs a vacation too

What zoos, circuses really teach children

Shell Game

How to build a better chicken coop


July 10, 2015 Globe and Mail - Adam Bisby - Part Time Pooches - Airnb, Dog Vacaym DiggyBnB, and Pawshake are an alyernative to kennels. But, there are problems. It appears that DogVacay has enticed 20, 000 hosts to offer dog-boarding services in their homes. Who pays the vet bill when the dog eats the host's socks?


July 8, 2015 Ottawa Citizen - Lauren La Rose - Pet Care A click Away - Pawshake has set up in 15 countries with 1000 sitters in Canada. Rates are $15/night which includes insurance, 24/7 support, daily photos. Pawshake retains 19%. The on-line business sets up profiles of sitters which allows contact before Rover is handed over to the sitter. Others include Pet Sitter International and Dogvacay which sitters are put through a vetting process. Fees vary but average is $25. "Your dog is in a home not a kennel".


July 1, 2015 The Canadian Press - Sidhartha Banerjee - SPCA advocates hope Quebec is open to ditching no-pet clause. July 1st is the most apartment change day of the year. Animals are left behind because of the -no-pet clause invoked by landlords. Unlike Ontario that has invalidated rental clauses excluding pets, Quebec continues with the problem.


June 30, 2015 Glove and Mail - Andre Picard - While Pets May be a comfort, they aren't all service animals. A great article delving into the current issue of service animals. Andre makes point that Guide DOgs for the blind are allowed everywhere while service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support dogs have problems. The provinces are trying to sort this out. The issue is certification and training. What about pigs, turtles etc.

December 22, 2014 - Toronto Star- Orangutan deemed to be a "person' in
first ever court ruling in South America


December 4, 2014 The Guardian - Tommy, the chimpanzee is not a legal person
according to a NY court of appeals


November 23, 2014 N.Y. Times

Charles Siebert has written a very interesting article about a zoo in southern Denmark called Zootopia. It is in development. It will not open for another 5 years. It is situated on 300 acres and is touted as “one of the singular achievements of the anthropocene, a time when human representations of the wild threaten to become the wild’s reality”. The zoo is one of architect’s Bjarke Ingels latest visions. Zootopia will secrete visitors in airborne pods or a 4 km. walk going amongst cratered lodges and subterranean bunkers. It spars the animals from obtrusive gawking. In the article, Siebert goes on to say that the concept is really not new. He talks about the 1907 concept of Carl Hagenbeck’s Tierpark Hagenbeck in Hamburg Germany. That zoo involved moatbound mixed species setting up the template of modern zookeeping. The article also gives us a brief history of zoos that go as far back as 3500 B.C. in Hierakonpolis, Egypt. Mention is also made of Madrid’s and Paris’ zoos founded in 1775 and 1795. Reference is also made to British novelist John Berger’s essay – “Why Look At Animals”. Berger answers – “the human capacity for symbolic thought, the capacity which was inseparable from the development of language”



November 13, 2014 Ottawa Citizen - B.C. woman admits guilt in dog deaths. Emma Paulsen in Surrrey, BC, a dog walker plead guilty to causing an animal to be in distress and public mischief . She is to be sentenced in Jan. 2015 for the death of a number of dogs that died from heat exhaustion in her truck. She lied to authorities by telling a storey that the dogs had been stolen from her truck while in a washroom. After much help from volunteers , she admitted what had really happened to a private investigator. The bodies of the dogs were found later in a ditch near Abbotsford.She can be sentenced to 2 years in jail and/or a $75,000 fine for the animal-cruelty charge and 6 months in jail for the mischief charge.

November 23, 2014 News –Press Dogfighting busts fail to stem its popularity.

Despite dog fighting being banned in all 50 states the ancient blood sport continues to gain momentum in the entire USA. This even after Michael Vick, NFL star was sentenced to 18 months jail in 2007 for bankrolling a dog fighting ring. There continues to be “an absurd amount of money involved”. “ It is not a regional phenomenon.” The problem starts with the fact that there is no minimum sentence and repeat offenders avoid prior convictions. Also, the legislation is very outdated in most states.

June 23, 2014 Globe and Mail. The vast, untapped market of pet insurance. The pet insurance business is starting to evolve in Canada as vet treatment costs continue to rise. Pets Plus of Oakville, Ontario is trying to fill the gap. The North American market is $595 million. Insurance policies spread the risk out over time thereby reducing the sticker shock of a vet fee. The average price in 2013 was $407.37 for illness and accident in North America.


October 09, 2014

Court to decide if chimps get legal rights - Ottawa Citizen article on legal battle over the rights of former circus ape.

April 29, 2014

The Globe and Mail’s Moment In Time  (April 29, 2007) reported an incredible bravery story about a tiny Jack Russell Terrier named George who sacrificed himself when trying to intervene between two killer dogs that were attacking a group of children in Manaia, New Zealand. The 5 children escaped unharmed but George had to be euthanized from his injuries. George was awarded the PDSA GOLD Medal for bravery. A bronze statue was erected to honour his bravery.

April 29, 2014

A sad story was reported in the Ottawa Citizen whereby a pit bull named Boss attacked a 14 month old girl and bit off part of her nose. Ontario’s Dog Owners’ Liability Act prohibits pit bulls in Ontario except for those that existed at the time of the enactment of the legislation in 2005. It requires that these existing pit bulls be leashed and muzzled while in public. It appears that the Province has put the policing of the legislation on local municipalities. The City of Ottawa has indicated that it does not enforce the legislation due to resource restraints and furthermore it is extremely difficult to prove that an individual dog falls under the pit bull prohibition. No charges were laid but Boss was euthanized.


April 27, 2014

The New York Times Magazine published an article - His Day In Court - The Rights of Man... and Beasts by Charles Slebert. It is one of the most interesting articles involving animal rights. The central theme is about a chimpanzee named Tommy and the fight by Steven M. Wise, an American legal scholar attempting though the process of habeas corpus to have Tommy declared a "legal person" having rights. Tommy, "the petitioner" is confined in a small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed in Gloversville, New York.

Steven M. Wise, a law professor teaches animal law at Harvard Law School, Vermont Law School, John Marshall Law School, Lewis and Clark Law School, and Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. Wise is described as "one of the pistons of the animal rights movement". He wrote "Drawing the Line" which describes the relative intelligence of animals and human beings and "Rattling the Cage" which argues that certain legal rights should be extended to chimpanzees.

In 1991, Wise filed an animal rights law suit involving Kama, a 6 year-old dolphin for a violation under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The judge immediately dismissed Kama's part of the suit due to insufficient standing.

A nonhuman is invisible in a court. The only redress is if the human plaintiffs representing an animal can prove that the injury to the animal has in some way injured the human.

Wise had to find another way - the writ of habeas corpus to get around the issue of personhood.

Wise set about exploring the case law on habeas corpus. He found a 1772 case in England that ruled on the legality of a slave named James Somerset, invisible to the law of the time being a non-human. This was followed by cases in India where the holy book of the Sikhs was found to be a legal person. Further, in New Zealand where a river was held to be a legal person.

"A legal person is not synonymous with human being" - Wise argues.

Richard Epstein, a New York University law professor disputes Wise's attempts of extending rights to animals. Epstein sees the animal rights issue as animals in need of protection not extending their rights. Epstein suggests that animal protection legislation is the way to go.

Wise counters by contending that the present forms of protection are effectively unenforceable in a case like Tommy's, primarily because under current animal-welfare laws on both state and federal, it isn't illegal to keep a chimp in a cage.


Link to Should a Chimp be Able to Sue Its Owner? - By Charlees Siebert


November 16, 2013 –Forbes – The Grand-Opening of permitted horse slaughterhouses in the US has been put on further hold as a temporary injunction was issued to stop Federal inspectors from the Department of Agriculture from inspection of the facilities. Without these inspections the slaughterhouses cannot operate.

November 13, 2013 – Animal Justice Canada – Toronto Zoo elephants were transferred to California with the help of Bob Barker while Lucy, the 38 year-old elephant remains at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Attempts to intervene on her behave have failed all the way up. Seeking leave before the Supreme Court of Canada was denied. Interested parties claim “Alberta is unwilling to enforce its own laws”.

October 25, 2013 – TheStar.Com – After initial complaints by former employees of Marineland, Niagara Falls, Ontario, the government of Ontario got down to work to control its 60 zoos and aquariums within the province. It has created a registry for Ontario SPCA to visit each facility 2 xs / year. Until now the OSPCA only became involved when a problem was reported. It is also setting up a team of trained investigators to fulfil the task of policing the zoos and aquariums. Prior to this, the system was self- regulated by inspections every 5 years by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums. The problem being that few facilities were accredited. Standards are also being drafted that the Ontario government will put in place by June 2014.

October 9, 2013 - A wayward elk was killed “with deep regret”. An 800 pound elk was shot by the Ottawa Police after entering the heart of the City. Police determined that it was a threat to the public. Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources had reintroduced 443 Elk in 1998 from Alberta. Two prior attempts in the early 1900s and 1930 failed. There appear to be between 293 and 476 elk living in the Bancroft area ( the most likely area that the Elk came from). Hunting of Elk in Ontario under a lottery system was introduced a few years ago.

September 13, 2013 – Animal Justice Canada – The Ikea monkey (Darwin) remains in a primate sanctuary in Ontario after its former owner attempted to get back possession. The court ruled – “ Wild animals are not pets”.

August 11, 2013 - Wild Horses – There is an ongoing dispute as to whether horse slaughterhouses should be revived in the US. The US has never fostered a market for horse meat which is a dietary staple in many other countries. Historically, there were over 10 in the US. In 2007, the last 3 closed in Texas and Illinois – they slaughtered 30,000 and shipped 78,000 to Canada and Mexico in this last year of operation. Presently, there are 75,000 feral and wild horses in the US. In 2013, Valley Meat, Roswell N.M. was issued a permit but court proceedings put the opening on hold. Native Americans and Robert Redford got involved trying to block horse slaughter in the US. The New York Times – National.

August 6, 2013 – Campbellton, New Brunswick – two brothers (5&7) dead in snake attack while sleeping above Reptile Ocean , an exotic animal store. The Globe and Mail.

June 4, 2013 – Owner of morbidly obese cat charged under the OSPCA Act – 12 year old cat weighing 25 pounds. Act provides for 2 years jail, $60,000 fine, and a lifetime ban on keeping animals. The Ottawa Citizen.

August 11, 2013 -  Wild Horses – There is an ongoing dispute as to whether horse slaughterhouses should be revived in the US. The US has never fostered a market for horse meat which is a dietary staple in many other countries. Historically, there were over 10 in the US. In 2007, the last 3 closed in Texas and Illinois – they slaughtered 30,000 and shipped 78,000 to Canada and Mexico in this last year of operation. Presently, there are 75,000 feral and wild horses in the US. In 2013, Valley Meat, Roswell N.M. was issued a permit but court proceedings put the opening on hold. Native Americans and Robert Redford got involved trying to block horse slaughter in the US. The New York Times – National.

August 6, 2013 – Campbellton, New Brunswick – two brothers (5&7) dead in snake attack while sleeping above Reptile Ocean , an exotic animal store. The Globe and Mail.

June 4, 2013 – Owner of morbidly obese cat charged under the OSPCA Act – 12 year old cat weighing 25  pounds. Act provides for 2 years jail, $60,000 fine, and a lifetime ban on keeping animals. The Ottawa Citizen.

November 22, 2012 - BC SPCA - “Shocked” at sentence in the B.C. sled dog case. The owner after pleading guilty was placed on probation for 3 years, ordered not to work in sled dog industry, and fined $1725.

October 18, 2012 -  Critics are calling for changes to Windsor Ontario’s  dangerous dog by-law after Molly a 3 pound Chihuahua was declared dangerous after biting a postal employee. The Ottawa Citizen.

October 15, 2012 – Canada’s Species at Risk Act is due for an overhaul. There are 500 animal and plant species that are officially listed at risk in Canada. There are 188 species that have been delayed in making the list. Some are 5 years overdo. The Globe and Mail.

September 13, 2012 – Animal –welfare group slam City of Ottawa. A draft strategy proposed by the City suggests wild animals wandering into populated areas are a “nuisance” – to be driven out or killed if they don’t leave. The Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre and the Ontario Wildlife Coalition oppose this model. They propose that these meetings between wildlife and residents end well for all species. The Ottawa Citizen.
September 13, 2012 – BC first nations ban bear hunting in the Great Bear Forest (70,000 square kilometres). The Minister of Forests and Lands stated that province is clearly responsible for setting hunting regulations. In essence, saying that he wants the First Nations to respect this power. The Minister asked that his staff enter open discussions about the issue.The Globe and Mail.

September 3, 2012 – India’s Supreme Court upended the $18 million tiger tourism industry by slapping a blanket ban on tiger tourism. The Globe and Mail.

September 2, 2012 – How Puffin Patrol saves tiny lives. The Globe and Mail.

September 2, 2012 –India bans tiger tourism amid animal –rights push. The Globe and Mail.

August 30, 2012 – Zoos and aquariums need licenses to keep chipmunks and raccoons but they don’t need licenses for whales or dolphins or lions or elephants. Ontario is to review its zoo licensing policies. The
August 30, 2012 – Man pleads guilty in Whistler sled-dog slaughter case – unnecessary suffering of 56 dogs. The BC SPCA exhumed the dogs at a cost of $250,000. The incident spurred BC to create a Sled Dog Task Force which created amendments to BC’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The Globe and Mail.
August 16, 2012 – Ontario SPCA to inspect Toronto’s MARINELAND. Inside

May 3, 2012 – Newfoundland and Labrador have adopted stiffer fines and penalties for animal abuse - $50,00 or 6 months jail. Pet stores and farms now covered under the new Animal Health and Protection Act. CBC News.

December 30, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail
This year was the worst on record of large seizures of elephant tusks since ivory sales were banned in 1989. Experts say as many as 3,000 elephants were killed by poachers. Tom Milliken, an elephant and rhino expert for the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC has said 2011 has been horrible. Malaysian authorities seized hundreds of African elephant tusks worth $1.3 million which were being hidden in handicrafts. Most cases involve ivory being smuggled from Africa into Asia where they are used in traditional medicine even though scientists have proved that there is no medicinal value. The escalation is being driven by the Asian syndication within African societies. If current levels of poaching are sustained, some countries could lose their elephant population in the very near future. Alarming levels include Congo, northern Kenya, southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique. Most large scale ivory seizures fail to result in any arrest. Rhinos have also suffered: a record of 443 were killed this year in South Africa.

December 10, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail
Ecologist Jason Fisher has spent the past 6 years studying wolverines in the Alberta foothills. Hudson’s Bay Company records show that a substantial number were killed during the halcyon days of the fur trade. The repeating rifles and steel jaw traps during the 1960s and 1970s turned the animals’ greatest strength (supreme ability to locate scraps of meat scattered about a landscape) into a liability. Surviving populations are in the northern tundra and along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. Wolverines are being steadily pushed back in Ontario. People don’t know much about the animal since they are difficult to find. They have the gift of a marathoner, speed of a sprinter and the mountain-climbing ability of a goat. Chasing one in the wilderness is close to impossible. Research has increased exponentially aided by log cabin traps, DNA hair-snagging, GPS implants, aerial surveying and remote camera placements. The portrait is one of a fearless and highly intelligent animal. They tick at a higher metabolic rate than other animals, keep on the move both day and night whether raiding eggs, eating ripe berries or taking down sheep. One travelled 800 km and visited 3 American states in 10 days. Another climbed the near-vertical face of Mount Cleveland. One has taken down a full-grown moose. Some researchers say they are the toughest animal in the world.

December 10, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail

The wolverine will take an animal 10 times its size including a grizzly bear and they thrive in places that push the limits of mammalian existence. Modern studies are revealing that it is not a solitary animal but has a much more complex social hierarchy. Youngsters spend time with both mom and dad learning to hunt and scavenge. Understanding the effects of development on wolverines is a pressing need as Canada may represent the wolverines’ last hope. Survival outside protected areas is critical.

December 9, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail
Isreal has passed a bull that bans the declawing of cats. Those convicted of the crime will face up to a year in prison and $20,000 [U.S.] fine. About 25% of cats in the U.S. are believed to be declawed, but doing so is illegal in Europe, Australia, Brazil and beyond.

December 8, 2011 – Source: The Ottawa Citizen
The world’s oldest dog, Pusuke, has died in Sakura, Japan at the age of 26 years and eight months old at his home. According to his owner, Pusuke’s physical condition took a sudden turn for the worse Monday. The dog did not eat breakfast which never happened before and died quietly surrounded by family. “I felt as if he was my child,” said his owner.

December 8, 2011 – Source: The Ottawa Citizen
In only two week, more than half of the 607 dogs rescued from a commercial breeder in West Quebec have been adopted, says the Humane Society International/Canada. In September, more than 500 dogs were rescued from a commercial operation near Campbell’s Bay known as Paws “R” Us. It wasn’t until the Quebec government gained custody of the dogs that they could be adopted and by then many of them had given birth and the number had grown to 607. On November 24th, the Humane Society started the adoption process and they had a huge response. It is said that there are going to be standards on how many times a day a dog should eat, how big his cage should be, how many times he should have exercise per day, etc.

December 7, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail
The Quebec government is getting stricter with its law against animal cruelty. Fines could go as high as $75,000 with amendments to animal protection legislation. The bill aims to crack down on puppy mills, giving government the power to close a kennel if it finds animals are being abused. Quebec has been considered the puppy mill capital of North America, with an estimated 800 unregulated breeding operations in Montreal alone. If passed, the bill will require some owners to be licensed. The proposed law also establishes rules on how animals are housed and what methods of euthanasia can be used. Agriculture Minister Pierre Corbeil says the legislation should help curb the abuses of pets for sale. In September, more than 500 dogs were seized from a Quebec puppy mill in what could represent the largest animal cruelty case in the province’s history. The dogs were found living in poor conditions without sufficient food and water. A month earlier, about 40 malnourished Huskies were found chained to trees on a property. Montreal’s privately held Berger Blanc pound also shocked many across the country. Quebec was name “the best province to be an animal abuser” in the 2011 annual report prepared by the U.S. based Animal Legal Defense Fund.

November 24, 2011 – The owners of a Quebec kennel pleaded guilty to 17 animal cruelty charges. Five hundred dogs and puppies were involved – the largest rescue in Canadian history. Since the seizure 90 puppies have been born. Sentence - $10,000 fine. Toronto Sun.

November 17, 2011 – Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Woodland caribou on the island of Newfoundland could soon be extinct unless the government takes action to protect their habitat. The population has shrunk 66% over the last decade. In 2002 they were categorized as “threatened” under the federal Species at Risk Act. They require vast spaces of land for migration. Specific areas are used for wintering and calving in spring. They also require spacious habitat to seek refuge from their predators, which include black bears, lynx, and coyote.

October 29, 2011- UBC used nearly 212,000 research animals in 2010. This represents only 6% of similar research throughout Canada. (7% are small animals which includes rats and mice). Yet, 4000 were medium to large mammals or marine mammals were experimented with. CBC News.

October 28, 2011 – Source: USA Today
Lions, tigers and other big cats are fading. Tigers have become so rate that lions have become their soup-bone substitutes, sought for Asian medicines and “tiger bone” wine. Big cats are more than national symbols - they play a role in keeping prey species vital and alert. Biologists have documented that removal of top predators from wild settings lead prey numbers to explode. Protect them and you are protecting the habitat for everything else. Without top predators, booming prey populations soon strip vegetation and later collapse from illnesses and starvation. At Yellowstone National Park, elk devoured stream-protecting cottonwoods without wolves. Dolphins and sea cows wiped out sea grasses in Australia’s Shark Bay without tiger sharks. Sea Urchins at kelp forests off Alaska’s coast after sea otter numbers dropped in the late 1990’s. At present rates, we will lose big cats in 10-15 years. Over the past half-century, International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates show that lions are down from 450k to 25k; leopards from 750k to 50k; cheetahs from 45k to 12k and tigers from 50k to 3k. Conservation experts would like to see “corridors” opened between African nature reserves to allow big cats to mingle, preserving their genetic diversity as a hedge against illness and congenital diseases. The good thing about big cats is that if allowed, they will be resilient and will breed to recovery. The recovery needs to take place in the wild and not zoos or home menageries.

October 27, 2011 – Exotic Pets – Why do Americans keep dangerous animals? BBC News Magazine.

September 22, 2011 – The Ottawa Citizen
The Ottawa Humane Society is asking city councillors to ban the sale of dogs and cats from breeders in Ottawa pet stores after the news that Toronto become the second city in Canada to do so after a Wednesday council vote. OHS executive director Bruce Roney wrote that Toronto’s new by-law and recent rescue of 500 dogs and puppies from one of the biggest commercial breeding operations in Canada highlighted the need for action. The move is meant to help reduce the number of animals bred in inhumane conditions, to curb the numbers of unwanted pets and to reduce the numbers of impulse purchases of animals. Toronto pet stores are only now allowed to bring in cats and dogs from humane societies, rescue groups or shelters. Roney said Ottawa taxpayers and the humane society would save money if a similar plan was implemented here.

September 20, 2011 – The Ottawa Citizen
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies is appealing to would-be dog owners to think and research before they buy. “Many of the common sources out there are supplied by puppy mills,” said Barbara Cartwright who is the CEO. The appeal comes after the 500 dogs from the Paws “R” Us kennel were seized and taken to an emergency shelter to receive medical attention. Cartwright said the best way to stop puppy mills is to stop buying from them. People often don’t realize dogs sold online actually come from puppy mills. People should ask to see the mother, father and other puppies in the litter. Ethical breeders have only one or two breeds available and often require buyers to fill out an application form.

October 2011 – Source:

The Ottawa Humane Society has its first ever jail sentence for charges of animal cruelty under the OSPCA Act. On October 3rd an Ottawa woman was sentenced in provincial court to 10 months in jail as well as a lifetime ban from owning or having custody or care of any animal. She was also ordered to pay $500 restitution to the OHS and must allow unannounced inspections of her residence. OHS Rescue & Investigation Services officers found the decomposing body of a dog inside the front door. The owner was charged under the OSPCA Act with permitting distress to an animal and failing to provide adequate and suitable food and water resulting in its death. It sends a powerful message that irresponsible pet owners will be charged and punished to the full extent of the law.

October 24, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail
Toronto’s city councillors debate whether to ban the sale of shark fin soup this week which will be echoing an emerging generational divide with Chinese-Canadian newlyweds on one side and their immigrant grandparents on the other. The soup has been blamed for declining shark numbers around the world and has traditionally been a “must” for lavish, elaborate Chinese dinners. Other cities have already enacted bans on the fins which are sometimes violently sliced off sharks as part of a controversial method known as “finning.” The method involves tossing the fin-less, bleeding shark back into the ocean to die. Many Chinese protesters are against the proposed bylaw. Executive director Barbara Chiu said the law did not account for fishermen who use ethical and more humane methods for catching sharks.

October 24, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail
The sudden death of an American diver with a great white shark off Australia’s southwest coast has raised the spectre of a rogue man-eater preying on an aquatic playground and killing 3 men in 2 months. Western Australia state Fisheries Norman Moore hopes this is not the beginning of a new trend. The latest attack was with a solo diver in the Western Australia state. The other victim was a swimmer and the first was the death of a bodyboarder – all believed to be the same shark. The Western Australia state government set tuna-baited hooks off the island, the first time authorities have used an emergency legal exemption from the state protection of great whites as an endangered species in the interests of protecting the public. Barry Bruce, a federal government marine biologist said it is unlikely that the single shark killed the three recent victims. He says a more plausible explanation is that this time of the year is when sharks move along the coast and there are multiple sharks that follow. Barbara Weuringer, a marine zoologist and shark researcher is against the shark hunt as it sounds like they are taking revenge on an endangered species.


October 21, 2011 – Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Last year, the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, put a large portion of nothern searbirds at risk. Almost a quarter of North America’s 450,000 northern gannets – a seabird that summers off the east cost of Newfoundland & Quebec, were in the Gulf of Mexico when BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded in April 2010, dumping millions of barrels of oil into the gulf. Using tracking devices, researchers have found that the risk is larger than they thought with this population.

October 20, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail
There were nearly 50 wild animals that were shot in the Ohio countryside. They included 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions and many others. The owner of an exotic - animal park threw their cages open and committed suicide in what may have been one last act of spite against his neighbours and police. Officers became armed with high-powered rifles and shoot-to-kill orders to hunt down 57 animals. After an all-night hunt, 48 animals had been killed. Six others – 3 leopards, a grizly bear and two monkeys were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo. The death of the Bengal tigers were especially tragic as there were only 1,400 endangered cats left in the world. The owner, Terry Thompson, had repeated run-ins with the law and his neighbours. There were many complaints about animals escaping onto neighbours’ properties. Ohio has some of the nation’s weakest restrictions on exotic pets and among the highest number of injuries and deaths caused by them. Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society of the U.S. criticizes Governor John Kasich for allowing statewide ban on buying and selling of exotic pets.
October 20, 2011 – Souce: The Ottawa Citizen
Terry Thompson had been charged with animal cruelty 11 times since 2004. He was said to be keeping the bare minimum requirements for keeping the animals. The sheriff said they tried to shoot some animals with tranquilizer guns but encountered problems.

October 2011 – Souce: The Ottawa Citizen
Another two Canadian universities have agreed to stop using live animals in trauma-medicine training courses. Instead, they have started to practice on human-like, computerized simulators instead of pigs or dogs. This means none of the 22 Canadian universities and hospitals that offer the Advanced Trauma Life Support program uses animals any longer. The university’s veterinarian also notes that the conditions under which pigs had been treated – including being anesthitized while trainees operated on them and killed before regaining consciousness – were far more humane than those of hogs slaughtered for meat.

October 18, 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Wild sockeye salmon from B.C.’s Rivers Inlet have tested positive for potentially devastating virus that has never before been found in the North Pacific. The virus is an Infectious Salmon Anemia that spreads quickly and mutates easily. According to Rick Routledge of Simon Fraser University, “the only plausible source of this virus is fish farms.” BC’s aquaculture industry has imported more than 30 million Atlantic salmon eggs over the past 25 years.

October 17, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail
A young bald eagle is learning to fly, a black bear cub is recuperating from kneecap surgery and six tiny red foxes are training to catch their own food all at the wildlife rehabilitation centre in eastern New Brunswick. Most animals there are injured, sick or orphaned but nearly one third are displaced. There are a lot of cases where people interfere in the natural selection process. Barry Rothfuss, a rehabilitator, hopes a new life-response network will address this challenge and bring more aid to the animal who need it. Training sessions start next month for 100 people. The goal is to have volunteers in all pockets of the province.The network which is patterned on disaster emergency response models can serve for other provinces aswell. Finding qualified people to respond to wildlife calls is a challenge. Increasing urbanization is changing how Canadians relate to wildlife. Some abandoned animals are better off left in the wild.

October 14, 2011 – Source:
Two recent animal cruelty cases are drawing attention to a strange and grisly question: when is it okay to kill your pets? Animal activists in Nova Scotia were outraged when a woman who pled guilty to animal cruelty charges was fined only $5 for drowing two newborn kittens in buckets of water. Last month, a New Brunswick man was acquitted of animal cruelty altogether in the deaths of his five Pomeranian puppies, which he killed with a hammer – he was found guilty of neglect and of injuring a puppy that survived the blow. According to University of Ottawa law professor Daphne Gilber, these cases aren’t as simple because its perfectly legal to kill pets in Canada. Animals are considered personal property in Canada and people have the right to dispose of their pets as they choose as long as it’s not done “in a way that was intended to inflict suffering”.
Sean Kelly, chairman of the investigation committee for the SPCA, is furious about the small fine, and is filing a formal complaint with the Public Prosecution Service. But Gilbert says she agrees with the prosecutor. “Drowning isn’t necessarily a cruel method,” she says, adding that the case was further complicated by the fact that the woman had asked the SPCA to remove the kittens’ stray mother before they were born, and the organization refused, citing a lack of resources. Gilbert says a movement is under way to amend the 100-year-old animal cruelty law, which could “make it clear what constitutes cruelty,” and elevate the status of pets above mere property.

September 29, 2011 - The Obama administration is taking steps to extend new federal protection to a list of imperiled animals and plants that reads like a manifest for Noah’s Ark. US Fish and Wildlife has issued decisions advancing more than 500 species for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Under current settlements only 13 have reached the final step to a list of 1,400. US News /Environment.

September 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Premier Jean Charest offered redress to the Inuit for the slaughter of sled dogs during the 50’s and 60’s. The Quebec government signed an agreement with a non-profit Inuit organization to acknowledge the impact of the mass killing of sled dogs, which had served the Inuit as a primary means of transportation. The province also offered $3 million in compensation. Between 1950-1970 provincial police officers killed more than 1,000 dogs without taking into consideration the important role they played.

September 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Thirty-seven huskies found chained to trees in Lachute, QC have been taken in by the SPCA. The dogs had been living in these conditions since September 2010. Their owner, a dog trainer and behaviourist, was evicted from his home in July and had been living in a tent in the woods across from his former home. The dogs were malnourished. Sources say it was basically a homeless person operating a puppy mill.

September 2011- Source: EMC: Your Community Newspaper
From food to preventive medication to routine veterinarian visits, having a pet is a financial commitment. Should that pet become injured or ill, most pet owner want to do what’s in their power to fix the problem. Pet health insurance provides a means of reducing costs on veterinarian procedures. Insurance policies can vary depending on coverage chosen, theft of the animal or even death. Some may also include coverage for dental, physical therapy, medical devices, kennel fees and even behavioral treatment. Insurance rates may fluctuate on age and health of the animal. It is surprisingly very inexpensive- as low as $10 per month.

September 2, 2011- Source: The Globe & Mail
The greater sage-grouse is known for its elaborate courtship dance on the Prairies but as an endangered species, they might be wiped out in Alberta as soon as next year. Only 13 males were spotted this year making it a 98% decline since 1968. An emergency summit of conservationists and biologists is set for next week in Calgary in a desperate bid to save the bird. The Alberta government already took the unprecedented step last spring of importing the bird from Montana. Critics say the government isn’t doing enough to protect the birds from the booming energy industry which operates around their habitat. The federal cabinet could order the provinces to act, but that has never happened under the Species at Risk Act. It has been federally registered as an Endangered Species since 1998. In Alberta, industry must now apply through an enhanced approvals process to minimize development.

August 8, 2011- Soucre: The Globe & Mail

Consumers concerned about the past life of their meats are about to get clarity from one chain of organic grocery stores. Whole Foods Market Inc., a U.S.- based retailer that operates the country’s largest chain of natural and organic food supermarkets, is extending an innovative animal welfare labelling program to its 6 Canadian stores this week. Food savvy consumers are increasingly interested in on-farm conditions. There is a growing concern of how animals are raised for food. Instead of roaming on farms that resemble natural habitats, most agricultural animals are kept in barn stalls and on feedlots designed for uniform growth, fattening and fast market readiness. Confined environments restrict certain natural behaviours and can cause stress that leads to new negative behaviours (cannibalism) which in turn requires physical modifications such as removing pigs teeth or tails to deter biting. In these scenerios, animals are rarely anesthetized. According to a Report of the Pew Commussion on Industrial Farm Animal Production, livestock comfort in the modern food system has become a secondary concern. Few national laws address animal welfare. Instead of pursuing legislative change, welfare advocates back by a growing body of science have made headway by establishing relationships with major retailers. Some fast food chains have all begun marketing welfare- related procurement decisions that range from using cage-free eggs to more humane methods of slaughter. Whole Foods is the first mass supermarket to adopt animal welfare standards for meat. Products are color-coded that correspond with a five step rating that reflects farmers’ progression along a welfare spectrum. To progress, farms are ranked on everything from the space animals are allotted to the amount of time they spend outdoors and the distance to slaughter destination.

August 11, 2011: The Ottawa Citizen
Thirty-one grey wolves from Canada were turned loose in Yellowstone in the 1990’s. The canines were soon tearing after elk in the U.S. national park, which had not seen wolves in 7 decades. Aspen, willow and cottonwood trees have begun to sprout now that the elk are in check.

August 2, 2011- Source: The Globe & Mail
Every rescue-dog relationship has a honeymoon phase: First, you’re the dog’s saviour, then you’re in for a test. The boxer was from the Humane Society and Ruby’s owner says she has her work cut out for her. So far, she leaves her office twice a day for visits and has spent over $900. Ruby’s history starts with ignorant backyard breeders and ending with abandonment at a dog park. Alice Fisher, rescue-dog guru and owner of DogSmart training says Ruby should be treated like a puppy and that she should not get away with anything just like a puppy. But in the end, both the dog and owner choose each other.

August 2, 2011- Source: The Globe & Mail
The further scientists explore the behaviour and intellect of animals, insects and fish, the closer wilflife seems to humanity. Employing tools: Scientists have new evidence that the blackspot tuskfish uses a rock as an anvil to crack open a clam. Tool use by animals may be more common than once thought. It is often associated with human evolution and intelligence. New Caledonian crows make and use tools to get food aswell. They use twigs and leaves to make stick-like tools that are used to poke around for food as the bird holds it in its beak. Teaching each other: Studies used a technique called tandem running with ants. It involves pairs of ants, one experience leader and the other an inexperienced follower, travelling together to find food. When the leading ant ran in tandom it crawled 4 times slower to guide the newcomer. It took some persuading to get the teacher ant to show the newcomer around; it would only lead the other ant to food if tapped on its legs & abdomen. Ants can therefore learn and be taught the location of food, according to the study. Developing Culture: Different groups of whales and dolphins have been developing their own underwater culture for years. The study defined culture as information or behaviour through social learning. The male humpback whales could be as far away as Hawaii and Mexico but their songs are virtually the same. Songs are said to evolve over time but remain similar among member of the same group, regardless of distance. Also, according to the whale and dolphin study, different populations have vocal dialects based on vocal learning passed down over time. Using Landmarks: Pigeons use landmarks and remember locations of objects in order to pinpoint the current locations of things they’re looking for. Like rats, pigeons rely on “a representation of the broad shape of the enviroment to tell which direction is which.” Conversing: Parrots use their language skills to communicate basic needs and wants but they also allow researchers to examine their cognitition and intelligence.

June 28, 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
One of New Zealand’s top surgeons was enlisted to operate on an ailing Emporor penguin found on a beach near Wellington, some 3,000 km from its Antarctic home. Although he’s more used to dealing with sick humans, Dr. Wyeth performed a two hour operation. Assisted by a six-person medical team, Wyeth performed an endoscopy to remove twigs, stones and sand which had been clogging the penguin’s gut, feeding a tiny camera down its throat then looping a line around the debris. The bird was being kept in air-conditioned room carpeted with crushed ice to cool it in the relative warmth of New Zealand. If it can be nursed back to health, the best option may be releasing it into sub-Antarctic waters south of New Zealand in the hope that it will swim home.


July 14, 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
An international panel of scientists is warning that the woodland caribou will soon be “on the road to extinction” without immediate efforts by federal and provincial agencies to protect the animal’s increasingly disturbed boreal habitat. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Alberta Premeier Ed Stelmach, the Canadian Boreal Initiative and Pew Environment Group—pushed for bolder conservation measures to prevent the caribou’s rapid decline. The caribou is threatened by industrial development and piecemeal protection efforts. It is designated as “threatened” under Canada’s endangered species legislation. The need is for large-scale forest preservation rather than locale-to-locale mitigation measures. It is important to convene a national dialogue between federal, provincial, and aboriginal leaders to develop a collective plan of action before imprtant options are foreclose by poorly planned development.

July 14, 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen

Canada’s polar bears could soon enjoy special protection under Canadian Law. The federal government has proposed designating the bears as a “species of special concern” in the Species at Risk Act. But this act will not protect them from the most serious threat: climate change. The number one threat is the vanishing sea ice. The final decision as to whether the polar bear will be listed under the Species at Risk Act is anticipated in November 2011.

June 20, 2011: The Ottawa Citizen
Hundred of Canadian pronghorn antelope have been stranded in Montana south of the Missouri Rover, trying to return to their grounds in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta. The “Epic Winter” forced the animals much farther south than usual- across a frozen reservoir that is now a barrier. They are now trying to head back north but some of them are making it and some of them aren’t. The construction of the Fort Peck Dam on the Missouri River in the 1930’s has created this obstacle for North America’s fastest land animal. The melt brought unusually high water levels and the Pronghorn are not very good swimmers. The unusually high number of deaths have conservation officials preparing restrictions on hunting this year to help the numbers rebound. Experts are also educating racnchers to dismantle fencing that is no longer use on their property. Randy Matchett, a U.S Fish and Wildlife biologist notes that these challenges to do impose a long-term threat.

June 2, 2011: The Globe & Mail
Police were called due to a Toronto man attacking raccoons in his backyard with a shovel-like tool. Nyguyen Don was charged with cruelty to animals and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. His wife said that he was only trying to scare them away and that a big group of them would climb on their deck, not afraid of their children. Police arrived and the man was knocking them off with a gardening tool. Police found one badly wounded kit (baby raccoon) who was taken to Toronto Animal Services and is expected to recover. The mother had dragged the rest away so there was the possibility that others were injured. Mr Dong was released from custody pending a July 13 court appearance. According to the Toronto Wildlife Centre, southern Ontario is home to more than a million raccoons, so Mr Dong is not the first to run into trouble with the law for this reason. Last April, Giovanni Marchese was fine $1,000 for trapping a raccoon and leaving it stranded for two weeks. In 2003, two Toronto men were criminally charged after a raccoon was beaten and left to die. Five years ago, style guru Tyler Br
ûlé picked the animal as a brand mascot when he designed Porter Airliones corporate look.

May 26, 2011- Source: Orleans EMC
Animal cruelty is sometimes difficult to define. That is because the perception of what is and what isn’t animal abuse differs from person to person. Here are some behaviour and conditions that can be viewed as animal cruelty in some people’s eyes: neglect and abandonment; wearing fur; animal fighting; animal research; animal racing. An Ottawa woman was charged with cruelty after she allowed a 9 month old pointer mix dog to suffer without food or water until it died. The Ottawa Community Housing called the Ottawa Human Society Emergency Animal Protection services and executed a search warrant. They dound the decomposing body of a dog inside the front door. The body was removed as evicence and it was determined it had no fat stores or recognizable food material in its digestive tract.

There has been a significant increase in the number of homeless cats according to the Ottawa Humane Society. Warm weather coincides with kitten season. Many owners let their cats breed indiscrimantely and many also give up looking for their cats too soon.

May 18, 2011- Source: The Globe & Mail

Federal investigators in British Columbia found 345,000 sokeye stored in 110 industrial freezers which they thought was a major black market operation. But Project Ice Storm, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans intelligence operation that found the salmon in 2005 ran out of funding and wasn’t able to track the fish. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans are unable to effectively control the illegal sales of First Nations Fisheries (FSC) salmon.

May 18, 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Climate change impacts food supply and migration patterns. Bats and frogs are good examples of this. Frogs, salamanders and other amphibians are vulnerable to more intense ultra violet light as the ozone layer things and there’s also a fungal disease spreading globally that affects amphibians. Bats are weakened by a fungus during their hibernation. It leaves a telltale patch of white on their faces. A lot of people don’t care about bats however they are super insect eaters and pollinate some plants.

May 17, 2011- Source: The Globe & Mail
It is being said that Quebec and Nunavut are the worst at protecting animals. The fund analyzed animal protection laws in jurisdictions across the country. Ontario emerged as the safest due to its wide range of protection laws. The report said legislative weaknesses including minimal fines and weak basic care standards resulted in some jurisdictions ranking worse thqan others. Quebec’s rock bottom ranking came just after two weeks of the reports of animal suffering at one of Montreals pounds. The ALDF (US based Animal Legal Defense Fund) report suggests broader range of protections and better definitions of basic care standards.

May 14, 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
A man whose luggage contained a baby bear, a pair of panthers, two leopards and some monkeys was arrested as he tried to smuggle the live animals out of Thailand. Noor Mahmoodr was charged with smuggling endangered species out of Thailand. One of the bags had been abandoned in an aiport lounge because the animals were being too noisy. The Freeland Foundation, an anti-wildlife trafficking group based in Thailand said they have never seen a smuggling operation like this before. When the luggage was opened it looked like the animals had been sedated and were in flat cages so that they couldn’t move around that much. Some were placed inside canisters with air holes. The animals were taken into care of local veternarians. If convicted, Mahmoodr could face up to four years in jail and a $1,300 fine.

May 13, 2011- Source: The Globe & Mail
The U.S. has the largest military budget in the world, spending more thn $600 billion a year, and a Winnipeg based company reportedly has a tiny slice of that. K9 Storm has been providing canine protective gear to the security and defence sectors worldwide for well over a decade but its customer list is confidential. The company won a $86,000 contract to provide “canine tactical assault vests” for Seal dogs. The U.S. Army has about 2,700 dogs on active duty. The vest has a wireless infrared camera and ear piece to let the animal hear remote orders through concrete walls.

May 8, 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa has more restrictive rules toward pets compared with other major cities. Ottawa, for example, cannot bring pets onto OC Transpo buses. A walk session was setup to educate dog owners including off leash areas, the amount of waste that dogs produce per day and much more. For more information people can go to

May 7, 2011- Source: The Globe & Mail
Eggs are cleaned and processed for caviar. This is the most valuable agricultural product in Canada. The sturgeon Target can produce four to seven kilograms of caviar apiece. This year, only 100 fish were deemed ready to produce caviar. The global legal caviar trade is estimated at $100 million a year. Up until the 1990’s, the lion share of caviar came from beluga sturgeon caught in the Caspian Sea but political upheaval, pollution and overfishing have nearly wipe out that source. To harvest caviar, you must kill the fish and all species have been listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

May 5, 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
A Toronto Zoo staff recommends that its 3 elephants be moved to another institution that can offer better facilities. The zoo would have to spend more than $16 million to build a new compound for them. Both the staff member and Bob Barker want him moved to a santuary in California. They are social animals, they belong in herds and should not be isolated even as three. Barker has also tried to convince a zoo in Edmonton to send its lone elephant to California. The problem with the sanctuaries is that they are no accredited under the
(Association of Zoos and Aquariums). Since 1984, 7 elephants have died at the zoo, four of them just in the last four years. Councillor Paul Ainslie, vice chair of the zoo board said he is prepared for the recommendations. The board will make further decisions at its meeting on May 12.
UPDATE: Source:
The three elephants
will be sent somewhere more comfortable to retire, following a decision by the zoo board Thursday. The board hopes to send them to a zoo accredited by the AZA. But the vote doesn’t close the door to alternatives. It was said that if an accredited zoo home can’t be found, a sanctuary should be considered. The zoo’s animal care and research committee will consult with the AZA about finding a suitable home and get back to the zoo board with a decision. A move by city councillor and zoo board member Glenn De Baeremaeker to include sanctuaries in the initial search for a new home for the trio was voted down.The sanctuary-versus-zoo issue was a major source of friction at Thursday’s meeting, with animal rights activists supporting sending the elephants to the PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) facility in California, saying the centre is in a warm climate and provides ample space for the animals to roam. But it was said that the sanctuaries don’t have any standards that they publish that are equivalent to AZA standards. Transferring the elephants will cost $30,000 to $50,000, and the staff report says it could take up to two years to prepare the beasts for a move.

May 2011- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Apparently, the reports are now saying that species are not going to go extinct nearly as fast as predicted. The study by Fanglian He, who holds a Canada research chair at the University of Alberta, says there has been an overestimation of the extinction rate, in some case by more than 160 percent. The study concludes that extinctions require greater loss of habitat than previously thought. But other researchers are infuriated as they acknowledge that extinctions vary widely depending on the assumptions and methods used.

May 2011- Source: The Globe & Mail
A study in 1997 by Mr. Howald showed about 15% of Langara’s bald eagle population was inadvertently exposed to rodenticide, likely as a result of eating ravens. Although, none of the eagles died. Bait stations have evolved significantly, limiting the risk to other animals. In Arichika and Bischof islands of Gwaii Haanas park, about 420 poisonous bait stations will be put out for rats. The bait stations will be kept on the islands for two years. These islands were chosen as the starting ground for the $1.6 million eradication project. Once the rats are gone from the island, officials hope the population of ancient murrelet and another seabird, Cassin’s auklet, will recover. Raccoons and Sitka mule deer are also disrupting island forests. With invasive species at unprecented levels in Canada, it is suggested we need more analysis of invaders to combat.

May 7, 2011- Source: The Globe & Mail
Norway and black rats have been decimating seabird and songbird populations in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, stealing and feasting on their eggs and chicks. Ancient murrelets are in particular danger which is on Canada’s species-at-risk watch list. Parks Canada plans to lay poisonous bait for the rodents on Arichika and Bischof islands. If all goes as planned, all rats will be eradicated. Since rats are such prolific breeders, the need to eradicate all of them are essential



December 27, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen

The U.S. was preparing to turn to Canada for the help in reintroducing the wolverine. But the plan could falter for the most unexpected reasons: the U.S’s proposed designation of the wolverine as an endangered species. The announcement could deter from the reintroduction due to the land-use rules imposed on the habitats of endangered animals. What they don’t want to happen is reintroduce the animal into Colarado and the animal moves up on that priority list of being endangered.

December 24, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
An alarming decline in the George River caribou herd prompts a debate on how to preserve one of the planet’s most magnificent migrations. Less than 20 years ago, the herd had over 800,000 individuals in the Labrador area and is now down to barely 74,000. The urgency that something needs to be done comes from the Minister of Nunatsiavut government, who states that it’s the meat for most of the year for the Labrador Inuits. The issue is trying to balance preservation with traditional rights and whether its right or even possible to stop the decline. A century ago, the caribou went through the same cycle of bottoming out which led to famine among the native population. Tom Beauregard, the former chief biologist of the area say that the caribou will break out of this crash once the wolves are gone. Others suggest there is not much that humans can do to stop the crash. The decline has led conservation groups such as the Canadian Boreal Initiative to call for greater focus on habitation protection, which includes more regulations on the hunting of the caribou. Even if the caribou were to bounce back in population, it is a much different world now than it was considering climate change and development as threat.

December 21, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
According to a 14 year old study in Uganda, young chimps play make believe games in which they pretend their favorite stick is a baby for nurturing and even putting to bed. The study provides evidence that differences in the way girls and boys act are a genetically hard-wired element. Both sexes collected sticks as toys but females treated them like dolls- carrying them from tree to tree, patting & cuddling them, and involving them in simple games. The male on the other hand made a nest for the stick next to his own and put the stick to bed. The males stopped playing with the stick once they reached adulthood while the females only stopped until they had a baby of their own. Two-thirds of the chimps who had sticks were female. This reflects that biological factors, and not just social are in play.

December 16, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
According to a recent study, Canadian pet owners would rather deal with their furry friends than other people (53% find them more reliable than people, 90% talk to their pets, 1/3 of them has told them their deepest darkest secret). One psychotherapist says we can learn a lot from our pets: by being kinder as human beings towards one another.

December 16, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Recent deaths of polar bears is due to the warmer weather but researchers cannot say with certainty that it’s because of climate change. Biologists claim that bear populations will continue to die down if global greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. The bear’s futures are in the hands of policy-makers. A study suggests that to maintain a sustainable polar bear population, global emissions of heat trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should peak around 2020 and then drop markedly. The bears need ice to catch their main food: fish. It was observed in Hudson Bay that this year the bears were not doing as well as previous years with the example of having to watch 2 baby cubs suffer from starvation.

December 8, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Bob Quinn’s battle began in 2002 when the National Capital Commission enacted leash laws. The Privy Council Office has refused Quinn’s Access to Information request to release the review which is mandated by the Statutory Instruments Act. Quinn appealed to the information commissioner who supported the governments position. This prompted his application to Federal Court. Quinn states that “their ability to put off a reckoning and discourage you from bothering is quite formidable”.

December 3, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
A shark that attacked swimmers off an Egyptian resort might have become frenzied after a transport ship dumped dead sheep in the sea. Four people were attacked and oceanic experts caught what they belive to have been the two-metre shark. Usually these whitetip sharks hunt in deeper waters but the reason for its closeness to the beach could have either been because of the dumping of sheep or because the shark might have been hit with a boat which had badly affected its nerves. The Environment Minister decided that the shark would be released back to sea far from the beaches after being examined and treated. It was said later that another shark had been caught which authorities believed to have taken part in the attacks aswell.

December 3, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
The Obama administrations wants to remove protections on the grizzly bear and gray wold which may allow them to be hunted. Previous efforts to remove them from the U.S. endangered species list have met with opposition from coservation groups. While the species have made a comeback, their recovery could fail if they were de-listed since the move would likely open the animals to public hunting. Both species were hunted, trapped and poisoned to near extinction in the lower 48 states before they were added to the endangered list.

November 12, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
As people are relying on charity to feed their families, dog owners are paying lots of money for their pets. But it isn't just with people with lots of money. Our culture's current level of pet-craziness makes an easy target for moralizing. Is it wrong to spoil our pets by putting in a huge amounts of energy and money? No. Apparently we have love our pets too much but still have compassion for humans. Animals remind us how to be human, in the best sense of the word. There's enough love to go around for all.

November 12, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
Shadown, a black labrador, loves working. She knows she is helping someone feel good. Unlike service dogs who live 24/7 with people with disabilities, therapy dogs visit treatment centres and residential schools. They go though a 9-week training course. These dogs have to be very calm and be able to absorb a certain amount of stress without becoming stressed themselves. One in 110 children in the US has an autism spectrum disorder. Therapy dogs have an overall positive effect on children. They want to use the dogs as a medium to achieve our pre-existing educational goals.  

November 10, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
A piggy bank made from a real piglet is set up as a gift for $4,000 on a website called A spokeswoman for the Human Society is outraged by this type of promotion. One of the agency's farm welfare activists noticed the taxidermied piglet being advertised in Vancouver Magazine's current holiday gift guide. The online description for the stuffed "piglet banks" states that only animals who died of natural causes are used in the production of the product.

November 4, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, came to Ontario for a speaking tour but had to leave his pet pitbull at home due to Ontario's pitbull laws. Some are claiming that it is ignorant to have the ban and that if we discriminate, it does not solve the problem. Millan claims that the agressive behaviour does not have to do with the dog, but with the bad owners. But unfortunately since there had been so many attacks, law officals have had to do something about it.

November 2, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
It is disturbing to hear that there is a global epidemic of rhino poaching where since 1970, the global population of rhinos have plummeted by 90%. Phila is one of the victims of this ordeal. She is currently at the Johannesburg Zoo after being shot 11 times by poachers trying to slice off her horn which is worth up to $400,00 on the streets of Vietnam & China for its ALLEGED medicinal properties.They left her partly deaf and badly injured. This is a growing crisis in the African wildlife. Rhinos are an easy target for criminal gangs with the rhinos having  poor vision and massive size. Owners are wanting to put larger restrictions in order to prevent these types of occurances, but even for some owners, it came as a shock to hear that two of the trusted veterianarians were charged with crimes of rhino poaching.

October 31, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
After months of panda diplomacy, federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice and Canadian Embassy officials have secured the Chinese government's pledge to loan two pandas to Canada beginning next year. Each of the three zoos ,(Calgary, Toronto, Granby Quebec) which have been working together on the project, is likely to receive the two pandas for 18 to 24 months. Due to past scrutiny of the Calgary Zoo, the Chinese government will be very attentive to the care that is being provided for the pandas and the quality of the facilities that will be constructed and the safety of the bears. The giant panda is a symbol of conservation throughout the world so from their perspective it'll help them talk about conservation and habitat preservation.

October 30, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Delegates to a landmark United Nations meeting on biodiversity held in Nagoya Japan have agreed to a moratorium on risky geoengineering experiment s that could alter global temperatures and precipitation patterns. The agreement means that governments of the 193 countries that are signatories to the UN Biodiversity Convention must ensure that no geoengineering projects take place until risks to the environment as well as social, cultural and economic impacs have been properly assessed. The meeting agreed on a target to protect 17% of land and wetlands and 10% of marine and coastal areas.

October 27, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
More than 20% of the world’s mammals, reptiles and amphibians are threatened with extinction. About 52% are driven to this extinction annually. There is an urgent need for strategic plans and more resources to combat “the extinction crisis.”











October 25, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
A sleepy bear wandered into a yard in the village of Followfield on Sunday, snacked on some fallen birdseed and then curled up for a nap. Surprisingly, when the homeowner shouted and clapped “shoo” the bear did NOT respond…

October 22, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
Psychology professor Hal Herzog has studied the depths of humanitys frequently twisted relationship with animals such as why so many vegeterians go back to eating meat, whats the difference we lay traps for and the pets we pamper and the animals we eat, etc., He has come to the conclusion that clinging to inconsistent beliefs about animals is part of the human condition.

October 22, 2010- Source: EMC Local News
For the second year in a row, “Mini-Veterinary School” will be running 5 weeks on Friday evenings at Algonquin College. It includes problems that affect a pet’s health, experience a day in the life of, treatment of cancer in pets, the contribution that service and walking dogs provides for the animals. What a great idea for people to learn more!

October 22, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Mini vet school lecture series allows for the curious to learn what its like to practise veterinary medicine. It will include topics such as the influence that horses can have on improving the lives of the disabled, etc. It is a fundraiser for Community Outreach and the organization’s work providing free preventive vet care to animals of street people.

October 21, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
The extinction of the ferocious predator, the “fischer” for the past 75 years in Washington has fuelled a reintroduction program of them with the help of Canada’s shipments. At least 20 of the 90 fischers released back in 2008 have died. Last week was the safe release of two orphaned kits after their B.C.-born mother was eaten by a bobcat. They are part of the weasel family and eat on everything from small animals to fruits and mushrooms to porcupine (they are one of the few animals that can successfully hunt them!) Here is to the fischers adapting well to their new U.S. environment!

October 9, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
More than 40,000 hunters registered to bag turkeys last year in Ontario. The reason this is so surprising is because a hundred years ago, turkeys were toast. Biologists tried to introduce captivity-raised birds into the wild but they were always eaten by predators. It was not until the 1960s when researchers developed a Howitzer-propelled net that allowed biologists to capture wild turkeys for the first time. By the 1980s they tried again introducing 200 wild turkeys in the wild which has resulted in 100,000 people signing up for the hunt since its reintroduction in 1984.

September 23, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen








A black bear cub had a 12 hour train ride to Winnipeg when it got its head stuck in a small hole at the bottom of the train behind the wheels and above the breaking system. The cub was tranquilized and later released into the provincial forest.



September 23, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Isn’t it odd that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency cannot say how many inspectors are stationed across the country to make sure animal health rules are followed during transport of animals for dinner plates? How do we know the regulations are even being followed ? The Agriculture Minister says “many CFIA inspectors are cross-utilized in other programs” so it is hard to get the exact numbers.

September 23, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
One of the nastiest of the parasites that cause malaria may have originated in gorillas, scientists say after analyzing thousands of samples of primate feces. Knowing where malaria came from could help researchers understand which diseases can jump between species, why they jump and whether such events might be prevented!

September 22, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
The Sprague’s pipit is a grassland songbird famous for its elaborate courtship rituals. It has been threatened for 10 years in Canada and the U.S. just identified it as being endangered. The two reasons its headed for extinction: 1)farming, urbanization and petroleum development destroy its traditional habitat 2) federal wildlife officals are currently too busy saving other species to conduct the studies and hold the meetings necessary to actually get it placed on the U.S. endangered species list. The strict controls such as the identification and protection of the “critical habitat” for the pipit won’t happen for years or even decades. Nicole Rosmarino, wildlife program director with the Colorado-based environment group argues that it is more about limited resources than “a lack of will” to confront such powerful interest like the U.S. agricultural and petroleum industries when it comes to restricting land development.

September 22, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
There is a legal fight happening over the future of the Edmonton zoo’s only elephant. Last month, the judge dismissed arguments from two animal right groups claiming that Lucy (the elephant) is suffering from lonliness and health issues and should be put in a sanctuary in the U.S. The city is saying that moving the 34-year-old elephant will only do more harm than good.

September 22, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
The Colorado Division of Wildlife planned to bring the lynx back to southwest Colorado in 1999. The program left some of the transplated cats from Canada dead from starvation or wandering to unwanted places to later be shot on sight. But to their surprise, last week they discovered 14 kittens in five separate dens which is a huge success as they were once extinct in the region and now population is self-sustaining. Biologists have identified their next candidate: the wolverine. Officials managing reintroductions programs in the U.S. usually turn to Canada for supplies of animals to be transplanted.

September 22, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
I just visited Bali, Indonesia this spring and did not realize this problem arising. Being criticized for killing stray dogs by tens of thousands, they claim they could not afford mass vaccinations recommended by the WHO & others. Bali will vaccinate 400,000 dogs against rabies on the island. The disease has killed dozens of people with overwhelemed reports of dog bites.

September 21, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Although the barracuda fish is well-known for being a big tough predator and just so happens to be highly populated, there is hardly any studies done on them. This is why a Carleton University student decided to do her thesis on them and study them in the Bahamas. People are so focused on the endangered animals that no one bothers to look at the populated ones. She found that she had no fear while swimming with them; they do recover after being caught and released BUT at a more vulnerable risk for predators; that there is a common toxin that some fish absorb called “ciguatera” which can poison humans; and that they love to travel. Some mysteries still remain such as the fish disappearing for months in the summer most likely going towards the deep regions nearby.

September 21, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
I was not aware that Scottish kilts included a sporran (seal fur covered pouches worn for centured by Highlanders). Now that Europe is putting a ban on it, Scottish kilt makers are turning to Canadian Inuit hunters for supply.

September 20, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
In getting ready for the public hearing in the U.S. over the safety of the genetically modified salmon the main question is if it is food or drugs. The fish was designed in a lab in
PEI and created to grow twice as fast . The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided to regulate the salmon using rules for veterinary drugs- as opposed to new food products. A coalition of consumer groups are preparing to speak out at the hearings about not having sufficient scientific examination of food-safety issues.

UPDATE: September 21, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
The Canadian government could derail efforts to bring the first genetically engineered fish to the States by shutting the door on the company’s efforts to transform the Prince Edward Island research facility to a commercial operation. AquaBounty Technologies Inc. wants to become the first GE animal approved for human consumption. Concerns are around human health and environmental impact of the GE animal (AquaAdvantage salmon, genetically engineered to grow twice as fast with a gene from an eel-like fish and growth hormone from a chinook salmon). The FDA has declared that they are as safe to eat as other Atlantic salmon. The U.S. warns that if approved, the GE salmon would open the door for other modified animals without proper consideration. These fish might not be labelled GE in grocery stores! Canadian opponents also worry that Health Canada will go along with the FDA’s decision. Before they can get approved though they will have to assess whether a commercial hatchery for GE salmon is toxic to the environment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. If they deem so, they can block the enterprise.
UPDATE: Sept 22, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
The salmon could make its way to grocery shelves within the next two years if regulators approve. If approved, other GE animals will most likely enter the food chain in the U.S aswell. Consumers are trying to convince the FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee that AquaBounty’s food safety assessments are not rigorous enough to meet FDA standards. The studies are based on insufficient sample size. One doctor claims that allergenicity risk is serious and must be looked at and claiming it “pathetic science”. The CEO says the salmon are raised in fresh water indoors; are bred to be infertile thus less risk of escaping into the ocean and contaminating wild stocks; safe to eat; have the same nutrition and texture of the Atlantic salmon. The other issue is if grocery stores are going to label it as such. GMO-free label is now the fastest growing store brand even though about 80% of conventional process food sold in the U.S. contains GMOs. The director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists raises a good question: what are the food safety issues in order to call this new food safe?


UPDATE: October 17, 2011 – Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Environment Canada isn’t sure it can fully protect wild fish stocks if it approves the commercialization of a hatchery of genetically engineered salmon eggs. The admission could stymie efforts by American company AquaBounty Technologies to sell the first genetically engineered animal that people can eat. The company’s plan is to transform its research facility in
PEI into a commercial hatchery to product GM salmon eggs. The eggs would then be sent to an inland fish farm in Panama, where it would be raised and processed then shipped as table-ready fish to the U.S. The FDA’s report is now being reviewed by the White House. Even if the U.S. approves AquaBounty’s application to sell GE salmon there, the company will still need approval from Environment Canada to manufacture the GE fish eggs in PEI. Approval falls under the Canadian Environmental Protection act (CEPA). It poses a dilemma for Environment Canda, which has to determine whether to concern itself only with the production and transportation of GE fish eggs or whether the federal government also has a duty to consider wider potential effects GE fish could have on this country or the global environment if fish ever escaped the Panama fcacilities and migrated into Canadian or International waters. Enviornment Canada recommended that the scope of the environmental risk assessment to take a fulsome approach and at minimum should provide “for the full protection of the Canadian environment, in particular Canadian fish stocks”, the document states. This could raise problems since keeping an eye on the Panama fish farming operation could go well beyond the capability of Canadian authorities.

September 21, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
A British woman sparked an Internet hate campaign after she was caught on camera dumping a cat into a garbage bin. She was rightfully charged with causing unncessary suffering to the animal. She was also charged with failing to provide the cat with a suitable environment and will appear in court in October. The cat was stuck in the plastic bin for 15 hours until her owners heard the cat. The owners caught the woman from checking footage from a closed-circuit television camera they installed in their house.


September 21 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
A black widow spider (venemous) was found in a bag of grapes by a lady in Windsor, Ontario. It had a distinctive red hourglass marking on the underside of its body. The lady had bought the grapes from Wal-Mart.

September 20, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
An oil company has sealed the blown-out Macondo well, 153 days after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform causing the worst oil spill in history. The impact on the Gulf of Mexico environment and animals is huge.
Facts: 1.8 million gallons of chemical used by the company to break down the oil & prevent it from reaching the coastline. The problem: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the use of them NOT knowing the long-term effects would be on aquatic life. On the other hand, the EPA said the chemicals used were less toxic than the oil itself. There has been 9.5 million dollars spent on research projects examing the effects of the spill but one scientist says it will take 3 years to assess the spill’s effect on sea life. Furthermore, there are reports that it is causing stress on algae (the critical base of the ocean food chain)! There have been 3,634 dead birds collected, 1,042 live birds that were coated with oil. Most number of fatalities were among laughing gulls, brown pelicans, and nothern gannets.

August 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
Southern Sudan has unveiled plans to remake its capital cities in the shapes found on their state flags- costing $10 billion. The plan is to transform two state capitals into the shapes of a giraffe and pineapple. Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, is to be reshaped into a compact rhino with two pointy horns and be renamed Rhino City. Others disagree with the idea as people of Sudan should first think about putting money into basic services like health care & water.

August 19, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
Amy Gill saw her dog Eddie wandering the rural road outside her family’s home and thought he must have gotten out again. As she got closer she notcied an arrow, about a metre long, sticking out of the 4 year-old dogs chest. When brought to the vet, the arrow had missed the heart by a few centimetres. “Whoever did it knew what they were doing”. The arrow costed Gills family $8,500, 6 hours of surgery for Gill and now is suffering damage to his liver, diaphragm and stomach along with reduced lung capacity. Gill hopes that an arrest will be made for this cruel act.

August 17, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
Prosecutors dropped all 46 charges against the Toronto Humane Society, its former board and some senior staff members. The organization who laid the charges (Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) were very upset. The crown attorney detailed a long list of constitutional violations by the OSPCA which made it impossible to use evidence gathered by the raid. Some of the violations: in searching through then-president Tim Trow’s home, investigators took personal items; use high-profile public relations firm to help maximize exposure such as documenting the finding of the mummified cat that eventually found its way to youtube. Also, the defence alleged OSPCA brought charges in order to stop THS from competing donations. The point being made by activists is that a single organization (THS) operating shelters & enforcing animal cruelty laws represents a conflict of interest.

August 17, 2010- Source: The Ottawa Citizen
The Crown attorney came to the decision to withdraw charges against former Toronto Humane Society president Time Trow & four others. The Toronto Humane Society was raided last November after the OSPSCA obtained a search warrant under suspiscion of animal cruelty. There were reports of neglected cats & dogs- even a mummified cat found in the ceiling. The five men were charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence of cruelty to animals and also with obstructing a peace officer. Charges were dropped because “serious constitutional issues had rendered the evidence obtained during investigation inadmissible”. Currently the OSPCA has no recourse for an appeal and cannot press further legal charges.

August 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
The Cape Breton park will continue to trap and kill aggressive coyotes after two attacks within 10 months. Park staff is using air horns, pepper spray to prevent the coyotes from becoming too familiar with the visitors. Nova Scotia’s natural resources minister approved a controversial program since hunting & trapping is not allowed in the federal park. They are offering trappers $20 for each coyote they bring in, starting in October. John MacDonnell said he wouldn’t mind if trappers eliminated HALF of the provinces estimated 8,000 coyotes by next spring. The first recorded fatal attack happened in Nova Scotia last October—surprisingly only the second ever in North America. For something that happens so rarely is this really the answer?

August 14, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
Animal rights activist Rosyln Cassells obtained a court injunction ordering the University of Victoria to refrain from trapping and killing rabbits until otherwise ordered by the court. But Patti Pitts said there is no legal standing to bring the injunction as the plan meets all requirements by B.C’s Wildlife Act. There are around 2,000 feral bunnies that call the University their home but the University is claiming that the burrows are a safety hazard along with the amount of feces being a health risk to humans. About 50 bunnies were trapped and sterilized this spring; 100 were captured and killed during May. Groups that offered to adopt the bunnies such as in Texas were unable to secure the necessary provincial permits to do so. The University’s plan: to capture about 500 and if possible-- sterilize & relocate the neutered rodents. If provincial permits cannot happen, the school will be forced to euthanize the rabbits.
UPDATE: Sept 20, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
There are around 1,600 bunnies left from the continuing feral rabbit explosion that has spanned more than two decades now. Mrs Shaw, a green party candidate ran through a number of bureaucratic hoops- getting government permission to relocate the bunnies to the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in East Texas (they were the ONLY ones who were willing to take more than 1000 bunnies). Several vets are spaying and neutering the University bunnies before they are shipped off to Texas. And what about the SOLUTION to the bunny-dumping problem? The city of Richmond has banned the sale of pet-store bunnies. Kelowna & North Vancouver require any rabbits sold at pet stores be spayed & neutered. Activists would like to see this go nation-wide or hefty fines be dealt.

September 8, 2009

Endangered Black-Footed Ferret