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Kindness and Cruelty: An Animal Welfare Year in Review

Posted: 12/21/2013 2:45 pm

Are things getting better or worse for animals in Canada? Each year the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) creates a list of animal welfare advances (The Good), setbacks (The Bad), and issues that made us shake our heads in sorrow (The Ugly).

Below is a small selection from the list. Click here to view the entire list.

The Good - Advances and positive stories for animal welfare

Maple Lodge Farms was found guilty of violating federal animal health regulations when more than 1,500 chickens (out of 10,944 chickens that were being transported) froze to death in cages in the back of transport trucks. There are still 58 more charges pending against Maple Lodge Farm. Read more.

Ryan Gosling spoke out on behalf of pigs by condemning confinement housing (gestation stalls) in an opinion piece that was published in the Globe and Mail and then picked up across the country. Read more.

On October 20, after a three-day journey that was more than two years in the making, Toka, Thika and Iringa, the Toronto Zoo elephants, arrived at the Performing Animal Welfare Sanctuary (PAWS) in San Andreas, California, to enjoy their retirement. Read more.

Last winter shoppers were shocked to discover a young Japanese macaque (snow monkey) dressed in a tiny shearling coat wandering at a Toronto area IKEA. After months of legal wrangling a judged decided that the animal would live out his years in a primate sanctuary rather than as a pet in a private home. Read more.

The Bad - Setbacks for animal welfare

In 1999 the Ontario government cancelled the Ontario spring bear hunt citing ethical concerns about the orphaning of bear cubs. In November the Ministry of Natural Resources announced that a limited spring bear hunt would be allowed in Northern Ontario. It will commence on May 1, 2014. Read more.

In November the Manitoba government silently removed 30-year-old restrictions in the province which allowed placing only polar bears younger than two years in captivity. The Assiniboine Park Zoo has stocked its facility with two bears from Churchill since the removal of the restriction. Read more.

Kijiji was presented with a petition with 58,000 signatures (now more than 60,000) requesting they stop advertising the sale of dogs and cats in their classifieds ads to help combat the use of the online platform by puppy mill operators. The company stands by its business model and refuses to implement a third party monitoring system. Read more. Sign the petition.

The province of Quebec, notoriously known as the puppy mill capital of North America, released new animal breeding laws. Unfortunately, the laws are full of loopholes. However, it's not all bad as the new regulations do prohibit the use of gas chambers for euthanasia - a long standing controversial issue. Read more.

Bowmanville, Ontario's city council made a sound decision that it would not allow an aging cancer stricken elephant to march in the annual Santa Claus parade. The decision was widely protested in the community and eventually reversed. Limba was euthanized due to her illness two weeks after marching in the parade. Read more.

The Ugly - What were they thinking?

Undercover footage exposing the conditions of laying hens at two farms in Alberta was aired by CTV's investigative journalism show W5, exposing the condition of thousands of animals. During the investigation the Egg Farmers of Canada issued a security alert to their members encouraging them to not cooperate with the media or allow journalists any access to farms. Read more.

Toronto will always have Rob Ford; however, Huntingdon, Quebec, has Stephane Gendron. The mayor of the small town, and part-time radio shock jock, claimed that he killed stray cats by running over them with his car. He was quoted as saying, "When I see a cat in the street, I accelerate." Read more.

At the 2013 Calgary Stampede a steer was euthanized after its neck was injured in a wrestling event and an outrigger horse collapsed and died from a burst lung artery during the Chuckwagon races. Since 1986, 57 animals have died or been injured at events in the Calgary Stampede. Read more.

The Ugly Hall of Shame - Sadly, it was difficult to decide which single story in the last year would be given the dishonour of being in our hall of shame this year.


Stories about Marineland, located in Niagara Falls, Ont. continued to make the news more than a year after staff came forward with accusations of mistreatment of the animals there. In 2013, Marineland accused former trainer turned whistleblower Phil Demers of trying to steal a walrus. In the spring, Marineland confirmed that two of its beluga whales had died. Read more. And more.

This list was created by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies www.cfhs.ca


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  • "Keith Allison is out of work and struggling to support his family. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151207133003208&set=pb.45564118207.-2207520000.1357860058&type=3&theater">Despite his own struggles</a> he went out of his way to save Caleb, a dog left abandoned and neglected, when no one else would. For three weeks he took care of Caleb and searched for help to get Caleb safely captured." (Via Facebook)

  • A cute puppy reduces a man to tears with his affection.

  • In June 2010, a Fresno, Calif., family unable to afford emergency care turned their injured dog over to the SPCA to be euthanized. A staffer, however, was so touched by their <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=8720026">heartfelt goodbye</a> that the organization helped save the dog’s life, resulting in a tearful reunion.

  • "Our sweet Levi <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=441761919221771&set=pb.218621588202473.-2207520000.1357857134&type=3&theater">the day we got him</a> in 1997 and the day we said goodbye in 2012." (Via Facebook)

  • An Indiana man <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/indiana-man-reunited-lost-dog-years-article-1.1221452#ixzz2HcGt0bZU">enjoyed a tearful reunion</a> with his dog Bandit five years after the beloved pet went missing in 2007, the New York Daily News reported in December. "This is my little buddy," he said at an adoption center in Indianapolis. "I’ve been missing him for five years."

  • "This photo captures the moment when this man was <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=430963933634903&set=pb.218621588202473.-2207520000.1357859936&type=3&theater">reunited with his dog</a> after a fire gutted their home and firefighters saved the dog's life." (Via Facebook)

  • Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in the East Limestone, Ala. on Friday, March 2, 2012. (AP Photo/The Decatur Daily, Gary Cosby Jr.)

  • A puppy stampede of love.

  • A man and his <a href="http://imgur.com/6NFEp">best friend</a>. (Via Imgur)

  • "My husband's dog <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/germanshepherds/comments/12zh5u/xpost_from_raww_my_husbands_dog_greeting_him_at/">greeted him at the airport</a> in the morning," Redditor VonIsengard wrote. "This dog is Daddy's princess. He wouldn't have forgiven me if I didn't bring her to the airport!" (Via Imgur)

  • "The first and last night with my pup... Rest in peace" (via Imgur)

  • "<a href="http://imgur.com/gallery/1Mgx2">What a difference</a> 8 weeks makes." (via Imgur)

  • "A boy and his dog <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/aww/comments/12u98c/a_boy_and_his_dog_reunited_after_sandy/">reunited after Sandy</a>."

  • Don't be scared.

  • We'll make it, I swear.

  • "This firefighter <a href="http://imgur.com/gallery/Gub3v">saved this dog</a> from her burning home." (Via Imgur)

  • After Kissimmee firefighters -- reportedly all animal lovers -- rescued two dogs from a fire, Engineer Gary LaTour revived one with <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=303541009710530&set=pb.218621588202473.-2207520000.1357860381&type=3&theater">mouth to snout resuscitation</a>, according to a Facebook post.

  • "My dad recently <a href="http://imgur.com/gallery/nmbvB">adopted a flunked guide dog</a>. I think they like each other." (via Imgur)

  • "This is my friend <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=467614926636470&set=pb.218621588202473.-2207520000.1357857051&type=3&theater">singing to his dog</a> before he passed away." (Via Facebook)

  • The video that started it all. His transformation from man to small child is adorable, but his reaction is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/dad-surprised-christmas-puppy-reaction-video_n_2397230.html?utm_hp_ref=good-news&ir=Good%20News">all the more touching</a> considering the family lost their beloved dog a short time ago.

  • The 15 Most Important Pets Of 2012:

  • Trotter

    This hipster French bulldog from San Francisco is one of the cutest and coolest things the Internet has ever seen. The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/trotter-the-hipster-french-bulldog_n_1837790.html#slide=1442172">Instagram superstar</a> is simply a natural in front of the camera.

  • Chengdu Panda Cubs

    In October this photo of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/chengdu-panda-cubs-are-th_n_2083702.html">seven sleeping panda cubs </a> went viral. They were born in 2012 at the Chengdu Panda Base in China. Clearly, they give any animal a run for its money for 2012's cutest.

  • Baby Sloth

    In March, this adorable baby sloth melted every heart on the Internet. The sloth was wrapped from the head down in colorful bandages that happened to look a lot like a 'onesie'. The bandages are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/baby-sloths-wearing-onesies_n_1313389.html">a creative solution to the baby sloth's skin infection</a> -- but to us, they're just about the cutest thing we've seen all year.

  • Hedgehogs

    In November <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/07/cute-hedgehogs_n_1941315.html#slide=1604891">hedgehogs took the political campaign</a> by storm. Not only are these little guys indisputably cute, but they also look good in just about every situation and costume. Now if only we could have voted one into the White House..

  • Zeus

    This year, Zeus was officially named the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/zeustallestdog">World's Tallest Dog! </a> The 4-year-old canine stretches to an amazing 7'4" when standing on his hind legs.

  • Beyonce

    In March, a star was born. And her name was Beyonce. A <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/beyonce-puppy_n_1384872.html">contender for World's Smallest Dog</a>, Beyonce was so small when she was born that she could fit into a spoon! We're anxious to see if she will nab a spot in the Guinness World Records.

  • Cleopatra

    These two baby tigers, whose mother abandoned them, found an unusual wet nurse: a wrinkled, sand-colored Shar Pei named Cleopatra. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/dog-nurses-tiger-cubs-photo_n_1574598.html">This image of the dog feeding her adopted cubs </a> is one of the most heartwarming things we saw all year.

  • Wally

    When an adorable East-Prussian Skudde lamb's mother passed away, Wolfgang Grensens, who volunteers as a shepherd in Luebeck, northern Germany, decided to raise the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/wolfgang-grensens-german-_n_2132209.html">6-week-old baby</a> himself. Now the little lamb frolics along with Grensen's three dogs. Say it with us now: awwwwww.

  • Echidnas

    This adorable pet wasn't on our radar until late this year, and now we're big fans! In October, a tiny echidna was rescued from a trail in Australia. His good looks melted the hearts of Internet users worldwide. A truly fascinating creature, the echidna has remained <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/adorable-rare-echidna-puggle-rscued-laps-milk-from-nurses-hand_n_2011500.html">virtually unchanged since prehistoric times</a>. Plus, it's a mammal that lays eggs. How cool is that?

  • Shiba Inu Puppies

    In June 2012, the world watched in fascination as cuteness unfolded live before its eyes. During the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/08/shiba-inu-puppy-cam-live-_n_1581770.html"> Shibu Inu puppy cam's fourth installment</a>, we wouldn't tear our eyes away from the adorable puppies featured.

  • Hamlet

    One of the year's most memorable videos featured <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/hamlet-mini-pig-goes-down-stairs-oatmeal_n_1574841.html">a mini-pig named Hamlet</a> making a quest down a staircase. As soon as he got a whiff of the oatmeal awaiting him, there was no doubt about it: He <em>needed</em> to get down those stairs!

  • Tard The Grumpy Cat

    Earlier this month, we named Tard the Grumpy Cat <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/19/most-important-influential-cats-2012_n_2323065.html">the most influential cat of the year,</a> so it's no doubt she would show up on this list as well. Throughout 2012, Tard stole millions of hearts with her constant frown, which arguably changed Internet cat memes forever.

  • The Queen's Corgis

    Queen Elizabeth II's corgis <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/09/queen-elizabeth-corgi-dies_n_1868282.html"> stole the show</a> during the opening ceremony at the Olympics, when they starred in a sketch alongside James Bond. Unfortunately, Monty and Cider, two of the four corgis, died in September. The other two, Willow and Holly, remain in the palace with the Queen.

  • Fiona

    Last year, a Los Angeles couple found Fiona -- sick, blind, and dirty -- in a trash heap. In March, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/26/blind-dog-fiona-in-trash-rescue_n_1379889.html">her story of recovery</a> went viral. Thanks the couple's fundraising efforts, Fiona received a full makeover, and a $4,000 eye surgery replaced the lens in one of her eyes, partially restoring her vision. She has since been adopted by a loving family.

  • IKEA Monkey

    An Internet sensation was born this month when a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/ikea-monkey-toronot_n_2270707.html">dapper monkey wearing a coat</a> and a diaper decided to make IKEA its playground. It was a great way to end 2012.