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Kindness and Cruelty: An Animal Welfare Year in Review

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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.

Marineland

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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