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Barbara Cartwright

CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

An award winning leader in animal welfare, conservation and education, Barbara’s work has spanned five continents and 20 years. Her extensive experience in developing and facilitating relationships with stakeholders including governments, corporations and NGOs has led to innovative programs with dynamic results including working with First Nations to initiate community based companion animal welfare, partnering with the BC government to implement the first grizzly bear rehabilitation program, supporting east coast fishermen to protect the endangered right whale and mobilizing African communities across the continent to conserve chimpanzees. Barbara is sought after for her knowledge of policy and public affairs. She has secured amendments to federal legislation including updates to the Criminal Code, the Migratory Bird Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Barbara has advised some of the top organizations in the world on animal welfare policy direction including working with eBay INC to end the illegal ivory trade on its site worldwide.
Today, as the CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), Barbara convenes and represents the largest animal welfare community in Canada working to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals. She leads the CFHS in fulfilling its mission to create a humane Canada through the successful execution of strategic and business plans. Over the past five years Barbara has launched the National Animal Welfare Conference, the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty, and the first empirical sector wide research project. She is consulted by all political parties on issues of animal welfare including updating legislation and consulting on policy documents such agricultural and food policy.
Barbara has presented to audiences around the world including to the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada, the all-party International Conservation Caucus, the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as well as at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Congress. She holds a Master’s in Environmental Education and Communication, is a published author, lecturer and received the Governor General’s Gold Medal, as well as the National Environmental Excellence Award. She is the former President of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, an Advisory Council Member for the Pan-African Sanctuary Alliance and currently sits on the PetSmart Charities of Canada Board of Directors. Barbara is a member of Women’s Executive Network, the Council of Women Executives and part of the Distinctive Women network.
The Sun Is Setting On Whale And Dolphin Captivity In

The Sun Is Setting On Whale And Dolphin Captivity In Canada

As Bill S-203 winds its way through the Senate, let's show this cruel industry that using cetaceans for entertainment and profit is an abhorrent practice that Canadians no longer support. If passed, this bill would ban the import, export, display and captive breeding of cetaceans -- protections that these animals desperately need.
05/16/2017 05:46 EDT
We Need To Listen To Science And End The Captivity Of Marine

We Need To Listen To Science And End The Captivity Of Marine Mammals

The world's scientists vehemently condemn the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises, and it's time that we listened to them. Twenty marine mammal biologists from around the world recently signed a collective letter in support of the goals of Bill S-203, which would outlaw the practice of keeping these animals in captivity in Canada.
02/28/2017 11:55 EST
18 Ways We Can Strengthen Canada's Animal Transport

18 Ways We Can Strengthen Canada's Animal Transport Regulations

Canadians want to do something to end the cruelty that more than 700 million farm animals experience while being transported across the country each year but, for many, the language of Canada's transportation regulations is too dense and technical to understand.
02/08/2017 03:09 EST
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly In 2016 Animal

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly In 2016 Animal Welfare

CFHS took a look back through 2016 and pulled together the biggest stories of this year's Canadian animal welfare advances (The Good), setbacks (The Bad) and things that made our jaws drop (The Ugly). We've also included info on the top five international animal welfare wins from 2016. They appear in no particular order.
12/28/2016 08:52 EST
Canada's Farm Animals Deserve Dignity And Care In

Canada's Farm Animals Deserve Dignity And Care In Transport

Change is needed in the way we think about farm animals in Canada. Transportation is the most alien and stressful experience that a farm animal will have in its lifetime. The longer and harder this experience is, the more risk there is of stress-induced illness, injury and death.
12/23/2016 01:10 EST
Christmas Is Looking Bright For Canada's Companion

Christmas Is Looking Bright For Canada's Companion Animals

Thanks to the hard work of humane societies and SPCAs across Canada, we have a lot to celebrate this holiday season. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies has just released our annual Animal Shelter Statistics Report, and it is full of great news for companion animals in Canada.
12/22/2016 11:15 EST
The Hard Facts About Canada's Humane Societies And

The Hard Facts About Canada's Humane Societies And SPCAs

Canada's humane societies and SPCAs have been telling their own individual stories since the 1800s, but we haven't had the chance to tell the collective, Canadian story until now. A new, first-of-its-kind sector report just released by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies gives us that bigger picture view.
11/10/2016 02:12 EST
9 Ways To Keep Your Pets Safe On

9 Ways To Keep Your Pets Safe On Halloween

Halloween is a fun time of year for humans, but that isn't always the case for pets. A parade of strangers in even stranger outfits ringing the doorbell can cause anxiety, and there are a number of threats to them -- human and otherwise -- on Halloween night. Follow these safety tips below for a safer and happier Halloween Night for your pets.
10/26/2016 10:31 EDT
We Can't Shut Our Eyes To Bestiality

We Can't Shut Our Eyes To Bestiality Anymore

For the most part, Canadians are a kind and polite people. We help each other, we donate to causes, we rally against injustice and we mind our manners. But our weakness is that we often believe things are better than they actually are. For one, we're loathe to admit that bestiality happens in Canada and often coincides with child sexual abuse.
09/08/2016 02:26 EDT
Burden Of Enforcing Animal Cruelty Laws Falls On Underfunded

Burden Of Enforcing Animal Cruelty Laws Falls On Underfunded Agencies

Just imagine how up in arms the public would be if police forces had to fundraise to maintain the safety equipment, training and staff coverage that they need to make sure our communities are safe. Inadequate funding means that enforcement officers are taking unnecessary risks to their personal safety on the job.
08/19/2016 02:01 EDT
The Crisis For Fort McMurray's Animals Is Just

The Crisis For Fort McMurray's Animals Is Just Beginning

While the Fort McMurray SPCA is working diligently to develop strategies for keeping pets with their families, regardless of their housing status, pet surrender rates are likely to go up and adoption rates will most certainly go down as the community struggles to get back on its feet.
06/13/2016 01:44 EDT
Canada's Government Wants To Set Animal Protection Back 20

Canada's Government Wants To Set Animal Protection Back 20 Years

I'll cut right to the chase: Canada is failing its animals, and it is time for change. Given the chance to modernize the out-dated and woefully inadequate animal cruelty provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada 13 times over the past 16 years, our lawmakers have consistently declined to protect animals. The reasons are as disappointing as you'd imagine.
05/10/2016 05:20 EDT
Bill C-246 Will Close Animal Cruelty

Bill C-246 Will Close Animal Cruelty Loopholes

The winds of change are sweeping through Canada, giving us a renewed sense of possibility and hope about what we can accomplish together. As so many have said since the federal election in October, "Canada is back!" And Canada wants change for animals.
03/01/2016 10:39 EST
Devastating Spate Of Barn Fires Reignite Call To

Devastating Spate Of Barn Fires Reignite Call To Action

January was a devastating month for Canada's farm animals. There have been eight massive barn fires since January 1, killing almost 53,000 animals. Sadly, some of the simplest protection strategies recommended by farm and fire experts across the country are still not standard practice on Canadian farms.
02/01/2016 05:57 EST
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly In 2015 Animal

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly In 2015 Animal Welfare

It's the end of the year and, once again, we at the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies are asking: are things getting better or worse for animals in Canada? We've had some significant forward movement -- a number of important new laws and policies were introduced this year that will make a huge difference in the years to come.
12/21/2015 04:48 EST
Quebec's Bill 54 Falls Short Of Protecting All

Quebec's Bill 54 Falls Short Of Protecting All Animals

Until this law was passed, there was no distinction between a car and a cat in terms of legal rights. Anyone who has ever lived with a pet knows that animals experience emotions and feel both physical and psychological pain, but this is the first time in North America that these basic truths have been entrenched in law.
12/09/2015 12:28 EST
Showing Your Pet Some Love This Valentine's

Showing Your Pet Some Love This Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a wonderful day to spend with those you love -- whether they have two legs or four, paws or feet, wagging tails or smiling faces. It's a great day to share your love with everyone who makes you happy. This Valentine's Day we want to see a selfie of you and your BFFF (Best Furry Friend Forever)! Snap a picture of you and your pet -- be it a cat, dog, rabbit, or even a horse -- and show us your love!
02/14/2015 11:38 EST
Are Canadians Having a Cat

Are Canadians Having a Cat Moment?

The numbers are promising but right now there are still thousands of cats and dogs in shelters waiting for their forever home. The holidays can be a magical time of year to add a companion animal to your household. Many families choose to adopt a pet and give them a home during the holiday season, creating lifelong bonds and unforgettable memories -- all while saving a life!
12/18/2014 12:02 EST