Please help me! I'm upset! I'm confused! I can't speak, but I'm hot, I'm hungry, and I'm thirsty! I need air! I want space! My life is upside down today, and I don't understand! Where are my babies? Why are we here? My friends, my family and cousins, are all shit-scared. Can I just go back to yesterday, please? I'm smarter than you think; I'm fully self-aware and none of this seems right!! Oh, there's a human. She is kind, she has water. I need water!
BOOM! Mind-piercing, gut-wrenching screams. Silence. Sadness.
In Burlington, Ontario, local animal activist Anita Krajnc of Toronto Pig Save went on trial for "mischief" because she gave water to a distressed, dehydrated pig, who was en route to slaughter in a truck, in the summer of 2015. The outrage has been swift and widespread. The largest media services in the world, including The Guardian, The Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Post all covered the story, as did all of our domestic news services. Clearly, Anita's story and actions have hit a global nerve.
We are bearing witness to progressive change in real time for animals in Canada. Anita Krajnc, however unwittingly, is leading the charge at the grassroots/bottom-up level. Someone has to because getting our Government to make the changes top-down has proven near impossible. This, despite the fact that a 2015 Environics study showed that 92 per cent of Canadians surveyed want better animal protection laws and World Animal Protection gives Canada a "D" rating on its animal protection index.
Why aren't the MPs doing their homework, let alone representing our voices?
There have been 13 attempts in the last 16 years to update the Criminal Code provisions on cruelty to animals, but delay tactics by lobbyists have killed them every time. These provisions were written in 1892 -- let that sink in for a minute! Provisions that are so inadequate that prosecutors know it's usually pointless to lay charges even against sickening cruelty because they won't get convictions. WTH?
Every time a bill is introduced that would improve these antiquated animal cruelty provisions, a small but loud bunch of fear-mongers stoke the same old flames of fear and lies... Fishers will go to jail for putting a worm on a hook! Farmers will be drummed out of business! Hunting will become illegal! It's the end of medical research! No more pets! The sky is falling! How on earth do they come up with this stuff? And why, in heavens' name do MPs believe them when every justice department and legal expert has said there are no such risks for the animal-use industries. MPs are elected by citizens to represent their views. Why aren't the MPs doing their homework, let alone representing our voices?
The reason must be that the farming, hunting and fishing lobbies are a threat to rural Liberal seats. Many of those rural seats were historically held by Conservatives, until 2015. That must be it -- there is nothing else that would explain it.
On September 28th, Canada's Parliament will vote on a bill to improve the welfare of animals in this country: Bill C-246 "The Modernizing Animal Protections Act." If the good guys win, the bill will proceed to an all-party committee for review and possible amendment. But if they don't pull together 50 per cent +1 of the votes that are cast that day, the bill dies. Another one bites the dust. And right now, it's not looking good.
Don't wake up on September 29th and wish you'd done more.
The Liberal party seems to be backing away without putting up a fight, rather than stand up to that very small number of lobbyists, and do the right thing. Granted, we have a lot of newly-minted MPs in this Parliament, who are sensitive to the next electoral cycle. We also have a lot of "old school" MPs, who, bowing to their constituents' fealty to old practices, are downright opposed to any change, hanging onto 1952 ideas and ideals for dear life:
The new generations, like Anita, understand the value of inclusion, diversity, and saving the environment (which includes a hard focus on agricultural practices), and object to cruelty to animals -- period -- whether it's a puppy or a pig.
Don't wake up on September 29th and wish you'd done more. Do it now. Go to www.CallYourMp.ca for all the information you need to be part of the solution. It's the last call for animals. MPs are here to serve "at your pleasure." Exercise your rights. Lend your voice. If you want to be part of the solution for animals, click here.
Please do it for the dear pig, who DID want water, and DID NOT want to die.
This editorial was co-authored by M. Michelle Nadon and Cara Melbye, both Toronto animal advocates.
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