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CNIB Kicks Off 100th Year with Launch of Guide Dog Training Program
Canadian students heading to North American innovation competition with robot that helps manage weight in pets
Students from Glen Ames Public School in Toronto are on their way to California, thanks to their innovative approach to managing weight for pets. The grade 7 and 8 students designed, built and programmed a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS that automatically feeds the right proportion of food to pets, as a solution for weight management – the number one factor in pet longevity, according to Pet Wellness.

The robot, named Petportion, was entered in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competition which welcomed innovations for this year's theme, Animal Allies. In February, the Pawsitive Proportionists team finished second in the East Ontario Championships and won the Solution Development award at the Ontario Innovation Celebration. This qualified them to continue to the FIRST LEGO League's LEGOLAND North American Open in California this May.

The competition challenges students to research a world problem and develop a solution. Team members learn to think like scientists and engineers, develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic presentation abilities and STEM applications – science, technology, engineering and math.

"There are well over 100 mathematical calculations that take place within this robot, four sensors, three motors and many variables," said teacher Luke Martin. "FLL projects give students the motivation to learn about programming, variables and engineering strategies."

Petportion is a robotic device that weighs the pet and provides an accurate portion of food. It uses an infrared sensor and a beacon device on a dog's collar to open a door for access to the food. An LED system provides feedback on whether the dog is underweight, overweight or the ideal weight and adjusts portions accordingly. The innovation has also caught the attention of Royal Canin – a global leader in cat and dog nutrition. The company invited the students to its headquarters in Guelph to tour the facility and see how Royal Canin develops foods that meet the growing demand for weight management in pets.

"Obesity is a significant problem in the pet population and puts dogs and cats at risk for serious diseases," said Dr. Matt Spiegle, a Scientific Communications Veterinarian with Royal Canin. "It's exciting to see the next generation thinking of ways to prolong the lives of pets. Feeding appropriate quantities of food, divided into meals throughout the day plays a key role in preventing obesity and helping our pets live longer, happier lives." Royal Canin is also covering some of the costs of getting the team to the finals in California.

View the team's video of Petportion at-work:
CNIB is beginning its 100th year with the launch of the CNIB Guide Dog Program to raise and train guide dogs – exclusively for people with sight loss. The program's first two puppies have arrived in Canada, with more pups expected over the next year. The first puppies are expected to graduate from their training and be matched with users in late-2018.

CNIB is seeking animal lovers in the Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax markets who would like to be Puppy Raisers by taking a puppy into their home from the age of eight weeks to about 12 to 15 months of age, when formal guide dog training begins. The Puppy Raiser's role is to provide a loving home to a puppy in training and to help prepare the pup through a supervised obedience and socialization skills program overseen by CNIB. All costs will be covered by CNIB.

"The CNIB Guide Dog Program has been designed to provide the range of choices and services that Canadians with sight loss have told us they want," said John Rafferty, CNIB President and CEO. "Our focus is to train guide dogs to specifically meet their needs, with training philosophies that maximize success and a suite of supports to ensure every guide dog user has full enjoyment of their guide dog."

There are almost half a million blind and partially sighted people in Canada. For some, a guide dog provides an unparalleled level of mobility, freedom and confidence —opening up the world in a whole new way. While other guide dog training programs exist in Canada and internationally, CNIB's new Guide Dog Program will increase the number of Canadian-trained dogs and expand choices and opportunities for people who want to become guide dog users.

CNIB has begun the process of gaining accreditation from the International Guide Dog Federation for the program, which will include the following features:

A blindness focus: CNIB will only train dogs to work as guide dogs for blind and partially sighted users.
The highest quality standards: CNIB will be working with Golden and Labrador Retrievers and crosses thereof, from top quality guide dog breeders.
Flexible training options: Guide dog training will be tailored to the needs of each guide dog partnership, and may include options to train from centralized locations or in the user's home community.
No cost to the user: Guide dog users will not pay for their dog, the training or the follow-up support provided by CNIB. All costs will be covered through charitable donations.
A full suite of value-added services: CNIB will provide follow-up support throughout the dog's working life, including additional and refresher training, peer support and social groups.
A commitment to rights: CNIB will advocate with guide dog users to increase public awareness and break down barriers that impede accessibility and infringe on their rights.

"I think anyone who would like to have a guide dog should have the opportunity, so I'm pleased this new program will expand the availability of guide dogs in Canada," says Victoria Nolan, CNIB national board member and long-time guide dog user. "I'm also glad that advocacy on accessibility, the built environment and guide dog user rights is central to the program. Wouldn't it be great if any guide dog user anywhere could get into a cab or have a coffee with friends without discrimination?"

Visit for more information about the CNIB Guide Dog Program, including how to apply to be a volunteer puppy raiser or stay up-to-date on the program.

Happily ever after on World Penguin Day in New Zealand 
Tuesday, 25 April marks World Penguin Day and nowhere celebrates penguins quite like New Zealand where you'll find more penguin species - and more ways to see them - than anywhere else in the world.

Welcome to 'the penguin kingdom' where, with their cartoon good looks, cute antics, cool disposition and celebrated 'happy feet', there's plenty to celebrate.

At Auckland's Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, a same sex pair of king penguins will celebrate World Penguin Day with their surrogate foster chick. Dubbed Thelma and Louise, the mothers' doting love for their joyful bundle testifies to the character of these majestic birds and the strong family bond which is important to penguins. The 24-year old mothers share their home with fellow king and Gentoo penguins in Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic penguin enclosure.

For the record, penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds. They live almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, with just one species (the Galapagos) found north of the equator. So, if you want to see penguins, New Zealand's pretty much your best bet.

New Zealand is one of few accessible lands with penguin populations.
There are only 18 different penguin species with seven found in New Zealand - yellow-eyed, Fiordland crested / tawaki, little blue, white-flippered, erect-crested, Snares, and rockhopper.
Three of these rare penguin species breed on the New Zealand mainland and there are a variety of places and ways to view penguins in their natural habitat.
Korora / Little Blue Penguin

The little blue penguin is exactly as it name suggests, little. The smallest penguin species at 35cm (13 inches) the korora weighs around 1kg (2 pounds) and is common in New Zealand coastal waters. The Blue Penguin colony in Oamaru, on the South Island's east coast, is an ideal spot to watch these little guys making their nightly pilgrimage from the sea, over the rocks, through their underpass tunnel and into their nests.

Blue penguins are the world's smallest penguins (35-43cm tall).
Blue penguins travel 15-75 km at sea each day, and only come ashore under cover of darkness.
Chicks often return to where they were raised and never move away.
Related to the blue penguin, the Canterbury white flippered penguin lives around Banks Peninsula, near Christchurch.
Tawaki / Fiordland Crested Penguin

The Fiordland crested penguin stands out from the crowd with its super cool yellow hairstyle. Only found in New Zealand, these penguins frequent southern coastal waters and can be seen around the Catlins (on the Otago / Southland coast), Stewart Island and in Fiordland. Cruise Milford or Doubtful Sound with Real Journeys and you may spot one on the rocks.

Tawaki are monogamous and often mate for life.
Tawaki is one of only two penguin species that breed during the winter, the other being the emperor penguin.
Tawaki lay two eggs during breeding season but only raise one chick per season. The first egg may be an insurance against failure of the second egg.
Hoiho / Yellow-eyed Penguin

Unique to New Zealand, the yellow-eyed (hoiho) penguin is one of the world's rarest penguin species. This species relies on both marine and land environments to survive. On New Zealand's South Island, around the Otago Peninsula and North Otago, a huge amount of work has gone into providing nesting sites and shelter to help breeding. Penguin Place has special hideaways where humans can have a close-up on penguin life.

The yellow-eyed is one of the larger penguin species with adults reaching 75cm in height.
With an estimated wild population of than 4000 individuals, the yellow-eyed penguin is the world's rarest penguin.
There are no yellow-eyed penguins in captivity.
New Zealand Penguin Experiences

Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium - Meet the southern royals, Antarctica's king and Gentoo penguins in their icy domain. There's an exclusive on-the-ice-guided encounter experience where guests go behind the barrier to meet the locals and pose for photos with them.
Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony - The Blue Penguin colony in Oamaru is an ideal spot to watch these little guys make their daily pilgrimage from the water, up over the sand and into their holes for the night. They even have their own underpass to protect them from the road above.
Penguin Place - Penguin Place in Dunedin takes visitors through a unique system of covered trenches and into specially designed viewing hides, allowing close-up access to the breeding grounds of the yellow-eyed penguin.
Real Journeys - Fiordland crested penguins can be hard to spot but on a boat tour of Milford or Doubtful Sounds, they can be seen sunning themselves on the rocks.
Sub-Antarctic - For those who are serious about penguins, a trip with Heritage Expeditions will visit the sub-Antarctic islands south of New Zealand including Snares, home to the Snares penguin.
Helping endangered eels in Ottawa River
SeaWorld Shares Video of Last Orca Calf 
SeaWorld is excited to announce the birth of the newest member of the SeaWorld family of killer whales. Takara, the 25-year-old matriarch of the orca pod, gave birth to the calf at 2:33 p.m. Central Time, April 19, 2017, at SeaWorld San Antonio. A team of veterinarians and animal care specialists witnessed the historic birth and are continuing to monitor Takara and her new baby 24-hours-a-day to help ensure a successful start.

Guests at SeaWorld San Antonio will have the opportunity to visit and observe Takara and her calf in the near future during select times. Although this will be the last opportunity for SeaWorld guests to see a baby killer whale up close as it grows and matures, SeaWorld will continue to care for the orcas at its parks for decades to come.

"This is an exciting and emotional day for us at SeaWorld and we are all so proud to share this new killer whale calf with the world, after a year and a half of planning, and observing and providing all the special care," said Chris Bellows, Vice President of Zoological Operations. "Takara is a great mom and immediately began bonding with and caring for her new baby. Everyday she inspires SeaWorld's guests to learn more about and do more to protect animals in the wild. She is a true ambassador."

Julie Sigman, an Assistant Curator at SeaWorld San Antonio who has been with Takara through three of her last pregnancies and births, expressed her excitement at watching the calf surface to take its first breath. "Nothing can prepare you for that moment when mom helps the calf get to the surface for its first breath. The moment the calf is born, Takara is 100% focused on the care and well-being of that baby. She knows exactly what to do. It is amazing," said Sigman.

"Takara will continuously swim with her calf as it begins to nurse and learn," added Sigman. "We take our lead from mom, Takara will let us know when she is ready for us to meet the calf and at that time we should be able to determine the gender."

Takara, born at SeaWorld San Diego, has had four other calves, which now range in age from 3 to 15 years. Takara was already pregnant as a result of natural breeding when the announcement to end orca breeding was made in March 2016.

"Although this is the last killer whale birth at a SeaWorld park, our work to understand and protect this species will continue for decades to come," said Dr. Hendrik Nollens, Vice President of Veterinary Services for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. "Takara and her calf are an important part of not only educating the visitors who see them at the parks, but also ongoing research that helps marine biologists understand how to better care for and protect orcas in the wild. We are very pleased that this birth will be able to continue to add to this body of knowledge for this iconic species."

The birth of Takara's calf is also the last chance for researchers to study orca development in ways that cannot be done in the wild, helping to benefit wild whales as well as those in SeaWorld's care. Information learned from Takara and her calf will add to SeaWorld's extensive database about killer whales and their calves, contributing to studies of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population off the coast of Washington, where they are threatened by pollution, overfishing and human development. The pair will provide data and samples to studies focused on killer whale growth and metabolism. One looks at toxin transfer in milk when babies nurse and another will help evaluate body shape changes to understand nutritional conditions for free-ranging killer whales. The calf, her mom, and other whales will also be monitored by a research team from St. Mary's University in San Antonio to better understand the social impact of calves and their social development within a killer whale pod.

More than 22 million guests a year visit SeaWorld and support its mission to deliver experiences that matter and inspire protection of the wild world. SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world's leading marine animal rescue organization, advocating for wild animals and protecting our oceans. This includes a commitment of $10 million in matching funds dedicated to killer whale research and the creation of a multi-million dollar partnership focused on ocean health, the leading concern for all killer whales and marine mammals.
 The Canadian Wildlife Federation, Carleton University and Energy Ottawa have joined together to study the American eel, an endangered species native to the Ottawa region. The group received a $122,000 grant from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's Ontario Species at Risk Stewardship Fund for vital research.

Greg Clarke, Chief Electricity Generation Officer, Energy Ottawa said, "As hydroelectric producers, we believe it's our duty to ensure our facilities have minimal impacts on the environment, wildlife and the natural migration of species. We're proud to work together to do our part to protect the wildlife in our waterways."

It is estimated that less than one percent of the historic population of American eels remains in the Ottawa River.

Meaghan Murphy, Senior Scientist, Ottawa Riverkeeper said, "Collaboration between hydropower companies and other watershed stakeholders on projects such as this is critical to improving American Eel populations in the Ottawa River watershed. We are excited to see this project moving forward. When industry and other groups combine their knowledge and skills and work collaboratively, American Eel wins."

The study will track and assess downstream migration and passage success at Chaudière Falls.  

Long-Term Vision: Connecting Vital Ground for Grizzlies
Connectivity -- it's a hot buzzword when it comes to wildlife. But what does it really mean?
At The Vital Ground Foundation, connectivity shapes our organizational vision. A dozen years ago, when the foundation moved from Utah to Montana and became a working land trust focused on grizzly bear recovery, it was connectivity that drew us quickly to the Swan Valley.

"We don't need to save thousands and thousands of acres," explains biologist and Vital Ground trustee Douglas Chadwick. "We just need to save hundreds of acres in exactly the right places."

South of Canada, grizzlies once lived from Glacier National Park to the Sierra Madre of Mexico and from the Olympic Peninsula to the Dakota prairie. But the development of the West during the 19th and 20th centuries confined the big bruins to the region's remotest corners and eventually pushed them near extinction.

Recovery efforts now leave an estimated 1,800 grizzlies in the Lower 48, but the species remains confined to just four percent of its historic range across the American West.

That's a problem if your goal is to ensure the survival of the iconic silver-tipped bears as an integral part of our regional heritage, as a birthright for future generations of Montanans, Idahoans, Washingtonians and Wyomingites.
Preserving that legacy is Vital Ground's mission-and it's why connectivity looms as our watchword.

It's All About Genes

"We have a native species on the landscape that we have reduced to exceedingly low population levels," says Wayne Kasworm, a longtime biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. "Bears need secure habitat that provides opportunities for them to move across the landscape without bumping into too many people along the way."

While large cores of protected habitat anchor grizzly populations in the Yellowstone and Glacier-Bob Marshall areas, these footholds are not enough to provide long-term security for the species. The key to connectivity, Kasworm explains, is genetic diversity, the thing that prevents the downward spiral of inbreeding. That only happens when reproductive bears can move between previously isolated subpopulations.

"When I think about linkages," he says, "it's not only about the ability of the animal to get there, but to get there and reproduce, so we have genetic linkage as well."

In western Montana, the Glacier-Bob Marshall bears now range into the Rattlesnake Mountains and south of Highway 200. At roughly 1,000 animals, this Northern Continental Divide subpopulation is the largest south of Canada. The expanse of its range has everything to do with connectivity.

Highlighting that success is the Swan, where conservation efforts have linked Mission Mountain habitat with the larger core of the Bob Marshall Complex. Vital Ground began chipping in with a permanent conservation easement on Bud Moore's Coyote Forest property in 2005. Eight easements later, we've helped create a patchwork of protected land in the valley, a corridor that maintains working landscapes while letting bears and other wildlife move between the mountains with much less risk of conflict.

"We are continuing the concept of maintaining vital wildlife as well as productive private forests," says Bill Moore, Bud's son and one of the participating landowners in Vital Ground's Elk Flats Neighborhood Project near Condon. "We are striking a sustainable balance in our part of the Upper Swan Valley."

In Search of Connections

Balance is harder to find elsewhere in the state. Although Northern Continental Divide bears periodically venture west of Whitefish and Highway 93, lack of an established habitat link keeps them genetically isolated from their neighbors in the Cabinet-Yaak recovery zone. Connecting these populations stands as a major goal in ensuring survival for bears west of the Glacier region.

Even within the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, the developed Kootenai River Valley splits bears into two struggling subpopulations, one in the Yaak Valley and another in the Cabinet Mountains. With no evidence of breeding females passing between the two-or between the Cabinets and the Selkirk Mountains of the Idaho-Washington-British Columbia borderlands-the Cabinet and Yaak subpopulations hover around just 25 bears apiece, according to Kasworm's latest estimates.

"We want to see linkage occur where bears move in naturally," Kasworm says. "We've documented a couple of instances of males getting into the Cabinets from either the Selkirks or the Yaak, and that's certainly a good sign, but ultimately we need reproduction because that's where we get genetic change."

With recent DNA sampling showing inbreeding among the Cabinet and Yaak grizzlies, Vital Ground sees the region as ground zero for building connectivity. We've recently purchased two properties in the Kootenai Valley near Troy and our latest project seeks to conserve land along the river, creating a fully protected habitat corridor that links mountainous U.S. Forest Service lands on either side of the valley.

But the long-term vision of grizzly stability extends far beyond western Montana. Across the Clark Fork Valley from Missoula and the Rattlesnake Mountains, the sprawling Selway-Bitterroot-Frank Church complex offers several million acres of prime protected bear habitat but the linkages are too weak for any grizzlies to have settled into recorded residency there.

Meanwhile, recent sightings show silvertips moving west from Yellowstone into the Big Hole Valley near Wisdom, a promising sign that linking both Yellowstone and Glacier bears to the Selway-Bitterroot stands as a realistic goal.

And to the west, in the North Cascades of Washington, a new proposal would gradually reintroduce grizzlies to that ecosystem, a large rugged wilderness anchored by a national park and one that might eventually link to the Selkirks, less than a hundred miles to the east.

At a time when the West's political discourse blares with threats of public land transfer, connectivity goals for grizzlies may seem like an environmental pipedream. But Vital Ground and other private-land conservation groups know that it's not, that the template is before us to establish those key corridors that will make a much broader difference.

With the Swan Valley for inspiration, we are committed to working with landowners across the region who want to join in our connective vision, saving places not just for bears but for elk and lynx and bull trout and people alike.

Join us today in imagining a future that leaves room for all the diverse species and traditions that color our treasured heritage.

Matt Hart is a Wyss Conservation Scholar in the Environmental Studies graduate program at the University of Montana and a communications intern at Vital Ground. To learn more and get involved, visit

This story originally appeared in the Seeley-Swan Pathfinder.
Alley Cat Allies Extends Observation Of National Animal Care & Control Appreciation Week Throughout April
Workers at Canada's Largest Dairy Convicted of Animal Cruelty After Undercover Investigation
On Thursday three workers of Chilliwack Cattle Sales—the largest dairy factory farm in Canada—were convicted of violating the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for viciously kicking, punching, and beating cows, and using chains and tractors to lift sick and injured cows by their necks. Travis Keefer, Chris Vandyke, and Jamie Visser pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges. They are expected to be sentenced in early May.

These convictions followed a hidden-camera exposé by Mercy For Animals, an international farmed animal protection organization. In December, also stemming from these incidents, Chilliwack Cattle Sales and one of its owners were convicted of animal cruelty and ordered to pay fines of almost $350,000. Four additional workers were also charged. Their cases are pending.

Mercy For Animals praises the BC SPCA and the Crown for pursuing justice in this important matter.

This investigation prompted BC agricultural minister Norm Letnick to amend the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to incorporate the Dairy Code of Practice. The Dairy Code of Practice outlines minimum guidelines for the treatment and welfare of Canada's dairy cows. According to reports obtained this year through freedom of information requests, the BC Milk Marketing Board found that more than 25 percent of BC dairy farms had failed to comply with the provincial code of practice for animal welfare over an 18-month period. Inspection reports showed numerous problems, including overcrowding, lame or soiled cattle, tails accidentally torn off by machinery, branding and dehorning of calves without pain medication, cows lying on concrete, and failure to produce a manual outlining management practices on individual farms.

Mercy For Animals is calling on all provinces to incorporate the Dairy Code of Practice into their provincial animal cruelty legislation. Giving the Dairy Code of Practice the force of law will require the dairy industry to follow basic minimum standards for animal welfare.

"The wheels of justice are finally turning for these tortured animals," said Krista Hiddema, vice president of Mercy For Animals in Canada. "Only the most sadistic acts of cruelty are being prosecuted, however. It is obvious the dairy industry is incapable of self-regulation. Until the Dairy Code of Practice has the force of law in every province, animal abuse and neglect will run rampant in the Canadian dairy industry."

To view the undercover video that led to today's convictions, visit
Alley Cat Allies is extending the observation of National Animal Care & Control Appreciation Week, held April 9-15, throughout the month of April to call attention to the important role animal control agencies and animal shelters can play in improving the lives of cats. It will recognize the work of cutting edge animal control agencies, animal shelters and their staffs. These are the individuals who are breaking the mold by helping to save cats' lives and making positive impacts for the cats in their communities.

"Innovative animal control officers are playing an essential role in the humane treatment of community cats both by serving as a resource for the public and also by advocating for programs like Trap-Neuter-Return and Shelter-Neuter-Return in their communities," said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. "We celebrate and thank animal control officers and animal shelter staff who have challenged the conventional wisdom to help protect the lives of cats."

One animal control officer who has gone above and beyond is Sgt. Erin Brogan from the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office in Virginia, who helped save the lives of 70 cats in her community in a single incident. Alley Cat Allies is proud to highlight her work and the stories of other exceptional animal shelter staff and animal control officers on its Facebook page, The page will recognize a different animal control officer or animal shelter each week during April.

Alley Cat Allies will also host a pair of webinars to further celebrate the month. The first, "The Benefits of a Community, Animal, and Shelter Supported Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Program" is now available on for immediate viewing. The second webinar, "Working With Animal Control and Shelters to Save More Cats," will take place on April 26 and will also be recorded for future viewing at the same web page.

About Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 650,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Its website is, and Alley Cat Allies is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.

Regulate ocean noise or risk Salish Sea orca extinction, say top marine scientists
 Reducing ocean noise by more than three decibels over 10 years would create a key condition for the recovery of the orcas of the Salish Sea off the B.C. coast, say 20 marine scientists. In this letter sent to the Prime Minister and federal ministers of Fisheries, Environment and Transport today, the scientists call for an immediate commitment to reduce levels of underwater noise in the Salish Sea, which they call "already excessive." WWF-Canada, which criticized the recent Species at Risk action plan for the recovery of these endangered orcas, supports the scientists' recommendation.

The letter

Visit here to read to public letter.
Signed by 20 marine scientists who have expertise in this population of marine mammals or work on the effects of underwater noise on ocean wildlife.
List of signatories includes Canadian and American academics, retired researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and experts in underwater bio-acoustics
Orcas of the Salish Sea

Also known as southern resident killer whales, these orcas have been declared endangered in both Canada and the United States, as their critical habitat straddles the border. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommended that these orcas be listed as endangered in 2001.
In March 2017, the federal government released a plan for their recovery. The plan has been widely criticized for its lack of actions to address the threats facing the orcas.
WWF-Canada has a 50-year history of working on species recovery and protection, and has been working for more than 10 years to help the Salish Sea orcas by:

Working with the shipping industry to reduce the impacts of underwater noise on these whales.
Working with partners to create a network of marine protected areas on the Pacific Coast.
About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit
Record breaking CN Tower climb for WWF-Canada
WWF-Canada's 27th annual CN Tower Climb for Nature broke records this weekend for the fastest climb time, most registered climbers and most dollars raised.

The inaugural Elite Climb Challenge on Sunday, April 9 attracted speedy climbers, obstacle course racers and tower runners to vie for the fastest time up the CN Tower's 1,776 steps.

Shaun Stephens-Whale, 27, set a new WWF-Canada climb record of 9 minutes and 54.9 seconds. He's from Robert's Creek, B.C., and has raced up some of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building, Seattle's Rainier Tower and Abu Dhabi's Etihad Tower and the Eiffel Tower. This was his first time climbing the CN Tower.

The fastest female climber of the weekend is 12-year-old Aysia Maurice from Bolton, Ont., who finished in 12 minutes and 53.4 seconds. A Grade 7 student and competitive mid-distance runner, she also holds the all-time Ontario record for her age group in the 1,200 and 2,000 metre events.

More than 9,000 people stepped up for nature this year and joined the climb. Together, climbers raised more than $1.37 million (and counting) to reverse the decline of wildlife in Canada and around the world. Almost 500 volunteers also joined the effort.

This year's climb marked a first for David Miller, former Toronto mayor and current president and CEO of WWF-Canada, who climbed the Tower on Saturday, April 8 in 24 minutes, 48 seconds.

David Miller, WWF-Canada president and CEO, says:
"Joining thousands of Canadians climbing 1,776 steps to the top of the Tower is an incredible experience. I can't overstate the energy, the enthusiasm and the unity of purpose as we all joined together, right here in Toronto, to raise money to stop the degradation of nature. Some people climb for turtles, some for polar bears, some for their favourite whale. But whatever wildlife climbers connect with, the spirit of volunteerism soared this weekend. It's no surprise this is our best climb ever."

Shaun Stephens-Whale, WWF-Canada's fastest climber, says:
"The Tower is intimidating. I started conservatively, got into the zone and before I knew it I was at the 60th floor. Breaking 10 minutes was my goal, so I'm happy to have achieved that – and to get the record. I'll have to come back and see how fast I can go."

About WWF-Canada's CN Tower Climb for Nature
WWF-Canada's most significant fundraising event, the CN Tower Climb for Nature raises more than $1 million to protect habitats and species across Canada and around the world. For more information, visit

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit
American Humane Offers Tips to Stay Safe During National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (April 9 -15) and All Year Round 
 Every year more than 4.5 million Americans, more than half of them children, are bitten by dogs. As part of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Coalition, American Humane, the country's first national humane, encourages adults to protect both children and dogs, and learn the importance of pet owner responsibility.

"Dogs are our best friends, providing love, comfort and protection," says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. "But it's up to us humans to be good friends to them as well by protecting everyone around us – ourselves, our kids, and our dogs – from the dangers and consequences of dog bites."

Dogs can bite for many reasons, including improper care and/or a lack of socialization. All dogs, even well-trained, gentle dogs, are capable of biting however when provoked, especially when eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Thus, even when a bite is superficial or classified as "provoked," dogs may be abandoned or euthanized. Therefore, it's vitally important to keep both children and dogs safe by preventing dog bites wherever possible.

"A dog bite can have a profound effect not only on the victim, but on the dog and the dog's family, especially if the dog is euthanized, might have to cope with loss for the first time," said Dr. Mark Nample, veterinarian and Certified Animal Safety Representative for American Humane's "No Animals Were Harmed®" program. "All dog owners everywhere need to make sure they know the steps they can take to prevent their dog from biting someone." Speaking at the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition kick-off event in Los Angeles on April 6, Dr. Nample was accompanied by a special guest: Hooch, top winner at the 2016 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, and his owner Zach Skow. Hooch had been badly abused but is gentle and trusting, working with special-needs and autistic children. He serves as an example of how one cannot judge a dog by looks alone and the importance of knowing the proper way to treat as well as behave around dogs.

To reduce the number of injuries to people and the risk of relinquishment of dogs who bite, American Humane offers the following suggestions:

For Children:

Never approach an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, and always ask for permission before petting the dog.
Never approach an injured animal – find an adult who can get the help s/he needs
Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping or nursing puppies.
Don't poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog.
For Dog Owners:

Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet.
Interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure the safety of both your child and your dog.
Teach your children to treat the dog with respect and not to engage in rough or aggressive play.
Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
Never put your dog in a position where s/he feels threatened.
Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep him/her healthy and to provide mental stimulation.
Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
Regular veterinary care is essential to maintain your dog's health; a sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
Be alert, if someone approaches you and your dog - caution them to wait before petting the dog, give your pet time to be comfortable with a stranger.
American Humane also offers a free online booklet available for families with children called "Pet Meets Baby," providing valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a pet – or a new pet into a home with a child:

Consider these statistics and tips provided by National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Coalition members:

The American Veterinary Medical Association says that after children, senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims. During National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, the AVMA highlights the most recent findings in the veterinary behavior field, introduces new educational programs for pet owners of all ages and joins with its coalition partners in urging public to respect and better understand a dog's behavior and urge dog owners to provide a safe, happy environment for both people and dogs. They have provided much useful information at this link.
State Farm reports that in 2016, it paid nearly $122 million as a result of 3,660 dog-related injury claims, an increase of 15%. Responsible pet ownership and educating children about how to safely interact with dogs is key to reducing dog bites. State Farm does not exclude dog breeds or types from insurance coverage because under the right circumstances, any dog might bite.
Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners' liability claim dollars paid out in 2016, costing in excess of $600 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm®, the largest writer of homeowners' insurance in the United States. An analysis of homeowners' insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,123 in 2016, compared to 15,352 in 2015 -– an 18 percent increase. The average cost per claim, however, decreased by more than 10 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $33,230 in 2016, compared with $37,214 in 2015 and $32,072 in 2014.
The U.S. Postal Service reports that 6,755 letter carriers were attacked last year, an increase of 206 attacks over 2015. They ask that if a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.
Canada's Last Ice Area cited as a potential World Heritage site
 A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in partnership with the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, has identified seven globally significant marine sites in the Arctic Ocean — including two in Canada — that warrant protection and could qualify for World Heritage status. The report was supported by WWF.

The Canadian sites include:

Remnant Arctic Multi-Year Sea Ice and the Northeast Water Polynya Ecoregion, encompassing the entire Canadian Arctic Archipelago and the North Water Polynya.

The North Baffin Bay Ecoregion, which includes Lancaster Sound.

Together these sites make up the Last Ice Area, the region where summer sea ice is expected to last the longest. These sites, identified by WWF more than 10 years ago, can be a refuge for ice-dependent species that will move northward as the planet warms.

The remaining Arctic sites include areas off the coast of Greenland, parts of Siberia, and the Bering Strait, the body of water that separates Russia from Alaska.

David Miller, WWF-Canada president and CEO, said,
"The Last Ice Area is a crucial habitat for many of Canada's ice-dependent species, including polar bears, walrus, seals, narwhals, belugas and bowhead whales. This winter we once again saw a record low amount of sea ice formed in the Arctic. We must act now to slow the warming of the planet, and protect these important refuges. It is encouraging that bodies such as the IUCN and UNESCO acknowledge this region is a worthy world heritage site. We look forward safeguarding the Last Ice Area for Arctic species and the people who depend on them."

Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme stated,"The Arctic Ocean plays a crucial role in shaping global climate and hosts a diverse range of species, many of them threatened. The World Heritage Convention has great potential to increase global recognition and protection of the region's most exceptional habitats."
Over and Above Africa Brings Global Supporters to the Front Lines of the Fight to End Poaching of Endangered Animals 
Canada's battery cage phase-out officially begins
Barren battery cages for Canada's egg-laying hens will be a thing of the past thanks to the tenacity of negotiators from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS). This phase-out is part of a new NFACC code for the care and handling of Canada's laying hens, which lays out the most rigorous care standards for egg-laying hens in North America.

This code represents the most significant change we've ever seen in Canada's egg industry. Currently, 90% of egg-laying hens in Canada live in cramped, barren battery cages. As of April 1, 2017, no new barren battery cages will be built in Canada, which is an important first step in transitioning the country's egg farms to more humane practices.

"The phase-out of barren battery cages is a huge win for Canada's hens," says Barbara Cartwright, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. "The timeline is much longer than we consider acceptable, but it doesn't diminish how meaningful a change this is in the long-term."

Transitioning away from barren battery cages is the right thing to do. This shift puts egg farmers on the right side of animal welfare science, which shows that hens experience extreme stress and frustration when they are unable to express the behaviours that come naturally to them, like dust-bathing and foraging. Cramped cages also prevent hens from walking or even spreading their wings for their entire lives.

This new code also introduces world-leading cage-free standards in response to public concern about the lack of guidelines for how cage-free systems operate in Canada.

"Unregulated, cage-free housing can be just as problematic as barren battery cages, with no enrichment for the hens and much more aggression and stress," says Geoff Urton, a key negotiator for CFHS on the Laying Hen Code Development Committee. "The new standards in this code will ensure that the term cage-free is as progressive as it sounds."

"These changes mean that hens in Canada will have more space, the ability to stand up fully in all forms of housing and the chance to express natural behaviours," says Barb Cartwright, CEO of CFHS.

The biggest strengths of this new code are:

No new barren battery cages will be built as of April 1, 2017
Barren battery cages in Canada are being phased out within the next 15 years
The introduction of stringent cage-free standards that far surpass the U.S.
It's expected that 50% of Canada's hens will be transitioned to enriched cages or cage-free barns within the next 8 years, and between 85-100% will be transitioned within 15 years.

This code ensures that hens live better lives, including the following:

Perch space
Feed and water space
Nest boxes
Good quality litter
Appropriate and timely care for sick and injured birds
Enrichments in all housing systems
More space in all housing systems
 Over and Above Africa, a new non-profit on a mission to bring a global community to the front line of the fight to protect Africa's most endangered animals, announced today the launch of its highly-anticipated, content and subscription platform.

The Company, founded by award-winning film producer Kerry David (Agent Cody Banks, My Date with Drew), aims to make the plight of endangered animals in Africa personal for individuals around the world and remove the current disconnect between donation and visible action on the ground where it counts.

"Our concept is very simple: Members pay a five dollars monthly subscription fee. These funds are pooled to finance highly targeted and vetted anti poaching initiatives that we know to be effective. Every initiative which receives our support is closely followed by us as our filmmakers, drone operators and photographers document the outcome and then transmit directly to our members to SEE and EXPERIENCE the clear impact their contributions have on the poaching crisis. We call it 'Affordable Philanthropy,'" explained Founder, Kerry David.

Although not officially launched yet, Over and Above Africa has received such strong support they have already funded their first initiative - "Boots for Rangers" video.

"Poaching is a complicated problem that isn't going away. It can however be stopped and for that to happen, there has to be a point where we collectively stand up and say no more. Over and Above Africa is a way that anyone - for the price of a cup of coffee - can play a part in that change," added Executive Director, Jennifer Pfister.

Leading figures from the worlds of conservation and technology oversee their Advisory Board and include; Dereck & Beverly Joubert, Emmy-winning filmmakers and Explorers-in-Residence at National Geographic, Steve Galster, Founder of Freeland and A.R.R.E.S.T, Alan Feldstein, Founder, Infinite Safari Adventures & The Cheetah Conservation Trust, and technology luminary, Jon Epstein of Sentient Technologies.

"Over and Above Africa's innovative new platform is introducing an entirely new source of funding to the wildlife trafficking crisis in Africa. It's a very exciting prospect for us in the field and extremely timely," said Advisory Board Member, Intelligence Expert, Founder of Wildleaks and Elephant Action League, Andrea Crosta.

"Over and Above Africa has aligned itself with exemplary NGO's both as beneficiaries and as advisors on the ground in Africa to ensure its allocated funds support effective, complementary and proven anti-poaching initiatives that when used in conjunction with each other, strike a forceful blow to poaching and wildlife trafficking," stated Advisory Board member, Assemblywoman, Autumn Burke.

For more information or to become a member, please visit -

Labrador Retriever Leads The Pack As Most Popular For 26Th Year 
World Animal Protection applauds Tim Hortons and Burger King's commitment to improve chicken welfare by 2024
Today, iconic brands Tim Hortons and Burger King announced a landmark commitment to improve the lives of chickens sourced for their restaurants in Canada and the US by 2024. The announcement made by Restaurant Brands International Inc. (RBI), a Canadian multinational quick service restaurant company that owns these two prominent brands, will positively impact the welfare of millions of chickens.

Aligning with the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) standards, the commitment by RBI includes transitioning to chickens bred to have fewer health problems, more space for birds to move around, better lighting, improved litter quality and enrichments like perches so the chickens can express more of their natural behaviours. The commitment also states that RBI will be working with animal welfare experts to achieve these changes by 2024.

"We are pleased to support RBI in this transition. Tim Hortons and Burger King's announcement today is the most substantial commitment to improving chicken welfare we've seen to date in Canada," says World Animal Protection Canada's Executive Director Josey Kitson, "and for it to come from such iconic brands is a meaningful indication of where Canadian food companies are heading."

Right now, nearly all the chickens raised for meat in Canada live in dark, barren sheds. Bred to grow so fast their bones and hearts can't keep up, they suffer painful lameness, sores and other health problems. In a recent global poll released by World Animal Protection, 82% of Canadians said they would not buy chicken from a fast-food chain if they knew it had suffered serious health problems because of living on an industrial farm.

"It's the right thing for RBI, Tim Hortons and Burger King to do for chickens, for their customers and for themselves. We know that Canadians want responsibly sourced food. More than seventeen thousand Canadians have taken our Change for Chickens pledge and companies like Tim Hortons and Burger King have taken notice," continues Kitson.

RBI's commitment to source improved welfare chicken for its more than 11,000 North American Tim Hortons and Burger King restaurants will require a substantial investment from Canadian chicken producers. "This commitment provides direction to both producers and other food companies," says Kitson. "We are looking at the beginning of some very positive changes for chickens."

The Labrador Retriever does it again! In a press conference today at its new pet care space, AKC Canine Retreat, the American Kennel Club (AKC®), the nation's largest purebred dog registry, announced that the intelligent, family friendly Lab firmly holds on to the number one spot on the most popular list for a record-breaking 26th consecutive year.

While the Labrador Retriever continues its reign as America's dog, the Rottweiler has been slowly but surely rising up the list over the past decade. The confident, loyal and loving Rottie was the eighth most popular breed in 2016, its highest ranking since landing at number two in 1997. The Rottweiler has risen nine spots over the past decade and is poised for a comeback.

"The Labrador Retriever has a strong hold on the top spot, and doesn't show signs of giving it up anytime soon," said AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo. "The Lab is such a versatile dog that it's no wonder it makes a great companion for a variety of lifestyles. Keep your eye on the Rottweiler, though. It's been quietly winning hearts over the past decade."

In addition to the country's most popular, terriers were on the move in 2016. The Russell Terrier jumped a substantial 14 spots (104th to 90th), the Rat Terrier rose five spots (101st to 96th), the Parson Russell Terrier rose two spots (111th to 109th) and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier jumped five spots (172nd to 167th).

Purina® set to deliver puppy love across Toronto to celebrate #NationalPuppyDay
 What's better than a visit from a puppy? How about a visit from four puppies?!

The cutest day of the year is on the horizon and Purina Puppy Chow® is gearing up to celebrate the 11th annual National Puppy Day by delivering Random Acts of Puppy to five lucky Torontonians who could use a visit from the Purina® Puppy Squad, a group of furry four-legged friends.

That's right, you heard that correctly. On March 23, 2017, Purina Puppy Chow® will deliver the warm and fuzzies on the Purina® Puppy Mobile. Coming right to your doorstep, the Purina® Puppy Squad and four Portuguese Water Dog puppies will be travelling around Toronto spreading the puppy love.

Earlier this month, the leading Canadian puppy food brand invited Torontonians to nominate their friends and family by sharing a story on @PurinaCanada's Facebook and Instagram channels on why their friend or family deserves a visit (certain restrictions apply, see here for more details).

In addition to Random Acts of Puppy, Purina Puppy Chow® is hoping to bring a little puppy magic to Canadians on National Puppy Day.

See below to learn how Canadians can take part in the celebration:

Snapchat! If you've ever wanted to be a puppy surrounded by a group of puppies, now's your chance. On March 23, 2017, Purina Puppy Chow® is launching a National Puppy Day Snapchat Lens, inviting Canadians to transform into their favourite furry friend.
Purina® PawsWay: In honour of National Puppy Day, PawsWay's Basic Agility class from 12 - 2 pm will be FREE. We will also be offering a FREE Puppy Care/Training class from 2:30 – 3:30 pm on March 23, 2017, thanks to Purina Puppy Chow®.
Throughout the day on March 23, 2017, the Purina® Puppy Squad will tour around Toronto, surprising the five lucky people with a lovable bundle of puppy goodness.   

Nonhuman Rights Project Argues for Chimpanzees' Rights, Release to Sanctuary in New York Appellate Court
The New York County Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department heard oral arguments today in the Nonhuman Rights Project's appeal of a lower court's denial of petitions for writs of habeas corpus on behalf of two captive chimpanzees, Tommy and Kiko.

In front of a packed courtroom, Nonhuman Rights Project President Steven Wise, the lead attorney in the case, argued that the capacity to bear duties and responsibilities is not a legally acceptable reason for denying recognition of Tommy's and Kiko's legal personhood and fundamental right to bodily liberty. He also told the judges that both chimpanzees should be freed from captivity to a Florida sanctuary under New York's common law habeas corpus statute, which guarantees that all legal persons have the right to bodily liberty.
A cornerstone of Tommy's and Kiko's cases, this fundamental right should not be limited to human beings, Wise has repeatedly argued.

In a ruling in the NhRP's first habeas petition on Tommy's behalf -- a ruling to which the lower court determined itself bound in its rulings on the NhRP's second habeas petitions for Tommy and Kiko -- the Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department assumed that chimpanzees cannot bear duties and responsibilities and that legal persons must have the capacity to do so. These assumptions are erroneous, Wise asserted during today's hearing.
Requiring the ability to bear duties and responsibilities as a precondition for personhood, Wise said, "[would deprive] millions of humans in New York the ability to go into court" under habeas corpus, a reference to infants, children, incapacitated and elderly people who cannot realistically fulfill that requirement.

He also pointed out that chimpanzees can bear duties and responsibilities within their communities and said claiming otherwise is "biased and arbitrary."
"It [the Third Department ruling] was irrational," he told the court, citing the amicus brief submitted in support of the NhRP by Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law Laurence Tribe. "It was unfair, and it's not backed up by science."

Wise argued before the judges for just over 15 minutes, responding to questions that included why he keeps returning to court after failing in previous attempts (because he disagrees with the rulings, he said) and why he thinks chimpanzees should be afforded legal personhood under the law (he pointed out that women and blacks were also at one point not considered persons under the law).
At one point, the judges asked him why he's not asking to set the chimpanzees free, but is instead requesting them to be moved to the sanctuary Save the Chimps. Wise pointed out that there are numerous habeas corpus cases in which the plaintiff is moved from one facility to another, including from a mental hospital to a prison.

Wise also clarified to the judges that he is not seeking "human rights" for Tommy and Kiko, but rather legal rights that would give them protections under the law -- namely, the right to bodily liberty -- that they do not currently have. As the law is now, the chimpanzees are considered "things," and the only way to guarantee them fundamental rights would be to have them declared "persons." Other nonhuman entities, including corporations, have been recognized as legal persons.

"I think it went well," Wise said after the hearing. "It was a lot of questions really fast, which is what we like. Judges have concerns and questions, and it's a privilege that they express their concerns so that I can address them. I thought we did address their concerns. All our arguments are grounded on fundamental ideas of justice. And I think when the judges sit down and look at them, they'll see the truth in what we're saying. The reasons that humans have rights are the same as to why nonhumans should have rights. I am eternally optimistic."

A decision is expected in five to eight weeks.

CASE NO. Tommy: Index. No. 162358/15 (New York County)
Kiko: Index. No. 150149/16 (New York County)

CASE NAMES: THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC., on behalf of TOMMY, Petitioner-Appellant, -against- PATRICK C. LAVERY, individually and as an officer of Circle L Trailer Sales, Inc., DIANE L. LAVERY, and CIRCLE L TRAILER SALES, INC., Respondents-Respondents.

THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC., on behalf of KIKO, Petitioner-Appellant, -against- CARMEN PRESTI, individually and as an officer and director of The Primate Sanctuary, Inc., CHRISTIE E. PRESTI, individually and as an officer and director of The Primate Sanctuary, Inc., and THE PRIMATE SANCTUARY, INC., Respondents-Respondents.

For more information on Tommy, Kiko, and the NhRP's court cases on their behalf, visit

About the Nonhuman Rights Project

The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only civil rights organization in the United States working through litigation, public policy advocacy, and education to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals. For more information, visit or email us at

About NhRP President Steven M. Wise

Steven M. Wise is founder and president of the NhRP. He has practiced animal protection law for 30 years throughout the US and is the author of four books: Rattling the Cage -- Toward Legal Rights for Animals; Drawing the Line -- Science and the Case for Animal Rights; Though the Heavens May Fall -- The Landmark Trial That Led to the End of Human Slavery; and An American Trilogy -- Death, Slavery, and Dominion Along the Banks of the Cape Fear River. He holds a J.D. from Boston University Law School and a B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary.

Yuck! Nearly One-Third of Pet Parents Are Unaware Pet Toys Collect Dirt, Bacteria, Yeast and Mold 
 Spring cleaning season is upon us, and this year, Petco wants to remind pet parents how to care for their pet's products, toys and accessories. Nearly one-third of pet parents who responded to Petco's March survey* are unaware their pets' toys collect dirt, bacteria, yeast and mold. What's also alarming is 1 in 5 pet parents wait at least a month to clean their pet's eating and drinking bowls – even though pet bowls are one of the dirtiest items in the house.

"Pets shouldn't be overlooked in spring cleaning. For pet parents, cleaning their pet's belongings may be obvious, but the importance of replacing other items may not be. That's where we come in," said Whitney Miller, Director of Veterinary Medicine for Petco. "We're proud to be the go-to resource to keep pets happy and healthy, so pet parents can stay focused on spending quality time with their furry, scaled, finned and feathered family members."

Petco's in-store and online specialists, combined with the retailer's assortment of beds, bowls, crates and toys, have pet parents covered for a healthy home this spring.

Bowls & Feeding Accessories: A study by National Safety Federation revealed that pet bowls are one of the dirtiest items in American homes, yet Petco's survey revealed they're often easily overlooked by pet parents. While it's recommended to wash pet bowls daily with hot water and antibacterial dish soap to avoid germs that can upset some pets' stomachs, 1 in 5 pet parents are guilty of waiting at least a month to scrub their pet's eating or drinking bowls. Pet parents should also replace dishes and bowls if they are cracked, chipped or scratched.

Bedding: Sixteen percent of pet parents are unaware of how often their pet's beds and blankets should be cleaned, even though 76 percent are aware they should clean their pet's bed at least once a month. Petco recommends rotating pet bedding once a week to rid your home of the dirt, bacteria and allergens that dogs and cats drag in. If any tears or other damage, like loose stuffing on the bedding cannot be fixed, Petco specialists recommend replacing the items completely.

Toys: Around one in five pet parents are unaware of how often to replace their furry friend's plastic and rubber toys. While many toys can be cleaned with hot water and mild dish soap, Petco urges pet parents to diligently throw away toys once they become ripped, or if the stuffing or a squeaker starts to come out. Damaged rubber toys can have sharp edges that could injure pets' mouths and stomachs.

Litter Boxes and Accessories: Litter boxes serve as a host to a variety of bacteria and parasites, but one in five pet parents believe their cat's litter box never has to be replaced. Petco specialists recommend replacing the litter box at least once a year to keep your cat happy and healthy.

Pest Prevention: Make sure the only scratching your cat or dog performs is reserved for the scratching post. Nearly half of survey respondents don't routinely clean out their pet's spa supplies, including brushes. Even more surprising, 12 percent of pet parents are unaware of how often their dog or cat's flea and tick prevention products need to be replaced. While clean bedding and toys can help avoid pests with dogs and cats, Petco also recommends ensuring products, like flea and tick treatments, are tossed and replaced before their expiration for optimal results.

Just like pet parents, change can be tough for pets. Keep them comfortable when cleaning or replacing their belongings by incorporating something old with the new. Familiar scents and treats, in addition to offering praise to reinforce using the new product, should keep pets happy. After all, a clean home is a healthy home for both humans and pets.

For more spring cleaning tips and tricks from Petco, visit  

Whale Wave: Researchers Discover New Pattern of Humpback Whale Behavior on BC's North Coast
A new study based on an unprecedented decade of local monitoring in Gitga'at First Nation territory, has revealed a previously undetected "wave" pattern of humpback whales seasonally using different habitats in large numbers as they navigate the Douglas Channel fjord system.

The "Whale Wave" was discovered by researchers from the Gitga'at First Nation, the North Coast Cetacean Society (NCCS), Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, and the NOAA-NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Centre. The study was published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series, a top-tier marine science journal.

"This study shows just how intricate the relationship between humpback whales and their habitat is, and it raises important questions about their conservation," said Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor and Hereditary Chief of the Gitga'at First Nation. "In light of the industrial pressures facing our territory, our Nation's reliance on the sea and the sensitivity and complexity of the area's ecology, our leadership's commitment to conservation and long-term local monitoring by our Gitga'at Guardians has never been more important or stronger."

Though annually persistent and specific in structure, the whale wave had gone unnoticed by typical marine mammal surveys, and was only revealed because of long-term, local monitoring and commitment of thousands of hours of survey time by the Gitga'at First Nation's Guardian Team and their partners NCCS.

"This wave likely results from humpback familiarizing themselves with this critical habitat over many years and developing specific behaviors, coordinated to the specific oceanography of this fjord system, that enable them to make the greatest use of its resources. This means local displacement by human impacts may have more consequences than previously supposed," said Eric Keen, a PhD candidate and the paper's lead author from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "We can't expect these whales to simply pick up and go somewhere else if industrial activities, such as shipping lanes, disrupt continuity of critical habitats like the Douglas Channel fjord system. Until thorough habitat-use studies are completed, irrevocable management decisions should be treated with caution."

In addition to revealing a pattern of whale behavior that has never been seen before, the study also suggests that the whale wave is being driven by needs other than food, potentially including physical and social habitat needs such as bathymetry and acoustic properties of the fjords for communication and singing, and companionship for the purpose of traveling within a group or mating.

"Our findings suggest humpback foraging needs within this fjord system are balanced against needs other than food and that the balance shifts through the year," said Janie Wray, a whale researcher with the North Coast Cetacean Society. "This behaviour may accommodate higher densities of humpbacks in the dwindling number of relatively undisturbed coastal habitats of the northeast Pacific, than would otherwise be possible. More research needs to be done to fully understand what this whale wave means and what its implications for whale conservation might be."

Ottawa falls short in plan to save orcas
Last Chance for Animals' Undercover Investigation Exposes Animal Cruelty at Canadian Toxicology Lab
 An investigation released by Last Chance for Animals (LCA) reveals the suffering of lab animals at one of Canada's largest Contract Research Organizations (CRO). For over four months in 2016, an LCA investigator worked at International Toxicology Research Canada (ITR), located in Baie d'Urfe, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. The investigator filmed numerous violations of the Animal Welfare and Safety Act, the Regulation Respecting the Safety and Welfare of Cats and Dogs, the Act respecting the Conservation and Development of Wildlife and the Regulations Respecting Wildlife in Captivity.

LCA has submitted evidence in official complaints to the ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (MAPAQ), the ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP), the ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN) and is demanding enforcement for:

Animals thrown, slammed, suspended by their ears or limbs, and struck in the face
Animals subject to painful and distressing procedures in full view of other animals in violation of Canada Council on Animal Care guidelines
Beagles and macaques denied any chance of exercise and socialization with humans or other animals, in some instances for the duration of a nine-month study (at the end of which the animals were killed);
Technicians instructed not to take note of hair loss in macaque monkeys developed through the stress of confinement in inappropriate housing;
Inadequate housing where animals were confined without appropriate area to rest; where animals were exposed to constant loud noises and harmful levels of gasses due to the build-up of urine and feces behind the animals' cages; and where animals risked being caught in the wire grilling of their cages;
An anecdotal instance of a macaque monkey being left unsupervised while restrained in an inhalation device and subsequently suffocating to death.
Click HERE to view the investigative video

LCA's investigation into the suffering of pigs, monkeys, and beagles at ITR; a facility that is hired by companies to test the toxicity of their products, highlights the plight of monkey #2502 whom the investigator named "Grace." Grace suffers greatly from the stress of confinement and her constant exposure to painful study procedures such as "gavage" where a tube is forced down her throat and chemicals pumped into her stomach. She spent most of her time while being observed exhibiting serious stereotypic behaviour and has large patches of hair missing from her body which ITR staff attributes to stress. International experts who reviewed the video evidence agreed.

"Large amounts of patchy hair loss, in the absence of a skin disease, for a monkey living alone in a cage, this would be the result of self-mutilation by the monkey, due to a behavior pathology associated with the stress of a captive environment," said Dr. Jessica Ganas, primate conservationist with over twenty years of experience working with primates both in labs and the wild who received her PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Margaret Whittaker Behavioural Advisor to the Old World Monkey Advisory Group of the American Zoological Association with 30 years of experience caring for captive primates states that "after viewing this video, it is my professional assessment that the monkey wearing the red collar is of extreme concern; her situation must be addressed to alleviate her suffering. I also believe that many of the other monkeys are at risk of developing behavioural pathologies and suffering from the techniques used at this facility."

"Last Chance for Animals urge MAPAQ to act swiftly to enforce egregious violations of law at ITR Canada." states Adam Wilson, Director of Investigations for LCA. "Striking puppies, slamming monkeys, and burning the backs of pigs with caustic substances is illegal even when done in the name of science."

In recent decades, scientific advancements have made tests involving animals obsolete thanks to the development of cheaper, more effective methods. Scientific innovation continues to render the use of animals in laboratory testing, and medical trials unnecessary. As LCA's investigation has revealed, animals used in medical tests are not only subject to the pain, neglect, and deprivation caused by medical procedures, but are often also the victims of unrelated abuse and mistreatment.

About Last Chance for Animals (LCA): LCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and public awareness campaigns. Since its formation in 1984, LCA has succeeded as one of the nation's pioneer animal advocacy organizations. Working internationally, LCA's Sam Simon Special Investigations Unit documents abuse in research labs, puppy mills, factory farms, and the entertainment industry, and works with prosecutors to enforce animal cruelty laws. LCA's educational and public outreach programs have empowered the public to make positive changes for the animals in their own communities.   

 The federal government's newly released Species at Risk Act action plan to ensure the future of the northern and southern resident orca populations in Canada does not include the strong, immediate actions that would help this species teetering on the edge of survival.

The resident orca population on the southern coast of British Columbia is down to just 78 members. An action plan seriously committed to their survival must contain immediate and measurable actions to address primary threats. This action plan fails to specify detailed timelines and is lacking on three key fronts.

Food availability

The plan should: Call for meaningful action and strong measures to secure availability of food for orcas, including site-specific fisheries closures when necessary.
Instead, the plan: Commits to investigate strategic fisheries measures and other management actions to implement "where appropriate."
Disturbances and contaminants

The plan should: Call for quantifiable targets and actions to reduce physical and acoustic disturbances, and contaminants, for each impact and the sum of those impacts (the cumulative effects).
Instead, the plan: Commits to "develop and recommend implementation of best practices, guidelines, regulations, or other measures to minimize or eliminate physical and acoustic disturbance to Resident Killer Whales" and "more investigation of area specific and boating regulations that reduce acoustic impact"
On managing emerging threats

The plan should: Call for clear direction that industrial development only be allowed to proceed if the net level of impacts of both existing and new activities on resident killer whale populations is decreasing and not increasing.
Instead the plan: Is not clear on how to deal with emerging threats and continued industrial development.
David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, says:

"Orcas are on the brink of disappearing from southern British Columbia waters. WWF-Canada had called for meaningful actions that would safeguard the food supply and curtail the accelerating threats from industrial development and other human activities in their critical habitat. The SARA-mandated goal for these orcas is to 'ensure the long-term viability of resident killer whale populations.' This will not be achieved without strong, rigorously implemented protections to prevent all existing and emerging threats from impeding that recovery. This isn't just a moral expectation placed on our government, it's a legal requirement for SARA-listed species. Time is running out."

WWF-Canada has a 50-year history of working on species recovery and protection, including for the southern resident killer whales by:

Working with the shipping industry to address the acoustic impacts of underwater noise on these whales.
Working with partners to enact marine protection through a network of marine protected areas on the Pacific Coast.
About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit

New $10,000 conservation prize honours slain philanthropist

 Nominations are now open for the inaugural $10,000 Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize to honour the slain philanthropist, and to reward a conservation hero in financial need.

About Glen Davis

Canadian businessman and philanthropist.
Leading supporter of WWF-Canada's Endangered Spaces Campaign between 1989-2000, which resulted in the establishment of more than 1,000 new nature reserves, parks and wilderness areas, doubling the amount of protected lands and waters in Canada.
Strong supporter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, particularly through its local chapters.
Slain in Toronto on May 18, 2007 at age 66, shot in the parking garage below WWF-Canada's offices after a lunch meeting. Three people, including a cousin of Glen Davis, were convicted of first-degree murder in his death.
About the prize

Established by WWF-Canada and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society to be given for the first time on the 10th anniversary year of Glen Davis's death in May, 2017
Honours Glen Davis's nationally significant contribution to Canada, and continue that contribution through worthy individuals who deliver results in the tradition of his legacy.
Helps a worthy candidate do things such as pay the rent and buy groceries, recognizing that conservation activists often experience financial hardship in order to do what they do.
The successful candidate will have the one of following characteristics:

Played a key role in bringing — or being on the cusp of bringing — meaningful protections to identifiable land or marine ecosystems in Canada.
Or led a foundational initiative regarding species or spaces that leaves Canada measurably better off.

Have a demonstrated personal financial need.
Nominations accepted at until 5 p.m. ET Monday May 1, 2017. Winner announced May 18, 2017.

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said, "Glen Davis loved big wilderness and helped protect more of Canada than anyone before or after him. Glen also invested in people as individuals and he was known for supporting their costs of living as well as the costs of their work. To win this award in Glen's honour is one of the most prestigious recognitions of its kind."

Family Pets Boost Child Development
Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers Delivers "Cadet" to Child in Bishop, GA
Activ4pets, providers of online and mobile platforms that give pet Walker, a 13 year-old Bishop resident, will meet his new service dog today as Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers delivers a Golden Retriever named “Cadet.” Based in Madison, Virginia, Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers has a mission to provide specially-bred and trained dogs for adults and children with invisible disabilities like Diabetes, PTSD, Seizure Disorders, or in the case of Walker—Autism Spectrum Disorder. Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, “SDWR” has over 600 service dogs working across the US and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving almost 1,000 families.

Cadet has already received thousands of hours of training as Autism service dog through SDWR’s puppy raiser training program where volunteers raise puppies in training for about a period of one year and then through the foundation and skill set training provided through SDWR trainers at the facility in Virginia. Cadet will continue to learn under the careful guidance of a certified trainer from SDWR and through the rapport he develops with Walker and his parents, Jennifer and Will, at their home in Bishop.

Walker, diagnosed with ASD at the age of 3, faces the daily challenges associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “When Walker has sensory overload, he can sometime do self-harm or hide,” states his mom Jennifer. “He doesn't recognize danger and he has problems with social interaction—particularly at school. Walker also has sleep disturbances through the night” says Jennifer.
These are but a few of the common challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

New scientific research studies into Autism therapy provide positive evidence of the difference a service dog can make. Dan Warren states, “The studies showed children experienced fewer sensory overloads, ‘meltdowns,’ smiled more frequently, and had less frustration when around their service dog.” Autism service dogs are also trained to redirect away from repetitive and sometimes harmful behaviors as well as prevent elopement. Walker will be tethered to his dog, Cadet, whenever he is out in public places and the service dog will be trained to accompany Walker to school. Having Cadet by his side will help Walker when he experiences over-load as Cadet is trained to help sooth him during these challenging times.

One of the main goals when training an Autism service dog is the need to keep a child safe and calm. According to Mr. Warren, “the studies further found that safety aspect was a huge relief for families as parents’ anxiety over their child can lead to social isolation.”
With the arrival of Cadet, Walker and his parents will have yet another tool, a four-legged one that has received training to assist him to live a happier and more enriching life. Since Cadet is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Walker everywhere—from restaurants to shopping to going to school with Walker every day.

Cadet will continue to work with the SDWR trainers and with Walker and his parents in their home to learn new skills to assist Walker as well as to achieve public access certification. Certification must be achieved by Cadet and his handler—in this case, Walker. Dan Warren is quick to point out that, “all the incredible services these dogs can provide are through progression, hard work and dedication of the organization and the family who must work together to build on training foundations and fundamentals. This is about an 18-month program for follow up and customization training.”

What sets SDWR apart from other non-profit service dog organizations are the customized training methods and SDWR matches dogs to their “person.” According to Dan Warren, “that important bonding time between dog and person can begin to happen right away. For nearly a decade we’ve been utilizing this method of dog placement and we’ve achieved amazing results.”

Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers is a non-profit organization based in Madison, Virginia, and relies on donations to help the Organization in its mission, “Until there’s a cure…there’s a dog.” To make or donation or learn more about SDWR, please visit the website, To learn more about Autism Service Dogs visit To find out how you can volunteer as a puppy raiser visit .
 Growing up with a pet can bring social, emotional and educational benefit to children and adolescents according to a newly published study. Youngsters with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, less loneliness, and enhanced social skills. This research adds strength to claims that household pets can help support healthy child development.

"Anyone that has grown up with, and loved, a family pet intrinsically feels the value of their companionship," says Dr Carri Westgarth, project leader. "The scientific evidence investigating the benefits to children and adolescent development looks promising. We dug deep into that evidence to understand which potential benefits were most strongly supported. Ultimately, this will enable us to know more about how pets provide young people with emotional, educational and social support."

The University of Liverpool Study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, was funded by the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, part of Mars Petcare and led by Dr Carri Westgarth, Institute of Infection and Global Health. Researchers carried out an in-depth review and quality evaluation of studies investigating the effects of pet ownership on emotional, educational or behavioural development in children and adolescents.

"Critical ages for the impact of pet ownership on self-esteem appear to be greatest for children under 6 and preadolescents and adolescents over 10. Generally dogs and cats are deemed to be the best providers of social support, perhaps due to a higher level of interaction and reciprocation in comparison to other pets," says Rebecca Purewal, lead author. "In both western and non-western cultures, pets may act as a form of psychological support, helping youths feel good about themselves and enabling a positive self-image."

"The patterns among sub-populations and age groups suggests that companion animals have the potential to promote healthy child and adolescent development," says WALTHAM researcher Nancy Gee, a co-author of the study. "This is an exciting field of study and there is still much to learn about the processes through which pet ownership may impact healthy child development."
Overweight to Great: The Basics of Pet Obesity
Pet owners and veterinary professionals share a common goal: to maximize the quality – and quantity – of our companion animals' lives. A healthy weight plays a critical role in achieving this goal but sadly it is estimated that over 50 per cent of dogs and cats in North America are overweight or obese. The good news is that, once recognized, this disease can be treated in partnership with a veterinarian to ensure safe and effective weight loss.

A key aspect of a weight loss program is caloric restriction and this should be done using a veterinary prescription weight loss diet. These complete diets have a careful balance of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, so that they can be fed at a restricted caloric intake without compromising nutrition. Feeding regular diets – even "light" ones – in restricted quantities results in a reduction of essential nutrients, potentially creating a nutritional deficiency over time.

To ensure a successful weight loss program the pet must be fed accurately. While using a measuring cup is a great place to start, research shows that they are surprisingly inaccurate. The best way to ensure precise feeding is to weigh the food using a gram scale, which are becoming commonplace in North American kitchens. One major issue frequently encountered in multi-cat households is feeding them separately; it's impossible to feed precise amounts if this cannot be done. Devices now exist in the market – some using a cat's identification microchip – to make this easily achievable.

Exercise also plays an important role in successful weight loss. To reduce the risk of injury, exercise programs should be introduced carefully under the supervision of a veterinarian. Activity trackers now exist for dogs, making it easier for owners to remain accountable for their pet's exercise. Increasing activity level in cats can be accomplished through various strategies including introducing interactive food-dispensing toys that require cats to "work" for their food.

While safe weight loss programs require significant commitment, the benefit to a pet's quality of life is well worth the effort! With the support of a veterinary team, the goal of transforming a pet from overweight to great comes within reach.

Tackling wildlife trade and empowering youth on World Wildlife Day
Amidst the sixth mass extinction, wildlife conservation has never been more paramount. The UN World Wildlife Day, which takes place globally on the third of March each year, provides an opportunity to emphasize the importance of protecting wild animals and plants.

This year, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) partnered to end rampant illegal wildlife trade and encourage active youth involvement in wildlife protection.

The 2017 theme "Listen to the Young Voices" highlights the critical role youth have to ensure long-term wildlife conservation. Last September, IFAW hosted the inaugural Youth Forum for People and Wildlife in South Africa. Thirty-four delegates, ages 18 to 25, shared individual animal rescue and species conservation ideas amongst themselves and member nations at CITES CoP17. Inspired by their experience, the group has since formed a global network, Youth for Wildlife Conservation (Y4WC), which officially launches today, on World Wildlife Day 2017.

"Today we are reminded to listen to young voices and harness their energy and creativity for lasting wildlife protection. I am proud of our next generation of conservation leaders especially those at Youth for Wildlife Conservation. They are bringing together their expertise in diverse fields such as research, genetics, law and animal rescue, united by their willingness to collaborate, learn from each other and take action in their local communities," said Azzedine Downes, IFAW President and CEO.

"Our generation has not yet succeeded in securing the future of many wild animals and plants. Meeting this challenge will now be shared with the next generation. World Wildlife Day 2017 gives us the opportunity to inspire young people around the world to actively engage in wildlife conservation efforts. I encourage youth around the world to take a personal interest in wildlife conservation and to help fight wildlife crimes," said John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General.

Today's World Wildlife Day event at the UN headquarters in New York, led by the President of the UN General Assembly, provides a platform for youth to voice their dedication to conservation and animal welfare with a specific focus on illicit wildlife trade.

"We are extremely diverse in just about every way. Yet, despite our differences, when we met in South Africa at the Youth Forum, we realized we all share a common goal and a passionate commitment to wildlife conservation. We demonstrate that today's youth, engaged in conservation efforts worldwide cannot, and will not, stay idle," said Josephine Crouch, Y4WC Steering Committee member.

Related facts:

The Earth is experiencing the worst species die-off since dinosaurs went extinct
Individuals under 30 comprise more than 50 percent of the world's population
Youth Forum delegates hailed from 25 countries and were chosen from a pool of more than 1,000
Interactive map detailing World Wildlife Day 2017 events around the world
The first UN World Wildlife Day was celebrated on March 3, 2014
Event hashtags include: #WWD2017, #ListenToYoungVoices, #DoOneThingToday, #Youth4Wildlife

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Follow us on social @action4ifaw and Facebook/IFAW.
Target Zero Receives $750,000 to Help More Communities Across the U.S. Increase Lifesaving, Thanks to Maddie
 Maddie's Fund® , a national family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals, has awarded Target Zero $750,000 over three years to expand operations to increase their lifesaving impact in more communities in the country. Target Zero, a national non-profit that works with animal shelters in focus communities that have been struggling with lifesaving achievements, has been working to decrease shelter intake and increase shelter save rates in hopes of having a zero percent euthanasia rate in three years or less from the start of working with each community.

Target Zero has revolutionized animal shelters to start focusing on key objectives to ultimately help them 'get to zero.' This means 90% or more of cats and dogs are getting out of the shelter safely. They educate specified focus cities on a six-step pyramid structure that is proven to reduce the number of animal shelter intakes. The grant will allow them to continue on with their consulting work in existing communities, as well as look to expand into more cities and counties to help increase lifesaving in the US.

"Target zero is a fantastic resource for communities who are wanting to achieve the lifesaving success other communities have already achieved, but may not know where or how to start," said Shelly Thompson, Director of Grants. "They work hand-in-hand with these communities to implement best practices, oftentimes helping to educate constituents and key stakeholders in their government."

"We're beyond thrilled to receive this grant and show of support, thanks to Maddie," said Tracey Durning, Target Zero's CEO. "It means everything to us for such a respected leader in the animal welfare space to take notice of the lifesaving results we're getting with our mentorship model. We hope others will take notice as well so we can keep expanding into more cities and counties nationwide, and ultimately save more lives."


Even a Small Voice Can Have a Huge Impact on the Future...
Thunder: An Elephant's Journey Erik Daniel Shein & L. M. Reker
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge has been an active supporter of elephant welfare for many years. He has been working hard to help exterminate the illegal ivory trade.
With the epidemic of elephants ever present in our world, a book might often get lost in the shuffle, but luckily, we are not alone in our efforts. We're thankful that we have other voices making head way, paving the way for their preservation. Celebrities like Ricky Gervais, Jon Stewart, and Edward Norton have been quite vocal about the ivory trade. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kristin Davis have both set up foundations to protect elephants from poaching as well as help put an end to the illegal ivory trade.

There is so much for our children to learn. Not all poaching leads to death, which is something we expound upon in the third book in the series. Tourist trades and circuses have kept elephants in unnatural captivity in situations that are highly stressful and unhealthy. Actress Jorja Fox has been working with Animal Defenders International for several years with their initiatives that save animals from abusive captivity. When celebrities have a platform that can be used, amazing things can happen. In fact, many elephants that have spent their entire lives as a source of entertainment are finding reprieve through sanctuaries all over the world. The elephants that were part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey have been retired to a sanctuary in Florida.

Actors are not the only voices being heard in our world. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge has been an active supporter of elephant welfare for many years. He has been working hard to help exterminate the illegal ivory trade. His efforts have had an amazing impact. His fears are like our own, that when our children have grown into adulthood African elephants will be non-existent.

Knowing how much the Duke of Cambridge has done for this great cause, Erik Shein recently submitted an advanced copy of Thunder: An Elephant's Journey to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Shein was thrilled to find that the book was well received. The Duke of Cambridge through his personal secretary sent him a note thanking him for his thoughtfulness.

Thunder: An Elephant's Journey is just the beginning. As an ambassador that can reach out to our youth, this tiny elephant will be heard around the world.

One tiny elephant is on the journey of a lifetime to become an ambassador for all elephants. Elephant welfare is at the heart of our trilogy. The trilogy follows the journey of Thunder throughout his lifetime. Providing education through an entertaining cast of characters helps us integrate a real-world problem into a child's everyday reading, which makes Thunder: An Elephant's Journey a great addition to school libraries world-wide. Teachers can use this story as a spring board for teaching ecological action and the cause and effects of poaching on a population of animals.

With it being available in all formats, physical and electronic, these stories are easily accessible to all children. Our goal is to make this trilogy available everywhere, because the cause is near and dear to our hearts. Children are the future. The footprints we make for them help them choose the path they will travel when they make their own choices. Our hope is that in educating them about the critical depletion of animal species that they will strive to protect them in ways we have only begun to realize.

Thunder: An Elephant's Journey, authored by Erik Daniel Shein & L.M. Reker, a mid-grade chapter book, is the first book in the trilogy. It tells the story of a young elephant who is ripped from the only world he knows when poachers invade their quiet sanctuary. His journey invokes a thoughtful cognizance of Thunder's world and the challenges he faces. The lessons woven into his story reinforce the importance of preserving and protecting the elephants impacted by the illegal ivory trade. This book is available March 7th.

Thunder II: An Elephant's Journey, Footprints in the Sand, authored by Erik Daniel Shein & Melissa Davis, continues Thunder's story as he and his friends learn to deal with deep personal loss. This story helps us understand the deep emotions of animals dealing with the chaos of the world around them.

Thunder III: An Elephant's Journey, Hope Haven is the final book in the series written by Erik Daniel Shein & Melissa Davis. Thunder and his friends return to find new adventures in a world that is actively trying to show that we can make a difference in the lives of the forest elephants of Gabon. It starts with taking a stand and providing more than just a safe place for them to thrive, but actually following through with the enforcement of these sanctions.
Cruelty Free International Calls on United Nations for a Global Ban on Animal Testing for Cosmetics
Activ4Pets Mobile Health App Partners with Shelters to Save and Improve Lives of Pets
Activ4pets, providers of online and mobile platforms that give pet parents easy access to their pet's health information along with web-based veterinary consultations, today announced its new shelter partnership program to provide their platform to pet adopters and shelters across the nation. Shelters that partner with Activ4pets can offer the service to adopters at a dramatically reduced rate, cutting down on paperwork and paving the way for new pet parents to engage with and easily manage the health of their new pets. "Partnering with humane societies and providing our mobile pet health app to new pet adopters has always been an important part of Activ4pets' mission," said Florent Monssoh CEO and founder of Activ4Pets. "We want to lend a hand to the community organizations working to save the lives of these animals and empower new pet parents to full and easily engage with the medical history of their new pets for better health and lifelong wellness."

The partnership program will save shelter staff time in looking up and organizing pet medical history, automatically transferring each pet's health information from the shelter management system to Activ4pets secure servers. Once the pet is adopted, the new pet parents get Activ4pets' web and mobile platform, giving them instant access to their pre-loaded information about their new family member including age, breed, adoption date, allergies, vaccinations, medications, and much more. The platform also offers low cost veterinary consultations that can be conducted over webchat in their own home.

The program has already made a tremendous difference with some of its first partner shelters, including the Humane Society of Broward County. "When I learned about Activ4Pets, I knew their technology would be a game changer," said Christopher Agostino, President and CEO for the Humane Society of Broward County. "Activ4Pets has helped our staff save countless hours of administration and enabled our shelter to generate significant revenue. Our adopters love the smartphone app and we are thrilled they have this modern, engaging tool to help care for their new pets."

To learn more, visit
Cruelty Free International has launched a major global campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics in style. A flash mob organised by the animal welfare organisation took place outside the United Nations headquarters in New York this week calling on the intergovernmental body to adopt an international convention to end animal testing for cosmetics around the world.

The non-profit is asking the General Secretary of the UN Antonio Guterres to help establish one set of rules worldwide in the interests of animals, consumers and industry. To launch the global campaign, unsuspecting bystanders outside the UN's New York building were treated to a performance featuring dancers, acrobats and jugglers in full bunny costume, while demonstrators held placards urging decision-makers to unite for cruelty free cosmetics.

Whilst the EU, Israel, India and New Zealand have set an example by banning cruel cosmetics tests, current rules are patchwork with different regulations in different places. Momentum is growing as countries increasingly support effective non-animal alternatives and move towards ending cosmetics animal testing, but the outdated practice still takes place in some countries. A global ban would end decades of animal suffering, create a level playing field for companies and prevent animal testing from moving between countries.

Michelle Thew, Cruelty Free International CEO said, "It's time for clear global leadership. We're asking the UN to take decisive action and adopt an international convention that puts in place one set of harmonised rules which end outdated, cruel animal testing for cosmetics forever."

For more information, please visit:  


New MPA in Hecate Strait will protect sensitive ecosystem
WWF-Canada applauds the federal government's decision to create a new marine protected area (MPA) in the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, southeast of Haida Gwaii, B.C. The area is recognized internationally for its fragile, prehistoric glass sponge reefs, which provide a unique habitat to many marine animals. While MPA regulations protect the sponge reefs, fisheries closures create an essential 200-metre buffer zone to protect the reef from damage due to contact or sediment.

The initial 2015 proposal for the MPA did not include the 200-metre bottom-contact prohibition. During the public comment period in 2015, WWF-Canada and other environmental organizations demanded stronger protections for the ancient reefs. As a result, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is supplementing Hecate Strait's Oceans Act protections with fisheries closures under the Fisheries Act. While the Oceans Act restrictions are considered permanent, Fisheries Act closures can be changed at any time.

Protections for Hecate Strait
The area, about 2,400 square kilometres or half the size of P.E.I., has been given the following significant protections:

60 per cent of the area closed to harmful bottom-contact fisheries, plus additional Fisheries Act closures to fully protect the ancient glass sponge reefs from destructive fishing gear such as bottom trawl nets.
A total ban on oil and gas exploration.
Why protections are important

The glass sponge reefs have been growing for 9,000 years and cover an area of about 1,000 sq. km.
The reefs were only discovered in 1987; before that, the sponges were thought to have gone extinct 40 million years ago.
In addition to their rarity, the sponges are an important habitat for endangered rockfish as well as species like halibut and prawns. They are especially important as a nursery for fish.
The sponges are extremely fragile and vulnerable to strikes from fishing equipment. They are also harmed by sediment when human activity disturbs the nearby seafloor.

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said,"After years of work, WWF-Canada is very pleased that this new designation will protect the fragile glass sponge reefs, which exist nowhere else on Earth. This is a sensitive, significant ecosystem, and it was the right decision to create a buffer zone for the reef through closures under the Fisheries Act. But Fisheries Act closures are not permanent, unlike marine protected area regulations, and WWF-Canada will stay vigilant to ensure this important protection measure remains in place."

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit


Orcas of the Salish Sea on track to extinction
 As Minister for Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc makes announcements on Canada's West Coast this week, and with World Whale Day approaching (February 18), WWF-Canada calls upon the federal government to release its recovery plan for the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs). The action plan for their recovery under the Species At Risk Act (SARA) is long overdue, and unless strong protection measures are quickly implemented, it is unlikely this group will survive in the long-term. Also known as the orcas of the Salish Sea, seven have died since January 2016, bringing the population down to 78.

David Miller, WWF-Canada president and CEO, said,"Southern Resident Killer Whales, along with the Northern Resident population, have been without a recovery plan for the 16 years since they were first found to be endangered. With seven deaths in a single year, these orcas are at a crossroads: Will measures be put in place to meaningfully reduce the threats they face, or will we let this iconic group of orcas disappear from our oceans forever?"

Threats to Southern Resident Killer Whales

Food scarcity. The whales rely almost completely on Chinook salmon, which is in decline.

Underwater noise, mostly from shipping. Acoustic disturbances mean orcas find it harder to communicate, forage for food and navigate.

Industrial development in the orca's critical habitat.

Contaminants from watershed pollution, which accumulates in orcas and can damage their health.

Status of Southern Resident Killer Whales

These whales have been declared endangered in both Canada and the United States, as their critical habitat straddles the border. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) designated Southern Residents to be endangered in 2001.

Fifteen years later, in the summer of 2016, the federal government released a proposed plan for their recovery. Although the consultation period ended in mid-August, the final recovery plan has not yet been released.

Because of its small population size and the species' low reproductive rate, even under the most favourable conditions, recovery will take more than 25 years for this population to recover, scientists warn.
The recent deaths

The seven deaths since January 2016 – an unusually high number – include five adults and two infants

One of the orcas was "Granny," thought to be 105 years old, and known to researchers as the leader of the family group they call J-pod.

A healthy adult male orca in his prime, called J34, is believed to have been killed by a ship strike in December.

Two infant orcas, one a few days old and the other just under one year, died of unknown causes.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada

WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit


Have you brushed your pet's teeth today?
Periodontal disease, an inflammatory condition of the tissues supporting the teeth, is the most commonly diagnosed illness in pets, with some studies reporting up to 85 per cent of dogs and 90 per cent of cats affected. While it's common, progressive, and painful, it's also preventable – and even reversible – in the early stages.

So, how can we best care for our pets' teeth? Plaque, not tartar, is the biggest contributor to periodontal disease. Because plaque is invisible, we need to act long before the teeth appear to be visibly dirty. There are several steps we can take to improve oral health in our pets:

Daily tooth brushing. This manually removes plaque, and is the best way to prevent dental disease. To be effective, tooth brushing must be done on a daily basis.

Regular oral exams. A veterinarian can identify periodontal disease in early stages, and can identify other factors that contribute to the accumulation of plaque and tartar (i.e. broken teeth, crowded teeth, retained baby teeth).

Regular professional cleaning under anesthesia. Just like humans, regular professional cleaning is important to remove plaque accumulated below the gum line, and it's the only way to remove tartar. Why is anesthesia needed? Can you imagine trying to get under your cat or dog's gum line while they are awake?!

High quality nutrition. Proper nutrition helps support healthy tissues throughout the body, including the oral cavity. Diets formulated specifically for oral health use textured kibble to encourage chewing and help scrub plaque from chewing teeth. In some diets, additional ingredients are included to reduce plaque and tartar formation, which benefits all the teeth in the mouth.

Healthy chewing habits. Dogs in particular love to chew, and chewing is beneficial to oral health. It's important to encourage healthy chewing by selecting toys and chews appropriate for the pet's size that won't damage the teeth. Avoid inflexible items, like deer antlers and bones, which can fracture teeth.

A successful oral health care plan is a collaboration between the pet, the pet owner and the veterinary healthcare team. By implementing these strategies early, we can improve our pet's oral health, which means a happy pet, free from oral pain.

Brush your pets' teeth today!


Rescued Siberian Huskies Find Their Purpose on a Sled Dog Team
They told him he was crazy. Base a dog sled team in Missouri? A team comprised of rescue dogs, at that?

But Richie Camden ignored the naysayers and the doubters, slowly learning the intricacies of sled dog racing as he built a team of Siberian huskies who also shared his home and his life. Five years later, Camden and his Breakaway Siberians team is training for three races in Michigan this winter, including the 90-mile Midnight Run on Feb. 17, the longest race the team has attempted. The team's 2017 racing season is supported by its official pet food sponsor, Diamond Naturals®, providing the high-quality nutrition they need to perform.

"We're not going to win any of the races," Camden says. "We tend to come in towards the back. These dogs are pets first and athletes second. They are doing what they love – what they are meant to do."

It's not about winning, although this team seems to be a fan favorite at sled dog racing events. After all, Siberians are heavier – and slower – than the Alaskan huskies that dominate the sport of sled dog racing. And Camden has only been mushing for five years.

But the way he sees it, the dogs win in more important ways. "We're doing this to give the dogs a home, and to allow them to experience what they were meant to do," he says. "Running and pulling alongside each other on a snowy course or even during our training runs at home in Missouri brings them alive. You can just see their joy and abandon."

Not bad for dogs that once felt abandoned in a different way. All but two of Camden's sled dogs came from rescue organizations after previous owners gave them up because of behavior issues. These high-energy dogs caused problems because they needed to run. And run.

Camden learned that the hard way. Shortly after he brought home his first Siberian in 2008, a male named Koivu, Camden found the dog wreaking havoc when left at home. At the time, Camden and Koivu were running 10 miles a day – and even that wasn't enough for the dog.

A Chance Meeting … and a Sled Dog Team Is Born
Camden never planned to have a sled dog team (especially in St. Louis!) until a runaway Siberian husky found Camden (on rollerblades) and Koivu while they were out for a run. Koivu and the runaway pulled Camden back to his car. Camden was hooked.

That's when he realized that he could help other Siberians in need by adopting and training them to run and pull – activities that are part of the dogs' very nature. And one by one, they started coming his way.

Today, Camden manages the doggie daycare program at an animal hospital near St. Louis, where owner Shannon Flegle, DVM, is the team's veterinarian. He brings a few of the adopted Siberians – named after hockey players because hockey's his favorite sport – to work with him every day. They play and socialize with the daycare dogs and then go for long runs on Missouri's Katy Trail, topping 40 miles a day during the mid- to late winter training season.

Home Life
After a day of playing or training runs, the dogs and Camden go home and begin a rigid feeding routine that is punctuated by excited howling and whining. These active dogs go through 40 pounds of food every week.

Camden's approach to nutrition is similar to many pet owners', although he has 14 canine mouths to feed. "We care a lot about the type of food we give our dogs but have learned that we don't need an expensive food."

After lots of research, Camden found his dogs' favorite food at a nearby farm and feed store. "We feed our dogs Diamond Naturals pet food, and have for years," Camden says. "I spent hours reading dog food labels and was impressed with the high-quality ingredients, the food's affordability, and I also felt a connection to the company's mission."

The dogs remain active and energetic at the end of the day, even after grueling training runs. After dinner, the dogs get back outside and then come in for their own version of "wrestlemania" before Camden and his wife Leah settle them down for bed.

The Siberians share their space with Bebe, a Pomeranian, and sometimes a foster dog.

"Every dog is special and deserves the chance to fulfill its purpose. It's hard to turn down a foster dog," Camden says.

The Camdens are responsible for the sled dogs' expenses and the cost associated with races. In 2017 they have teamed with Diamond Naturals, which shares their belief that every pet deserves the best.

"We're proud to sponsor a team with rescue dogs as their heart and soul," said John Kampeter, director of marketing for Diamond Pet Foods. "We applaud their spirit and the Camdens' compassion, values much like our own."
New incentive for cargo and cruise vessels intended to quiet waters around the Port of Vancouver for at-risk whales
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has launched an industry-leading incentive program for marine vessels operating in the Port of Vancouver, aimed at addressing concerns about underwater vessel noise affecting at-risk marine life.

On January 1, 2017, the port authority added new incentive criteria to its existing EcoAction* program to include harbour due rate discounts for quieter ships. This makes Canada the first country in the world with a marine noise reduction incentive.

Since 2007, the port authority's EcoAction program has recognized a variety of fuel, technology and environmental management options that make ship operators eligible to receive discounted harbour due rates. The new criteria includes three quiet-vessel ship classifications and three propeller technologies shown to reduce underwater noise. The program applies only to cargo and cruise vessels calling on the Port of Vancouver, which includes Burrard Inlet, the Fraser River and Roberts Bank terminals.

The new noise reduction incentive is one outcome of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-led ECHO program, which launched in 2014 with the goal to better understand and reduce the cumulative impacts of commercial vessel activities on at-risk whales throughout the southern coast of British Columbia. The program is a collaborative research initiative involving marine transportation industries, conservation and environmental groups, First Nations individuals, government and scientists.

"Adding underwater noise reduction criteria to our EcoAction program is an exciting next step towards our long-term goal of reducing the impacts of shipping activities on at-risk whales," said Duncan Wilson, vice president of corporate social responsibility at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Today, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority hosted the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, at its office in Vancouver for a demonstration of some of the technologies used by the port authority-led ECHO (Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation) program. Minister Garneau commended the port authority for its efforts to address concerns about underwater vessel noise affecting at-risk marine life and the new incentive criteria incorporated into its EcoAction program.

"Today, the federal government recognized the programs and projects we have in place, which we believe align well with the government's recently announced Oceans Protection Plan as it relates to sustainability and preserving and restoring Canada's marine ecosystems. We are very proud of the progress we are collectively making to better understand and address the impacts of vessel activities on marine life," Wilson added.

The ECHO program commissioned a literature review and sought input from technical experts including naval architects, acoustic specialists and marine mammal researchers to create the new criteria. The study team identified and evaluated various vessel-quieting designs, technology and maintenance options. Several factors were considered in the criteria identification and evaluation process including noise reduction effectiveness and ability to verify technologies and classifications. Following completion of this study, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority developed its new criteria, which was incorporated into the EcoAction program as of January 1, 2017.

*Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's use of the name EcoAction refers to a program specifically intended to promote improved environmental performance within the shipping industry and is not related to the EcoAction Community Funding Program administered by Environment Canada
PEDIGREE® Brand Partners With NFL Legend Jerry Rice To Gear Up For New Puppy Experience 
 For the 12th year in a row, the PEDIGREE® Brand is sponsoring Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl XIII – the cutest canine competition of the year, which returns with an epic matchup between Team Ruff and Team Fluff's adoptable players who go nose to nose to win hearts and forever homes. This year, PEDIGREE® will sponsor a "Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality" experience – giving viewers a "pup's-eye-view" of the action on the field – as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the "pupletes" in training with never-before-seen videos. Fans will also get to see how the furry friends of some of football's greatest stars prep for the big game with adorable personal photos.

The pupletes will hit the air on both coasts when Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl premieres on Sunday, February 5 from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. PT.

As part of the campaign, the PEDIGREE® brand has co-created two new videos – Heart of a Champion and Road to Gridiron Glory – with Animal Planet that show the adorable pupletes on their journey to becoming Puppy Bowl champs, from training, to recovery and a healthy diet. The videos will be aired on Animal Planet and also shown on the PEDIGREE® and Animal Planet social channels.

NFL stars are getting in on the action, too. The PEDIGREE® Brand is partnering with Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice and NFL quarterback Aaron Murray to show how their pups get in shape for the Puppy Bowl, just like the PEDIGREE® pupletes.

To round out the puppy experience, consumers can view the game from a pups-eye-view with the "Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality" experience, sponsored by PEDIGREE®. Viewers can check out the adorable, action-packed perspective of the game through the eyes of Buttons, one of this year's star puppy players.

"The PEDIGREE® brand is dedicated to helping dogs find their forever homes through adoption, and Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl is a fun and playful platform to help raise awareness and support this shared cause," said Melodie Bolin, PEDIGREE® Brand Manager. "This year, PEDIGREE® is giving viewers the total puppy experience with behind-the-scenes training videos and a virtual view of the field through Buttons' eyes. We hope these adorable perspectives of the game will help pique viewers' interests in bringing that puppy experience into their homes by adopting a pup of their own."

Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl serves as a platform for pet adoption and includes a full roster of 78 adoptable puppies from 34 animal shelters and rescue organizations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, allowing the pupletes to find their forever home.

To help your puppy reach his full potential and to learn more about PEDIGREE PUPPY™ products, like PEDIGREE PUPPY™ Growth and Protection, which is packed with key nutrients similar to mother's milk, visit Find us on Facebook/Pedigree, Twitter (@Pedigree) and YouTube/pedigreebrand.
Pets are a Child's Best Friend
Children get more satisfaction from relationships with their pets than with their brothers or sisters, according to a newly published University of Cambridge study. Children also appear to get on even better with their animal companions than with siblings. The research adds to increasing evidence that household pets may have a major influence on child development, and could have a positive impact on children's social skills and emotional well-being.

Pets are almost as common as siblings in western households, although there are relatively few studies on the importance of child-pet relationships. "Anyone who has loved a childhood pet knows that we turn to them for companionship and disclosure, just like relationships between people," says Matt Cassells, lead researcher. "We wanted to know how strong these relationships are with pets relative to other close family ties. Ultimately this may enable us to understand how animals contribute to healthy child development"

This study, published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, was conducted in collaboration with the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, part of Mars Petcare and the Economic and Social Research Council as part of a larger study, led by Prof Claire Hughes at the University of Cambridge Centre for Family Research. Researchers surveyed 12 year old children from 77 families with one or more pets of any type and more than one child at home. Children reported strong relationships with their pets relative to their siblings, with lower levels of conflict and greater satisfaction in owners of dogs than other kinds of pets.

"Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings," says Cassels. "The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely non-judgmental. While previous research has often found that boys report stronger relationships with their pets than girls do, we actually found the opposite. While boys and girls were equally satisfied with their pets, girls reported more disclosure, companionship, and conflict with their pet than did boys, perhaps indicating that girls may interact with their pets in more nuanced ways."

"Evidence continues to grow showing that pets have positive benefits on human health and community cohesion," says WALTHAM researcher Nancy Gee, a co-author of the study. "The social support that adolescents receive from pets may well support psychological well-being later in life but there is still more to learn about the long term impact of pets on children's development."
Toronto is the #1 City for Rats!
When it comes to rats in Ontario, no city comes close to Toronto. It has a human population triple the size of Ottawa but a rodent problem more than four times larger than the nation's capital. The findings by Orkin Canada are based on the number of commercial and residential rodent (rats and mice) treatments carried out by the country's largest pest control provider. The top five rattiest Ontario cities are:


The pest control company is reminding homeowners that rodents are very active at this time of year, as they seek food, water and shelter. Rodents are capable of transmitting a number of serious diseases, and cause millions of dollars of damage to properties every year. Homes with small holes or cracks in perimeter walls are most at risk.

The following tips are what homeowners can do to help prevent rodents from entering:

Close the Gap: Seal any cracks or holes in the foundation with weather-resistant sealant. Install weather stripping around windows and doors, as well as door sweeps.

Trim the Trees: Keep shrubbery cut back at least one metre from the exterior walls of the home to eliminate any hiding spots for rodents.

Cut Off the Water: Eliminate any moisture sources - a necessity for pest survival - such as clogged gutters or water gathering in trash or recycling bins.
For more information about rodent prevention, visit

The rattiest cities ranking is based on all rodent treatments by Orkin Canada at residential and commercial properties within Ontario from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. Download here for the full list of Ontario's rattiest cities.
Small Companion Animal First Aid Kits Introduced
From the company that brought a full line of equine first aid kits to the horse industry fourteen years ago, comes a new line of companion animal pet first aid kits.

EquiMedic USA, Inc., the world leader in equine first aid, has developed two sizes of small pet first aid kits under the name, PetMedic USA, Inc.

Featuring a small and a large companion pet first aid kit, this health and safety savvy company and rodeo family, is not a newcomer to working with small animals either. Corporate owners, mother and daughter Sharon and Kelsey Baker, of South Dakota, bring a life time of working in the canine industry. Sharon was raised on her family’s farm and dog boarding facilities, K-9 Kennels. Since then she has bred and raised Brittany Spaniels, Irish Setters, English Pointers, and Black Labradors.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Kelsey Baker has owned and operated Diamond K Corgis for the past seven years. Specializing in the tri-colored Welsh Pemberton Corgis, Baker has further specialized in the black headed tri-colored Corgis, a recessive gene, less dominant and harder to breed and find in the marketplace. Miss Baker has shipped offspring of her parent stock all over the country, many as ranch / cattle dogs and the rest as family pets. Several have achieved agility training awards and all are American Kennel Club (AKC) registered, her males being DNA certified to the breed.

PetMedic has evolved over the past two years as the Baker family has researched and sourced additional supplies for this smaller version of animal first aid kits. PetMedic USA is presently introducing a small and large version of its companion animal first aid kits in kicking off its new corporate division, PetMedic USA, Inc. Soon to follow will be an extended line of optional companion animal first aid products to augment their kits.

The two new kits come cased in molded plastic boxes with carrying handles, which are capable of being secured to a surface for wall mounting application. These kits include such necessary items as dressings of various sizes and types, bandaging supplies, cleansing, antimicrobial and germicidal wipes, medication application supplies, medical towels, medical tape, iodine swabsticks and scrubs, alcohol wipes, hydrogen peroxide, eye wash, exam gloves, tourniquet, bandage scissors, thumb forceps, digital thermometer, syringes and hypodermic needles, antibiotic ointment, hot and cold instant packs, blood abatement powder, and a comprehensive but easy to follow compact pet first aid guide.

Companion animals are as susceptive to injury and illness as any member of the family can be. Similarly to the responsibility of parenthood, pet ownership comes with it the obligation to be the first responder and caretaker of all of the family pets, be they canine, feline, birds, turtles, reptiles, hamsters, gerbil or any other fur, feather or scale bearing critter, in case of emergency or sickness.

EquiMedic USA launched in 2003 with four equine first aid kits, creating and dominating the marketplace for emergency equine care since then. With twelve kits now available to horse owners and caretakers, EquiMedic USA also offers a line of disposable mini wound care kits that have been widely used for small companion animals for years now as well. EquiMedic designs and manufactures kits for wholesale and retail sale, and shisp kits all over the world.

Equine First Aid Responders, rescue groups, mounted sheriff’s patrols, state and federal park police and rangers, the US Marines, Army, Calvary, Border Patrol, Native American Indian Reservations, Mounted Police, Beach and Event Patrols, University Agricultural Colleges and a number of youth, saddle clubs and equine organizations now use various of the renowned EquiMedic USA equine first aid kits.

The two new PetMedic USA small companion animal pet kits are currently available on the EquiMedic USA and PetMedic USA websites, at: and They will soon be available at many major equine and pet related outlets around the country. Be a responsible pet owner and invest in an emergency pet first aid kit so that you can be an effective first responder to your companion animal’s emergency care needs.
GoPetie, The App that Helps Pet Owners Take Care of their Pets
There's no love like the one between people and their pets. Pet owners feel a connection to their pets that is not as easily felt with people. However, taking care of pets is a big responsibility and many pet owners face challenges to care for their pets. This is exactly where GoPetie comes in.

GoPetie is the most complete mobile community for pets and pet owners and it promises to help pet parents to take care of their best friends. GoPetie created a unique system where users can exchange pet sitting and pet walking for FREE, building a community and allowing users to connect and help each other. Users can offer their services and others nearby can request them whenever they want. Users offering services can activate and deactivate the function at any time.

"It is really helpful to have an app that actually helps you to take care of your pet saving time and money," says Rachel Kish, one of the first users of the app in the Boston area. "In the past I would pay $55 a day for day care for my dog and now I can find other pet owners who can watch my dog for FREE, and I can return the favor to the same person or to other users. You enter the date, the time and the message and the user receiving the request decides whether or not to accept it. It's so easy."

GoPetie community members can also find dates and friends for their pets and even schedule play dates. "Pets need to socialize with other pets," says Diego Alves, the founder of GoPetie and also a pet owner. "Pets are just like kids, they need to run, play, talk and learn with other pets to be happy."

If a pet goes missing, GoPetie has a feature that helps desperate pet parents find their lost pet. Members are able to send an alert on the app and all nearby users will receive a message until the pet is found. The alert also goes on Facebook and Twitter if the user connects their accounts. "It all comes down to the safety and well-being of my pet," Miguel Mendes, another user of GoPetie explains. "Any day I could leave my door open by accident and my golden retriever, Boris, could dash out. I can't imagine what I would do if this happened to my dog. At least I feel secure that I can click the Report Pet Missing feature and all my nearby friends could come to the rescue."

All of the services and features on GoPetie are FREE, saving time and money while also allowing pet lovers to connect and build meaningful relationships. In case someone does not yet have a pet, GoPetie is a network for adoptions for all pet types and breeds.

GoPetie will be available in the first week of February 2017. Connect with GoPetie on social media to learn more about this exciting launching!

GoPetie is mobile application owned and controlled by Pet & Tie Inc, a Delaware company, with its office in Boston, MA. Pet & Tie is a start up company founded in November 2015. GoPetie app will be launched in the USA and Brazil simultaneously in February 2017. For more information, please connect with us on our social media websites below, email us at or visit
Love Your Pet FUREVER!
Pet Lovers can cherish their pets FUREVER through the exciting new 3D digital printing technology developed by, transforming photos of pets into a lifelike full-color figurine or a hanging ornament, a perfect gift for the animal-lover who has everything or a lovely way to memorialize pets who have crossed over the rainbow bridge. The ordering process is so simple, it can even completed with a cell phone.

The Furever 3D process uses the very latest 3D technology, combining durable materials and archival inks to create a porcelain-bisque-like custom keepsake, individually modeled by our highly skilled team of technicians. After submission of photos as suggested on the Furever 3D website, the image is digitized by the tech team and emailed to the customer for approval and changes made if necessary. The image is then "printed" into the desired size – 3, 5, or 7 inch, an exact replica in permanent 3D color. The entire process takes about two to three weeks.

Not painted or cast from a mold, your favorite critter is created individually as if cell by cell through this incredible 3D print technology using specially developed raw materials to last Furever in its prime.

No animal too big or too small: dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, horses, ferrets, insects, even fish – any animal you can photograph can be reproduced Furever!

What do they do? How do they do it? Step one is to go to the website and watch the brief video ( about what photos are needed and how to take them. Step two: upload the photos to the website and place your order.

The following is an example of a real dog named Hektor.

Hektor is a bomb-sniffing dog with the Rochester Police department. He works at the Rochester International Airport. Pictures were taken with a cell phone and uploaded to the website. The modeler emailed a digitized 3D model for approval. Hektor was then "printed" on the 3D printer.

And, they are made in the USA! This is the the only company in the USA that does this. From paw pads, scales, hooves, or claws to wings, gills, or mane, each Furever 3D creation is as unique as your beloved finned feathered furry friend. spaces.
Pet Obesity on the Rise for Sixth Straight Year 
One of America's most common New Year's resolutions is to lose weight, and statistics show that pet owners should share that goal with their dogs and cats. Data from Nationwide, the nation's first and largest provider of pet health insurance, reveals that pet obesity is on the rise for the sixth straight year. In 2015, Nationwide members filed 1.3 million pet insurance claims for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity - equaling a sum of more than $60 million in veterinary expenses. The boost in total obesity-related claims signifies a 23 percent growth over the last three years.

Similar to their human counterparts, excessive body fat increases the risk of preventable health issues and may shorten the life expectancy of dogs and cats. Nationwide recently sorted through its database of more than 585,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat obesity-related conditions. Below are the results:

"Obesity can be detrimental to the livelihood of our pets," said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. "Pet owners need to be aware of the quality and amount of food or treats they give their furry family members. The New Year presents a perfect opportunity to create regular exercise routines for our pets and begin to effectively manage their eating habits to avoid excess weight gain. Scheduling routine wellness exams with your veterinarian is the most effective way to get started on monitoring your pet's weight, particularly for cats."

In 2015, Nationwide received more than 49,000 pet insurance claims for arthritis in canines, the most common disease aggravated by excessive weight, which carried an average treatment fee of $295 per pet. With more than 5,000 pet insurance claims, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common obesity-related condition in cats, which had an average claim amount of $442 per pet. 
Below are simple steps you can take to help regulate your pet's weight:

Avoid feeding your pet table scraps.
Keep a consistent diet by monitoring the amount of food you give your pet.
Regulate the amount of treats you give your pet.
Establish a healthy and fun exercise schedule.
*Consult your veterinarian to best determine your pet's weight loss protocol.
Surfin' Dogs Rose Parade Float Wins Extraordinaire Trophy and BrokeTwo Guinness World Records
  - American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM), the world's leading wave pool, surf venue, and wave technology company for the emerging out of ocean surfing market, created the wave machine for surfing dogs that won the Extraordinaire Trophy and broke two Guinness World records for the longest and heaviest float for the 128th Annual Tournament of Roses that took place today.

The Extraordinaire Trophy is awarded to the most spectacular float including floats that do not retract to 55' in length. The float, sponsored by the Lucy Pet Foundation, weighed in at 148,250 lbs. and measured 126 ft. The AWM wave machine was designed specifically for the float using its proprietary PerfectSwell® technology.

Themed Lucy Pet's Gnarly Crankin' K-9 Wave Maker, the float carried 5,000 gallons of water and featured eight surfin' dogs selected in a nationwide competition.

"We exceeded our expectations by breaking the two Guinness World records and winning the Extraordinaire Trophy. We couldn't be happier or prouder," said AWM Founder and President, Bruce McFarland. "Our contributions to this float are part of our ongoing corporate charity efforts."

Since 2000, American Wave Machines has been designing, engineering, manufacturing and developing world class surf pools, wave systems and surf parks. The company looks to nature to design patented and proprietary technology that delivers authentic surfing experiences using real surfboards.

American Wave Machines has two ground-breaking technologies replicating ocean-like waves that create ideal conditions for surfing in a safe and controlled environment, any time of the year, anywhere in the world. PerfectSwell® is the first surf pool system capable of creating an authentic surfing experience that delivers 100% real ocean dynamics found in nature. SurfStream® is the world's first standing wave machine that delivers a deep water stationary surfing experience (on real surfboards) scalable to various spaces.
When Winter Storms Hit, TurfMutt Urges Everyone To 'Bone Up' On Wise Weather Practices
As snow and ice storms hit this winter, environmental superhero and real-life rescue dog, TurfMutt, urges everyone to "bone up" on wise wintertime practices to keep everyone safe during snow and ice removal and times of falling temperatures.

First, when Old Man Winter comes calling, TurfMutt reminds everyone that pets feel the cold as easily as humans despite their fur coats. Reduce outdoor activities when temperatures dip low and keep them inside during severe weather.

Remember in most jurisdictions, homeowners are required to clear sidewalks and walkways in the event of a snowstorm. When using a snowthrower to clear driveways and sidewalks, keep kids and pets away from the equipment. But TurfMutt and his pet friends thank you for remembering to make a path to your pet's bathroom area.

"Snowthrowers make quick work of an arduous task so everyone can go about 'their business'," says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and TurfMutt's guardian and rescuer. "But remember never to put your hand in the chute or auger to clear a blockage. Always use a clean-out tool."

Once sidewalks, driveways and other outdoor areas are cleared and useful again, remember that pets require special care in freezing temperatures.

TurfMutt's Pet-Friendly, Wise Winter Tips:

Forgo pet haircuts and let winter coats protect them against the elements.
Check ears, paws and tails for signs of frostbite or getting raw from ice and snow.
Wipe down your pet's belly, legs and paws to remove ice-melting chemicals, which can irritate and cause serious illness if licked or swallowed.
Change your antifreeze. Due to the sweet smell and taste, pets will link or drink antifreeze if found puddled on sidewalks or garage floors. But anti-freeze is toxic to cats and dogs. Clean up spills and consider using a brand made from propylene glycol instead.
Keep the water flowing. Dry winter weather can be dehydrating, not to mention freezing. Break up ice in your pet's water bowl and be sure they have regular access to clean, fresh water.
"After I rescued Lucky, a.k.a TurfMutt, from an Indiana highway years ago, he donned his superhero cape and has worked hard to 'paw it forward' by issuing seasonal tips regularly," Kiser says. "Every pet can be a TurfMutt hero, but only if we keep them safe and happy during all kinds of weather."

The TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship program was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation and has reached more than 62 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to "save the planet, one yard at a time."

In 2017, TurfMutt will once again appear on the Lucky Dog show, and TurfMutt's personal, home habitat will be featured in the 2017 Wildlife Habitat Council calendar. The TurfMutt program will debut the first-ever National TurfMutt Teacher Award this spring and send one lucky teacher to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) annual conference. An elementary school will win a $10,000 grant in the annual "Be a Backyard Superhero" contest, and thousands of children in grades K-5 will learn science and how to take care of the environment.

TurfMutt is an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
2016: Another fatal year for elephants 
 Elephants continued to be slaughtered for their ivory this year. More than 18 tons of illegal ivory, plus 949 elephant tusks and more than 3,000 pieces were reportedly seized in 2016, with at least 15 large seizures in excess of 500 kilograms. Most large shipments were intercepted in Vietnam, although huge amounts were also found in Malaysia, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Spain, Austria and Germany.

"It is a sad fact that practically no day goes by without dozens of elephants being killed by poachers and every single week this year enforcers discovered illegal ivory somewhere in the world," said Rikkert Reijnen, Director of the Wildlife Trade Program for International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). "And this is just the tip of the iceberg as only a small fraction of the illegal ivory on the market is being intercepted."

A new study was published in August: the Great Elephant Census. It was the first-ever continent-wide survey of African savannah elephants that was conducted over two years. The results shocked conservationists worldwide, as it shows that elephants populations declined by 30 percent between 2007 and 2014 – this equals 144,000 elephants! The current rate of decline is 8 percent per year, primarily due to poaching. If the current trend continues, we could see the population down to 160,000 by 2025.

"Elephants have reached the tipping point and the next five years are critical if we want to turn this around," said Reijnen. "A lot has been done in 2016 to stop the crisis, but it is not enough, if we want future generations to see elephants roam the savannah rather than just read about them in books about species long gone."

This year has seen some important changes in wildlife-trade legislation. France, China and the USA announced stricter ivory trade regulations and the EU introduced an action plan against wildlife trafficking. During the CITES-conference (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) several decisions were taken to improve the protection of elephants from international trade.

IFAW is advocating for a complete ban on international ivory trade, the closure of domestic ivory markets and the destruction of ivory stockpiles.

IFAW is working with international organizations such as INTERPOL and law enforcement bodies to combat wildlife and environmental crime. In collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), IFAW started a pilot project in Kenya called tenBoma that uses the newest data technology to enable rangers and enforcers to stop poachers before they kill. In consumer countries like China, IFAW is raising awareness to stop people from buying wildlife products and conducting trainings to equip enforcers with the necessary expertise to detect illegal wildlife products.

About IFAW
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
New Polar Code a good first step, but lacks meaningful protections for the Arctic
The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, is a good first step, but still includes significant regulatory gaps of concern to WWF-Canada.

About the code
Better known as the Polar Code, the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters was agreed upon in 2014 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an agency of the United Nations. It will provide a set of guidelines for ships operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters. The code is meant to protect ships and passengers as they navigate the harsh waters of the poles and protect the "unique environment and ecosystems of the polar regions," according to the IMO.

Why the code matters
Climate change is affecting the Arctic twice as fast as anywhere else on Earth, and as a result of melting sea ice, ship traffic is only expected to increase in these ecologically rich and sensitive waters.

What the code lacks
These key protections are absent from the portions of the Polar Code that apply to Arctic waters:

A phase-out of heavy fuel oil

Already banned in the Antarctic, heavy fuel oil (HFO) is the most polluting of all marine fuel options, and will cause the most damage in the event of a spill.

HFO contributes to climate change, as soot and black particles from exhaust settle on ice and snow, and soak up and magnify heat, accelerating the melting of sea ice.

Harsh weather, limited resources and the remote nature of Arctic communities make oil-spill response and cleanup incredibly challenging. The risk of lasting damage to the fragile Arctic ecosystem is extremely high in the event of an HFO spill.

Strict regulations on grey water discharge
Grey water is the discharge from the sinks, showers and galleys on ships, but does not include drainage from toilets.

In southern Canadian waters, grey water is clearly defined and has specific discharge regulations. The same doesn't apply to the North, which means grey water can be freely discharged into the Arctic marine environment.

WWF-Canada has urged Transport Canada to align grey water discharge regulations north of the 60th parallel with those in Alaska, which include strict requirements designed to monitor and protect the Arctic ecosystem.

Increased consultation with Arctic communities

The IMO has been working since 2009 to draft the Polar Code, and did not undertake a single consultation with coastal Arctic communities, which will be most affected in the event of a spill.

Traditional knowledge of key marine-mammal habitats in the Arctic was given very limited consideration in the drafting of the Polar Code.

October 2016 marked the first time members of Arctic indigenous communities were invited to speak at the IMO headquarters in London, England.

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, says,"The Polar Code is an opportunity to protect the Arctic ecosystem from the consequences of oil spills and increased shipping. It is disappointing that these protections were not achieved. We urge Transport Canada to lead by example, and fill in the regulatory gaps around heavy fuel oil use, grey water discharge and increased consultations with the coastal communities that will bear the brunt of the impact if the worst happens."

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit
Home for the Holidays: Dogs saved from slaughter at China's Yulin dog meat festival arrive in Toronto
110 dogs have arrived safely in Toronto after being rescued from slaughter by Humane Society International and our partners at the Yulin dog meat festival in China earlier this year.

The 110 dogs were rescued from slaughterhouses in Yulin just days ahead of the annual dog meat festival that took place on June 21st. The animals received veterinary care and rehabilitation at an HSI-funded emergency shelter in China before arriving in Canada. Adoption of rescue dogs in China does take place, but it is not yet widespread, necessitating the transfer of the dogs out of China. HSI is actively working with our partner groups on the ground to promote a culture of adoption in the country.

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada, who greeted the animals upon their arrival in Toronto, said: "These dogs have endured a level of cruelty that most people can't even bear to think about. When we found them, the dogs were crammed into cages so tightly they could not move and they watched as other dogs were beaten and killed in front of them. They were dehydrated, emaciated, injured and miserable when rescuers arrived. But thanks to our amazing supporters, these dogs are recovering and will have a wonderful new life in Canada. Moreover, they will be ambassadors for our unrelenting campaign to stop the global dog meat trade."

The 110 dogs will be placed with three compassionate Canadian organizations: Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary (based in King City, Ontario), the Montreal SPCA, and BARK (an Ottawa based rescue group). Over the coming weeks the dogs will receive care from veterinarians, behavioural therapists, staff and volunteers before they are placed in forever homes.

Danielle Eden, co-founder - Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary, added: "It breaks our hearts to think of what these dogs endured prior to their rescue. Our mission here at Dog Tales is to seek out the dogs who we feel need our help the most, and it is incredibly meaningful to our entire team to be able to play a part in providing these dogs with a second chance at life. Our hope is that all of the dogs will find loving, permanent homes quickly. However, as a no-kill shelter, Dog Tales will be home to these dogs for as long as they need. While in our care they will receive training and rehabilitation, world-class veterinary attention, regular grooming, daily off-leash play, and will be able to enjoy long walks on our beautiful 100 acre property. We are helping these dogs in honour of the millions who were not so lucky, with hope that we will soon see an end to the Yulin festival and the dog meat trade. We are proud to support HSI in this important initiative."

Dana Margolis of The Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, which provided crucial funds for the transportation of the dogs to Canada, stated: "We are so pleased to have helped make this rescue possible. Animals teach us to be compassionate and kind. These are traits that bring out the best in humanity. When faced with saving the life of an animal, there should be no hesitation."

The Yulin dog meat festival, initiated in 2010 to boost dog meat sales, results in thousands of dogs and cats slaughtered and eaten. International and national protest against the festival has reduced the scale of the event by 80 percent in recent years.
Polling (Horizon, 2016) reveals that, of those holding an opinion, 78 percent of people in China believe the Yulin festival should be ended and 73 percent support a national ban on the dog meat trade.

This rescue would not have been possible without the generous support of The Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, whose commitment to animal protection has changed the lives of countless animals worldwide. HSI would also like to thank Sharp Transportation for donating warehouse space for the temporary shelter and invaluable assistance with ground transport, Air Canada for logistical support for the air transport from China and Kane Veterinary Supplies for their generous donation of dog food.

Naskapi Nation calls for closure of sport hunting for the protection of Leaf River Caribou herd
​The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, in support of the Cree and Inuit parties to the Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee (HFTCC) calls for a complete termination of caribou sport hunting to protect the Leaf River Caribou herd. On December 7, 2016, the HFTCC, on which sit the Cree, Inuit, Naskapi and Quebec representatives adopted a resolution recommending to Mr. Luc Blanchette, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, the closure of sport hunting for the Leaf River Caribou herd with serious concerns for its rapidly decreasing populations. The complete closure of the sport hunt as of 2017 is necessary to protect the priority of harvest in favor of the Natives parties and the guaranteed level of harvest.

"In order to preserve our traditional ways and ensure our responsibility to our territory, it is necessary to reduce the pressure on the herd as much as possible, and for this, all efforts are required to minimize the harvest on the herd in order to increase its capacity to recover," says Noah Swappie, Chief of the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach. "As provided for in section 24.6 of the JBNQA the priority of harvest must apply, consequently the sports hunt must be eliminated," he added.

The recent population census conducted this past summer (august 2016) revealed that the population of the Leaf River Herd was estimated at 199 000 (± 8.1%) caribou. With the additional information received from the fall classification, the Ministère des Forêts et des Parcs (MFFP) suggest that the Leaf River herd was estimated at 181 000 caribous in November of this year. This is a drastic drop since the last population census which was conducted in 2011 estimated the herd at 430 000 caribou.

Between 2003 and 2009, the sport hunt was taking more than 15 000 caribous every year with a peak of 17 634 in 2006. Since that time, the Naskapi Nation has shown great difficulty to hunt for subsistence. The Naskapi Nation has a guaranteed level of harvest of 1030 caribous and for more than 15 years the Naskapi have not reached that level.

"The Minister and the HFTCC has the obligation to implement the principal of priority and respect the negotiated Guaranteed Level of Harvest. And failure to respect this is a clear breach to the James Bay Northern Quebec as much as the Northeastern Quebec Agreement," says Chief Swappie.

The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and the Northeastern Quebec agreement state that the responsible governments shall apply the principle of priority of Native harvesting. At this time, the Leaf River herd is already being over harvest and continuation of the sport hunt will only accelerate the diminution of that caribou population, on which more than 25 000 Aboriginal and Inuit people depend on for food security. The Naskapi Nation reminds the Quebec Government of its responsibility to have good practice in managing the Leaf River Caribou herd in order to ensure recovery and sustainability.

Keep Pets Safe, Healthy During the Holidays
(Family Features) The holiday season is synonymous with family gatherings, dinner parties, gift openings and plenty of festive food, all of which can pose challenges for pets.

Lisa Darling, DVM, PetSmart's resident veterinarian and pet care expert, offers this advice for keeping pets safe, healthy and happy this holiday season and throughout the cold winter months.
Create a Safe Home

This time of year, holiday decor can include seasonal plants, ornaments and candles, which means plenty of intriguing and dangerous new sights and smells for pets. For example, extra electrical cords can be tempting new "chew toys" for pets. Darling recommends taking special care to ensure extra electrical cords for festive indoor lighting are not accessible to pets by taping down or covering to help prevent injuries.

Christmas trees can also pique the interest of curious cats and playful pups. Darling urges pet parents to firmly anchor trees so they can take any potential playful swatting and to keep breakable glass ornaments higher up on the tree, out of pets' reach, along with temptations like tinsel and ribbons.

Candles can also be problematic, so it's best to avoid burning them or put them far out of pets' reach. Seasonal plants like holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats, so if you plan to decorate your home with them, place them in an area your pet cannot reach.

Savor the Season

The holidays are filled with festive food, treats and candy, and although it can be tempting to share human foods with your beloved pets, resist the urge.
"Table scraps such as turkey, gravy and stuffing may look harmless, but even small amounts can lead to serious health issues," Darling said.

Instead, include pets in your festive feasting by offering them pet-friendly treats that look and taste like the real thing. An option like Simply Nourish Merry Meals, in flavors like Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry, are healthy alternatives to the human food on the holiday table. Additionally, PetSmart's meat and cheese tray, pie slice and turkey leg made of rawhide are fun takes on holiday feasting specifically formulated for pets.
Keep Them Calm

The holidays can be a hectic time for people and pets. Extra visitors to the house, travel and commotion can leave pets feeling anxious.

"Before company arrives, try putting your dog or cat in a Thundershirt, which is designed to provide a calming effect when they experience fear or discomfort," Darling said. "Many pet parents also find that supplements can work by promoting calmness and behavior which may help stabilize pets' moods."

Keep Them Cozy and Warm

During especially cold winter days and nights, look to your pet to gauge comfort levels and plan time to dress them accordingly. Generally, if your pet is small and short-haired, it's likely he or she is sensitive to the cold. The same goes for older pets and those that may be frail or ill.

Darling says that sweaters, coats and booties to protect their paws are all smart (and comfortable) solutions. Booties are particularly important for icy areas that may be salted and can help guard paws from the harmful solution.

A safe home is a happy and festive home this holiday season. Keeping these tips in mind can help avoid emergency trips to the vet, which means the whole family can celebrate a joyful holiday season. Find more pet-friendly tips for the holidays at
Amazing trips that help wildlife
 One of the world's leading responsible travel companies, World Expeditions, has joined forces with World Animal Protection to develop a range of new wildlife adventures in Kenya, India, Thailand and Romania that offer hand-crafted wildlife encounters without bringing harm to animals.

These new itineraries focus on incredible animal-friendly encounters and would make a once in a lifetime gift for yourself or a very special animal-lover in your life this holiday.

"Travellers can join these four new trips, safe in the knowledge that World Animal Protection has reviewed the carefully-crafted itineraries and given them their stamp of approval", says Donna Lawrence, Responsible Travel Manager at World Expeditions. "Travellers on the India, Kenya and Thailand trips will be met in country by a representative of World Animal Protection to learn about the challenges and success being made in their respective countries in relation to animal welfare"

"In addition, World Expeditions is donating a percentage of each trip to World Animal Protection to support their work to save animals from abuse and neglect," Ms Lawrence said.

"Many tourists who love animals are simply not aware of the hidden cruelties that go on behind the scenes at wild animal attractions such as elephant rides or posing for a photo with a tiger," says Josey Kitson Executive Director at World Animal Protection. "By partnering with World Expeditions we can help tourists choose alternatives that improve the lives of animals around the world".

If animal encounters are high on your list for your next adventure and you want to make sure your experiences aren't harmful, then these adventures are perfect for you.

Wild Animal Encounters in India
On this 14-day adventure, travellers will set off on wildlife excursions in some of India's best National Parks spotting tigers, jungle cats, various species of deer, sloth, otters, rhesus monkeys and much more – all in their wild habitat and displaying their natural behaviors. The itinerary also includes visits to some of India's most famous landmarks and cities including the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, the Pink City of Jaipur and the bustling city of Delhi. Wild Animal Encounters in India departs from Delhi, 29 October 2017. Cost from $3750 (excluding international airfares).

Wild Animal Encounters in Thailand
A 11-day itinerary journeying by 4WD and foot through Thailand's National Parks spotting wild elephants, gaurs, tigers, gibbons, langurs, macaques, barking deer, flying foxes as well as a plethora of birdlife. The trip culminates in the Surin Islands, an archipelago of five islands in the Andaman Sea - known for beautiful beaches, pristine ocean, amazing sunsets, intriguing Moken culture and diverse marine life. Wild Animal Encounters in Thailand departs 25 November, 2017. Cost from $3720 (excluding international airfares).

Animal Encounters in Romania
This carefully crafted 11-day adventure includes a visit to a bear sanctuary in Brasov and a dog shelter in Constanta, both supported by World Animal Protection. There's also a four-day walk exploring the stunning mountain landscapes, deep forests and preserved mediaeval towns of Transylvania including the famous Bran Castle, connected through folklore to the fictitious character, Dracula. Animal Encounters in Romania departs Bucharest on 14 May, 2017. Cost from $2699 (excluding international airfares).

Wild Animal Encounters in Kenya
Visit some of Kenya's most sustainable national parks and conservancies on this 11-day adventure. Wildlife sightings will be plentiful and natural. Travellers can expect to see rhinos (black, northern white and southern white), lions, cheetahs, the elusive leopard, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, caracal, bat-eared fox, African wild dogs, elephant, zebra, flamingo, antelope, giraffe, impala, mongoose, porcupine, yellow baboon and more. This adventure culminates at the David & Daphne Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage. Wild Animal Encounters in Kenya departs Nairobi 7 July, 2017. Cost from $5690 (excluding international airfares).

About World Expeditions:
World Expeditions has been operating small group trekking and adventure travel holidays for more than four decades and is widely recognised for its ground breaking Responsible Tourism initiatives. This includes developing an Animal Welfare in Tourism Code of Conduct (in conjunction with World Animal Protection) and a Responsible Travel Guidebook.

About World Animal Protection:
For more than 50 years and in more than 50 countries, World Animal Protection has been preventing animal cruelty and inspiring people to change animals' lives for the better. Today we're working on projects with local partners, governments and businesses to find practical ways to prevent animal suffering worldwide. We also collaborate with the UN and other international bodies to make sure animals are on the global agenda because animal protection is a fundamental part of a sustainable future.  
This Christmas is 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 (CFHS) has just released our annual Animal Shelter Statistics Report, and it is full of great news for Canada's companion animals.

"Adoption is up, euthanasia is down – and we're seeing a drop in the number of animals needing shelter and care from these organizations," says Barbara Cartwright, CEO of CFHS. "As a society, Canada still has a long way to go in terms of valuing and caring for animals, but we're definitely moving in the right direction."

The annual CFHS shelter statistics report has measured the state of companion animal health and welfare in Canada since 1993. This year, we have significant improvements to report, including:

For five years in a row, both cat and dog intake has been steadily decreasing. One third fewer dogs and cats were taken in by humane societies and SPCAs in 2015 compared to 2011.

Cat adoption rates are higher than they've ever been. In 2015, the cat adoption rate was more than double the rate in 1993, when we first began tracking Canadian shelter statistics.

The number of animals being taken in by Canadian shelters is dropping. For five years in a row, both cat and dog intake has steadily decreased.

A whopping 58,000 companion animals were spayed or neutered by Canadian animal shelters in 2015, which represents an $8.7 million financial commitment by humane societies and SPCAs.

We're seeing lower euthanasia rates for cats than ever before – in 2015, 33% fewer cats were euthanized than in 2014.

For the third consecutive year, we're seeing cat adoption rates surpass dog adoption rates.

The proportion of stray cats being taken in by Canadian animal shelters is on the decline. They accounted for 48% of overall cat intake in 2015, down from 53% in 2014 and 60% in 2013.

25% of cats and 33% of dogs arrived at Canadian shelters already spayed or neutered, compared to 17% of cats and 23% of dogs in 2014.

Only 2% of dogs and 5% of cats remained in the shelter instead of being adopted in 2015. This rate is at the lowest recorded since 1993.

CFHS is confident that, if we continue the trajectory of improved animal guardianship and keep investing in spay/neuter programs, we will gradually eliminate pet overpopulation in Canada.

Report challenges claims that keeping whales and dolphins captive is justifiable
 The recent deaths of beluga whales Qila and Aurora have thrust the issue of captive display of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in Vancouver back into the spotlight. The Vancouver Humane Society and Zoocheck Canada are holding a media conference to discuss captive cetacean issues and release a new report, A Crumbling Case for Cetacean Captivity? that specifically examines the kind of cetacean information provided to the general public and the impact of captive cetacean-associated research, and challenges some of the industry's claims.

"Whale advocates, experts and members of the public have long been skeptical of the industry's publicly-stated reasons for keeping cetaceans captive," states Debra Probert, Executive Director of the Vancouver Humane Society. "Many of those arguments are now being vigorously challenged. We decided to look into a couple of key aspects of education and research at two captive cetacean facilities to see if they are really making a difference in the lives of wild cetaceans."

"Given that the biological and behavioural needs of whales and dolphins cannot be met in an aquarium and there is little, if any, value in the education or conservation programs associated with keeping cetaceans on exhibition, it is time to empty the tanks," said Zoocheck Campaigns Director Julie Woodyer.

According to marine mammal scientist Dr. Naomi Rose, "Society's attitude toward whale and dolphin captivity is changing rapidly. Recently, Ontario banned the possession of orcas, the National Aquarium announced plans to retire its dolphins to a seaside sanctuary, SeaWorld pledged to end the breeding of its captive orcas, the State of California codified this corporate policy in law, the Whale Sanctuary Project was formed to establish the first cold water cetacean sanctuary in the world and the US government designated the Sakhalin-Amur population of belugas in Russia's Sea of Okhotsk as depleted, meaning the import of these animals is prohibited. The times they are a'changin' and Vancouver needs to evolve and change as well."  

Mercy For Animals applauds Nestlé Canada's Cage-Free Egg Policy, but NFACC behind the times
Nestlé, the world's largest food and beverage company, has announced that it will switch to using only cage-free eggs in all its Canadian products by 2025. This is the latest in a series of similar announcements from some of North America's largest food companies, including Kellogg's, Unilever, General Mills, Gordon Foodservice, Compass Group, McDonald's, and Boston Pizza.

Nestlé Canada's policy change will help prevent the cruelty egg-laying hens currently suffer as a result of life in cages. The move is the result of productive discussions with Mercy For Animals, an international farmed animal protection organization.

Caged egg-laying hens are confined in barren wire structures so small the birds are unable to walk, nest, spread their wings without touching other birds, or carry out other natural behaviors. Many birds are mangled or die as a result of trapped limbs and overcrowding, and the massive number of animals housed in a single barn contributes to the spread of disease and rise of superbugs. Dead birds are often left to rot alongside birds still laying eggs for human consumption.

Earlier this year, Mercy For Animals shot disturbing undercover footage at a massive Gray Ridge egg factory farm in Ontario showing thousands of birds packed into filthy wire cages, hardly able to move without crawling over other birds. Severely sick and injured birds are left to suffer and slowly die without proper veterinary care, and the bodies of dead animals are seen decomposing in cages with live birds.

A survey conducted by NRG Research Group found that 79 percent of Canadians believe the National Farm Animal Care Council should advise egg farmers to use cage-free systems and 83 percent of Canadians said the government should enact laws mandating cage-free egg production. NFACC's mandate is to represent consumer, marketplace, and societal expectations relative to farm animal welfare; however, the current draft of the Layer Code of Practice for the care and housing of egg-laying hens ignores them all.

Mercy For Animals is calling on the NFACC, which receives millions of taxpayer dollars, to ensure that the final version of the Layer Code of Practice clearly advises egg farmers to stop using cages.

Governments around the globe increasingly recognize the inherent cruelty of battery cages. At present, the European Union and a number of U.S. states have banned this method of raising hens. It is time for Canada to follow suit.

The following statement can be attributed to Krista Hiddema, vice president of Mercy For Animals in Canada:

We're thrilled to see that Nestlé Canada has committed to helping protect the lives of farmed animals. Nestlé's updated policy will significantly improve the welfare of millions of egg-laying hens here in Canada, and we hope that it will encourage the National Farm Animal Care Council, the pseudo-governmental body responsible for drafting the codes of practice for farmed animal care, to ensure that the final Layer Code of Practice recommends only cage-free housing.

To learn more about Mercy For Animals and its work to help farmed animals, visit
Herring fishery needs careful monitoring after sustainable certification, WWF-Canada says
The Bay of Fundy herring fishery will need continued support to ensure the fishery remains sustainable, WWF-Canada says, despite last week's announcement that it has been granted the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for meeting global standards for sustainability.

WWF-Canada was pleased to see that the MSC certification for Bay of Fundy herring includes nine strong recommendations, and encourages action on them to ensure the fishery continues to improve. Those recommendations, however, are non-binding to the certification.

The Bay of Fundy herring fishery, known as 4VWX, has been a stock of concern for more than a decade, and has been managed under a Fisheries and Oceans Canada Rebuilding Plan since 2013. Herring are a key food source for many commercial species such as cod, swordfish and bluefin tuna, as well as sharks, marine mammals and seabirds.

Key recommendations include:

Conducting tagging studies to collect better information on the stock.

Monitoring catches of Atlantic mackerel, another forage species in critical condition, by date and location.

Collecting more robust data on the scale of the bait and recreational fishery of herring.

Ensuring that comprehensive ecosystem goals are established, and a strategy is developed to address such ecosystem requirements as predator needs.

Updating the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan.

Aurelie Cosandey-Godin, senior oceans specialist, said: "Although Bay of Fundy herring has received its MSC certification, there is still work to do on the stock in order for it to reach its sustainability milestones within the next five years. WWF-Canada will monitor the situation with this herring fishery as it meets the conditions and recommendations of its certification. Forage-fish fisheries need careful management that takes into account the needs of predators, such as fish, whales and seabirds, to ensure there is enough food for them to eat as well."

The state of forage fisheries:
In July 2016, WWF-Canada's Food For All report raised the alarm over a lack of information about Canadian forage-fish stocks, and the impact that poorly managed forage fisheries can have on predators. Three-quarters of forage-fish fisheries in Canada are being managed without adequate information, and three fisheries in Atlantic Canada are in critical condition. Currently, except for new fisheries, commercially fished forage species are not granted any special status for management.
WWF-Canada and FFAW-Unifor release action plan for rebuilding northern cod fishery
Canada and Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) released their action plan today for rebuilding northern cod in Newfoundland and Labrador. The comprehensive action plan is a milestone in a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) run by WWF-Canada and FFAW-Unifor on the northern cod (NAFO divisions 2J3KL) stewardship fishery operating in the inshore. The FIP will implement improvement measures that will ensure continued sustainability once the stock has grown to levels that support a full commercial fishery.

The FIP action plan includes:

The development of a rebuilding plan with timelines, biologically based reference points and harvest-control rules.

An estimate of the recreational cod-fishery catch.

Analysis of the type and amount of bait needed for the 2J3KL fishery.

Regular monitoring of ecosystem impacts, including potential bycatch of endangered, threatened and protected species.

The action plan:

Was prepared by an independent consultant to meet the guidelines for comprehensive FIPs of WWF and the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions.

Contains timelines and 17 improvement measures for the fishery.

Will be implemented over the next five years with annual progress assessments.

The action plan is the result of a September stakeholders meeting that included:

Harvesters operating vessels below 40-feet in length and longer than 40-feet
Fogo Island Co-operative Society Ltd.
Seafood Processors of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc.
Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council
Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods of Newfoundland and Labrador
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Marine Stewardship Council
The Association of Seafood Producers

Keith Sullivan, president of FFAW-Unifor, said, "Our FIP sets the right checks and balances in place to sustainably manage the transition to a new northern cod fishery that includes a strong rebuilding plan, and a fishery focused on quality for the most discerning and high-paying markets."

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said, "Northern cod was once among the biggest fisheries in the world, and the stock's collapse was one of the worst ecological disasters of our time. Although the stock remains in the critical zone, the latest scientific data show a very promising start to a recovery. The measures in our Fishery Improvement Project action plan are a blueprint for a world-class model of ecosystem and economic recovery through sustainable fishing and responsible oceans management."

Pet Holiday Survey: Majority of Dogs Belong on Santa's "Nice List"
 PetIQ, a leading manufacturer of vet recommended pet health products, has released the results of its 2016 "Happy Pawlidays" nationwide survey of more than 900 pet owners.

The survey gives some fun insight about their pets during the "most wonderful time of the year." Pet owners say that the holiday character their dog most resembles is Buddy, the friendly elf from the movie "Elf" (65%). Other famous characters, Frosty (25%) and Dr. Seuss' The Grinch (10%), trailed behind.

Who's that under the mistletoe? Apparently, dog owners hope it's their favorite canine. The majority of survey respondents would rather smooch their pooch (61%), than their significant other (39%) if caught under the mistletoe.

Other highlights from the "Happy Pawlidays" survey:

When it comes to a favorite holiday activity, 35% of respondents say their dog's favorite pastime is spending time with loved ones, followed by curling up by the fireplace (25%), dashing through the snow (23%) and chowing down on turkey and pie (17%).

76% of pet owners believe their dog made it on Santa Claus' "Nice List" this year, while only 24% think their dog is on the "Naughty List."

"All I Want for Christmas is Bacon" would be their dog's favorite festive song, followed by "Barkin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Joy to the World."

"Here at PetIQ, we know that the holidays wouldn't be complete without our pets," Glen Moore, PetIQ's vice president of marketing said. "We love hearing from our consumers and how they plan to spend the holidays with their loved ones. The "Happy Pawlidays" survey is a fun way to celebrate what's important about this season: love, laughter, and family."
Proposed updates to livestock transport regs still leave Canada worst in Western world
 Mercy For Animals is renewing its call for the Canadian government to protect animals from needless suffering and death during transport following the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's recent publication of proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations: Part XII, which deals with the humane transport of animals. For years, Mercy For Animals has called for Canada's livestock transport regulations—widely regarded as the worst in the Western world—to be modernized in order to alleviate the suffering and prevent the deaths of millions of animals during transport.

Due in large part to Canada's outdated livestock transport regulations, every year millions of farmed animals arrive at slaughterhouses dead or so sick or injured they are declared unfit for human consumption. Investigations by Mercy For Animals, including a shocking hidden-camera exposé of Alberta's Western Hog Exchange, have repeatedly documented the horrific conditions farmed animals are subjected to during transport in Canada. In fact, Canada's largest poultry producer, Maple Lodge Farms, was convicted of causing undue suffering to thousands of chickens during transport and slaughter and is currently on probation.

Under the proposed amendments, livestock haulers will be permitted to transport animals through all weather extremes without food, water, or rest for up to 36 hours, and loopholes have been added to allow for animals to be transported for even longer times with no penalties to transporters.

The following statement is attributed to Krista Hiddema, vice president for Mercy For Animals in Canada:

Canadians are sick and tired of lagging behind the rest of the Western world when it comes to farmed animal welfare. Our outdated transport regulations cause horrific suffering to animals and are a national outrage. Even more outrageous is that the newly proposed updates to the livestock transportation standards still allow for animals to be trucked for thousands of kilometers, through all weather extremes, for 36 hours or more without food, water, or rest.

As revealed by a 2015 poll conducted by NRG Research Group, the overwhelming majority of Canadians agree that at a minimum, animals should not be transported for longer than eight hours without food, water, and rest; animals should be protected from weather extremes; and companies that violate these basic standards should be severely penalized.

While we applaud the CFIA for finally starting the process of revising our country's woefully outdated livestock transport regulations, we are deeply discouraged by CFIA's failure to adequately address many of the most critical issues facing animals during transport.

No animal deserves to be crushed to death in a crowded transport truck or to die from dehydration or exposure to blistering heat or freezing temperatures. We take so much from these animals and the least we owe them is basic humane treatment. The new administration should act quickly to put an end to the suffering of millions of animals. The time for action is now.

Mercy For Animals is calling on Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and the Canadian government to dramatically improve not only the animal transportation regulations but also the enforcement of these regulations.

For more information:

To view undercover video of the horrific cruelty endured by animals during transport, visit and
New 'threatened' designation for Canada's barren-ground caribou demands government action, WWF-Canada says
 The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has designated barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) as "threatened," bolstering calls by WWF-Canada to protect key habitat for this essential Arctic species.

This is the first time COSEWIC has assessed barren-ground caribou, and the threatened status indicates the species "is likely to become endangered if nothing is done," according to COSEWIC's designation.

Though barren-ground caribou exist across Northern Canada, from Yukon to Baffin Island, calving grounds for most herds are found in Nunavut. While herd numbers fluctuate naturally, the severity and widespread nature of the current declines have raised red flags that can no longer be ignored. Of Canada's 14 largest barren-ground caribou populations, 12 are in steep decline, some by as much as 95 per cent from historic highs.

Key steps to protect barren-ground caribou:

The federal environment minister must list barren-ground caribou as threatened under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) so that a recovery strategy and action plan are developed and implemented.
Include caribou habitat protection in the Nunavut Land Use Plan by designating protected areas to keep new industrial development out of core caribou calving and post-calving areas, as well as freshwater crossings and key access corridors.

David Miller, WWF-Canada president and CEO, says:
"This designation shows we can no longer ignore the dire state of Canada's barren-ground caribou herds. In one of the great migratory marvels in the world, these herds used to flood over the tundra in an ocean-like tide. It's almost inconceivable they are now threatened. We call on the government of Canada to act swiftly to grant caribou protections under the Species at Risk Act and consult with territorial governments and Inuit to enact measures so this iconic species has a chance to rebound."

Paul Crowley, WWF-Canada's vice-president of Arctic conservation, says:
"The people of Nunavut want caribou protected. An Environics survey commissioned by WWF-Canada showed that 77 per cent of northerners strongly support full protection for caribou calving grounds – including prohibiting industrial development. But the government of Nunavut, without consulting with communities, has recently changed its longstanding position that calving grounds need to be protected in the Land Use Plan. There is a strong disconnect between what the people of Northern Canada want and the actions of the government that represents them. Failing to create meaningful protections for caribou calving grounds puts the future of these herds at risk. There is an opportunity to get it right with the Nunavut Land Use Plan, and the new 'threatened' designation shows we cannot put it off any longer."

Working together to strengthen plant and animal health
Today, the National Plant and Animal Health Planning Forum opened in Ottawa. The Forum is hosting representatives from across federal and provincial governments, industry and academia, to identify and discuss the actions needed to strengthen the protection of plant and animal health in Canada.
The objective of the Forum is to build a national strategy for plant and animal health which will be built on a vision shared by all participating partners. It will focus on strengthening Canada's agriculture sector through innovation, collaboration, and risk prevention.
A draft strategy will be available in the new year for public consultation. Learn more about the Plant and Animal Health Strategy, and share your ideas on strengthening plant and animal health today.

Government Releases Proposed Amendments to Regulations on Humane Transportation of Animals
 The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations Part XII which deals with humane transportation.

This is an opportunity for Canadians to share their views on the transportation of animals.

The draft amendments appeared in the Canada Gazette, Part I on December 3, 2016 and the public comment period will run until February 15, 2017.

Quick Facts
  • The CFIA establishes and enforces regulations for the welfare of animals during transport, as specified in the requirements of the Health of Animal Regulations, which governs the humane transportation of animals in Canada.
  • The current regulations were developed in 1977 and few amendments have been made since then.
  • The proposed regulations are the product of ten years of consultation with industry, the public and special interest groups.
  • Protecting animal welfare in Canada is a shared responsibility between governments (federal, provincial and territorial), industry (e.g. producers, transporters, processors, registered slaughter establishments) and the public.
Caribou, Monarch butterflies: Canada's iconic migrants at grave risk
From Coho Salmon to Caribou to the much-cherished Monarch butterfly, migration is a key component of Canadian biodiversity. Migratory species, migration and movement all figured prominently at the semi-annual Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) deliberations on species at risk, held November 27 - December 2nd.

Young Coho Salmon from the Interior Fraser River basin leave the watershed and live much of their adult lives at sea before migrating back to their native rivers to lay eggs. The Committee considered threats in both fresh and salt water, and the wildlife species' status was assessed as having improved from Endangered to Threatened. Despite ongoing active management and some improvements, the situation faced by Interior Fraser River Coho Salmon is still perilous.

Another iconic migratory species considered by COSEWIC was Caribou. Several populations migrate hundreds of kilometres en masse between their calving and wintering grounds every year. Caribou have experienced alarming declines. Both science and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge indicate unprecedented declines in several herds with some human activities on the landscape being novel, potentially disrupting natural cycles. According to Justina Ray, co-chair of the Terrestrial Mammals Subcommittee, "Caribou are, sadly, very sensitive to human disturbances, and we are disturbing Caribou more and more. These stressors seem to be interacting in complicated ways with rapid warming in the North. Many of the great northern Caribou herds have now fallen to all-time lows, and there is cause for concern that they will not rebound in the same way they have before." COSEWIC considered the status of two such populations for the first time. Both were found to be in trouble: The Caribou Barren-ground population was assessed as Threatened, while the much rarer Torngat Mountain population in far northeastern Canada was assessed at even higher risk - Endangered.

A third migratory species considered by COSEWIC was the Monarch butterfly. These insects fly over 4,000 kilometres south to Mexico in the fall to overwinter. They breed on their return trip, and their great-grandchildren arrive back in Canada in spring. However, the remarkably tiny wintering grounds where Monarchs congregate continue to be chipped away by habitat loss. Monarch butterfly migration is now recognized as a "threatened process" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Indeed, it is the only natural process with this unfortunate distinction. COSEWIC assessed the species as Endangered. Jennifer Heron, co-chair of the Arthropods Subcommittee, summed it up: "We need to continue to support the conservation of milkweed caterpillar habitat both here in Canada and along the Monarch's migratory journey, and we need to support continued conservation of critical overwintering areas. Otherwise, Monarch migration may disappear, and Canada may lose this iconic species."

The Pink-footed Shearwater finds itself in a comparable situation. Breeding on only three small islands off the coast of Chile, many of these birds travel thousands of kilometres north to feed along the coast of British Columbia during our summer months. The species' southern home is under multiple threats from humans and exotic predators, and shearwaters are killed as fishing by-catch throughout its range. This rare bird was re-assessed as Endangered.

Human interference also causes problems for animal movements at smaller, local scales. Dams that stop Westslope Cutthroat Trout from moving between spawning and feeding grounds have contributed to their shrinking distribution in Alberta. This fish's Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers populations were re-assessed as Threatened. Slow-moving Blanding's Turtles, which can live for 80 years, travel up to three kilometres from nesting beaches and other summer habitats to fewer small freshwater pools where they overwinter, year after year. Vehicles increasingly threaten this rare turtle wherever roads cross the turtles' seasonal routes, and this species was assessed as Endangered in both Nova Scotia and in central Canada.

In contrast to most of the species assessed by COSEWIC, the widely distributed Blue Shark was assessed as Not At Risk in Canada, in part due to ongoing successful management. New satellite tracking data for this renowned long-distance migrant confirmed long-range movements and seasonal migrations between inshore and deeper offshore habitats.

But of the species assessed, Blue Shark was the exception. Many migratory species decline in step with human barriers and habitat changes. The Chair of COSEWIC, Eric Taylor, stated the bottom line: "Disruptions to migratory behavior are associated with the threat of extinction for species all over the world. We will need to continue to change how we use our landscape so that we and wildlife can thrive together. COSEWIC's work assessing Canadian wildlife helps us do that."

Last Chance for Animals' Investigation Leads to Animal Cruelty Charges for Marineland Canada
An investigation released by Last Chance for Animals (LCA) exposes Marineland Canada's appalling indifference to the welfare of their animals. The controversial theme park located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is facing historic cruelty charges for their treatment of captive animals that include deer, bears and fowl among others.

The evidence gathered by LCA reveals numerous instances of improper care and mistreatment of their land animals. Evidence such as:

The discovery of multiple dead animals -- including deer, fowl and bison -- on a daily basis. The dead bodies are stored in an onsite freezer before they are buried in Marineland's mass grave

Animals with severely infected eyes receiving no medical treatment

Countless fallow deer limping from undiagnosed injuries

Hundreds of fallow deer warehoused on a barren lot hidden from public view, with inadequate access to shade

Male pheasants being injured and killed because of aggressive flock mates

Bears, whose diet includes moldy produce and fly infested fish, suffering from chronic diarrhea

LCA filed a complaint in the fall of 2016 calling on the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) to investigate alleged violations of the OSPCA Act, and as a result Marineland now faces five (5) counts of animal cruelty. The complaint details multiple examples where Marineland's land animals were permitted to be in a state of distress, and where the care of deer, bear and fowl fell below prescribed standards regarding medical treatment, food, and protection from elements.

"Sick and ailing animals are left to suffer and die at Marineland, only to be replaced by another from the facility's horde of animals hidden from the public's eye," states Adam Wilson, Director of Investigations for LCA.

"The charges of animal cruelty brought against Marineland highlight the suffering of all animals at the park and the need for the facility to face a lifetime ban on owning animals to end its legacy of cruel confinement."

LCA's exposé of Marineland's land animals follows the release of a five-month undercover investigation of Marineland's whales. The undercover investigation exposed inadequate treatment, housing, and care of marine mammals at Marineland, the world's largest confiner of beluga whales. LCA's findings included belugas covered in "rake marks" from being attacked and bitten by dominant whales, nursing mothers being withheld food for training purposes, and a juvenile beluga named Gia, who was left in a shallow isolation pool for three months, where she became emaciated.

Last Chance for Animals is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and public awareness campaigns. Since its formation in 1984, LCA has succeeded as one of the nation's pioneer animal advocacy organizations. Working internationally, LCA's Sam Simon Special Investigations Unit documents abuse in research labs, puppy mills, factory farms, and the entertainment industry, and works with prosecutors to enforce animal cruelty laws. LCA's educational and public outreach programs have empowered the public to make positive changes for the animals in their own communities.

Vancouver Humane Society urges Whistler Film Festival to resist pressure to withdraw sled dog film
The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is urging the Whistler Film Festival to resist calls from the sled dog industry to withdraw a documentary questioning the treatment of dogs within the industry. The film, Sled Dogs, is set to premiere at the festival this Saturday.  

According to media reports, the festival has received letters from lawyers calling for the film to be withdrawn and has attracted opposition on social media.  VHS, which was interviewed for the film, says it's important that people see what the documentary reveals and make up their own minds.

"This is a matter of free speech," said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker.  "The plight of dogs used in this industry needs to be exposed.  We hope the festival will not succumb to pressure to silence those who question the treatment of sled dogs."

VHS campaigned for a ban on sled dog tours and races in 2011, following revelations that dozens of sled dogs belonging to a Whistler tour company had been brutally killed.  Despite public outrage, new regulations introduced by the B.C. government did not end the industry practice of tethering dogs for long periods and it remains legal to kill dogs by gunshot.

Making a Brighter Holiday Season (and Coming Year) for Animals 
Last week, many of us spent Thanksgiving day surrounded by friends and family, followed by a day of shopping on Black Friday. There's nothing wrong with indulging the week of Thanksgiving—whether adding an extra scoop of mashed potatoes to your plate at Thanksgiving dinner, or stocking up on gifts during the weekend sales. But for many, the overconsumption that surrounds the holidays takes a welcome backseat during a day of charitable giving—#GivingTuesday this Tuesday, November 29.

American Humane, the country's first national humane organization and the first to serve since 1877 in the protection of animals, is participating in this global day of giving back and is encouraging animal lovers to double their impact through a two-for-one matching grant up to $200,000, thanks to a generous gift from internationally renowned philanthropist Lois Pope, a longtime supporter of American Humane.

The organization's goal is to raise $15,000 in just 24 hours. Contributions made on #GivingTuesday will support their work providing lifesaving help for animals during natural disasters, preventing animal cruelty, finding ways to help more of the 6-8 million animals relinquished to shelters each year, saving lives at both ends of the leash by training shelter dogs to be service dogs for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress, and so much more.

To help, click here: and share American Humane's #GivingTuesday goals with friends on Twitter and other social media platforms. Remember to tag @AmericanHumane and use the global hashtag #GivingTuesday to be part of the conversation.

With your support, American Humane can reach its goal of raising $15,000 on #GivingTuesday and continue to change the lives of innocent animals who desperately need our help.

Be a miracle for animals this holiday season
 Unwrap tangled turtles from discarded fishing nets, deliver a festive feast to a recently freed bear and give stray dogs comfort and joy this holiday. You can do all this and more with a World Animal Gift from World Animal Protection.

We all know the important role animals play in our lives. Our pets become part of the family, millions of the world's poorest people depend on animals for their lives and livelihoods, and we consider our precious wildlife a vital part of the ecosystem we all share.

Isn't this the perfect time of year then, to give back to the animals around the world and delight the animal lovers on your list? Give gifts of love and security, comfort and joy by giving a charitable World Animal Gift this holiday.

There are so many great gifts to choose from:

Make little hearts flutter with joy – just $15 can give 4 hens a healthier life. Instead of a bottle of wine for the party host, why not help hens strut their stuff.

Really get tails wagging – help vaccinate 25 dogs against rabies and give them each a bright collar for $25. You'll save their lives and help them live in harmony with the community.

Do it all this holiday – for $100 you can fill furry bellies, rush to rescue animals from a natural disaster or provide live-saving medical care to an animal in need. This gift does it all.

The gift of freedom – for the true animal lover, $566 will give a captive bear the gift of freedom and dignity. Free a beautiful bear from a lifetime of suffering.

See more proof of the joy these great gifts can bring to animals and gift givers alike. Because really, when was the last time you got this excited about giving a scarf?

How it works:

Visit and choose from over 30 life-saving gifts

Order a printable PDF or e-card for your loved one

Your gift protects animals in need

About World Animal Protection:
World Animal Protection, formerly known as the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), is active in more than 50 countries. From our offices around the world, we work with businesses, governments, local partners and animal welfare organizations to find practical ways to prevent animal suffering worldwide.

Is the OSPCA Bowing to Activist Pressure?: Marineland
   Instead of representing the interests of animal welfare, it appears the OSPCA is bowing to pressure from radical California-based animal rights activists who have been shown to falsify evidence in their effort to shut down companies like Marineland.

Marineland has learned that a recent inspection of Marineland's facilities was prompted by pressure from Last Chance for Animals, a Los Angeles organization working with a fired former Marineland employee that is believed to be seeking revenge for his dismissal.

This group has made grossly false allegations in the past including alleging the death of a baby beluga who is currently happy, healthy, and alive. It also appears they distorted and/or photoshopped images to create false images to allege abuse. This prior complaint was investigated by the OSPCA and dismissed as false.

Rather than accept the findings of the OSPCA's extensive and repeated investigations, animal rights groups have brought pressure against OSPCA by calling in an investigator to review that organization's efforts. They suggest the OSPCA is somehow overlooking violations and is operating contrary to its stated principles merely because it has determined Marineland is properly managing the animals within its care. It is simply inconceivable to these radical activists that a company that relies upon the health and safety of its animals would actually be interested in maintaining their welfare.

Less than a month following the animal activists announcement of their efforts to pressure OSPCA into action against Marineland, as reported by CP Reporter Liam Casey, Last Chance for Animals brought new allegations to the OSPCA, also reported by CP Reporter Liam Casey, without disclosing the source of his information or their past discredited claims against Marineland, along with Marineland's open libel suit against Casey. They concealed their efforts by making this complaint without notice to Marineland or providing the alleged images or video for review. They did, however, disclose their complaint to allies in the press in an effort to get maximum publicity for the attack on Marineland.

As we have been unable to review the purported evidence that prompted this latest attack, and while the Canadian Press has these materials and appears prepared to report on them without giving Marineland an opportunity to review and respond, it is impossible for us to comment on the allegations directly. However, knowing the tactics and past practice of this group, whose efforts to date have produced no results, Marineland believes such images are almost certainly photoshopped, false entirely, or deliberately manipulated and distorted.

The OSPCA sent a team of three investigators and a veterinarian to Marineland for one day, November 10, 2016. They noted minor issues and ordered action to be put in place within two weeks. None of the issues were considered serious enough to require the removal of any animals, and all the orders were complied with and completed within the prescribed time. It should be noted also that none of the orders related to any marine mammals.

Despite having all the requirements of the orders satisfied, and without a return or follow-up visit, the OSPCA decided to press forward with charges alleging abuse against black bears, guinea fowl, and a peacock, and issued a media release on a Friday afternoon, providing the public with more information about the charges against Marineland than to the park itself. There have also been suggestions made to the media, but not to Marineland, that further charges are pending, but there is no suggestion as to a possible basis for these further charges as Marineland has complied with all orders it has received.

We have previously outlined the basis of the allegations of abuse – that some edible produce stickers have accidentally been left on the fresh fruit and vegetables provided to our bears, that our guinea fowl pens were too small, and there was a benign growth over the eye of the peacock – and all of these issues have been corrected and the animals continue to thrive. None of these issues justifies a claim of abuse, which the OSPCA could easily verify if it chose to return to the park.

The suggestion that further charges are forthcoming is especially upsetting, as it indicates the OSPCA believes there are animals in distress at Marineland now but they are content to remain silent. By telling the media there might be more charges but not informing Marineland, we are left wondering if there is some unknown distress being placed on our animals that we could easily relieve. Who does it benefit to suggest there are animals in distress but not tell the one entity in a position to relieve that distress?

The OSPCA's actions in this matter, in bowing to pressure from activists and agenda-driven reporters, amounts to a scared regulator, with a track record of bowing to pressure and its own problems relating animal care practices the public deemed to be 'cruel', currying favour with a discredited group and actively working against the welfare of the animals it is mandated to protect. 

The Government of Canada to protect critical habitat for eastern seabird
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced today that the Government of Canada is taking action to support the recovery of the endangered Roseate Tern on Canada's East Coast.

McKenna said, "Canadians place importance on nature, including species at risk. Supporting the survival and recovery of the Roseate Tern through the protection of its critical habitat on federal lands serves as an important step in its recovery process.

"We are committed to the protection and recovery of Canada's species at risk in a timely manner using conservation measures based on sound science and strong recovery plans."

The Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii), a medium-sized graceful seabird, is found on coasts and islands along the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans, with important North Atlantic nesting sites on islands off the coast of Nova Scotia.

The critical-habitat protection order for the Roseate Tern immediately protects the land and waters surrounding Country Island and the waters surrounding Sable Island and North Brother and South Brother islands, all in Nova Scotia. The lands of North and South Brother islands are provincially protected, and Sable Island is protected as both a migratory bird sanctuary and a national park reserve.

Ontario SCPA reduces cat adoption fees on Black Friday to find forever families for homeless cats
Ontario SPCA animal centres across the province are reducing adoption fees on all cats to $50 during Black Friday to help find homes for the many cats and kittens in their care.

From Nov. 25-27, all cats will be available for adoption at the reduced fee of $50. All cats are spayed or neutered, microchipped, come with a gift of six weeks of pet insurance and are up to date with their vaccines. Plus, anyone who adopts in November will receive a box of Arm & Hammer Clump and Seal Complete Odor Sealing Litter, while supplies last.

"All of our cats are so deserving of new homes. We hope this promotion encourages families to adopt," says Tonya Martin, Director, Animal Centres & Humane Programming, Ontario SPCA. "If you can't adopt right now, please tell your friends and family about the cats in our animal centres that are waiting for their forever families."

To see adoptable animals, visit
Already have an adopted pet? Enter the iAdopt contest!

Step 1 - Enter the grand prize contest at for your chance to WIN free pet food for a year from Royal Canin.

Step 2 - Post a picture of your adopted pet on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #iAdopt or upload a picture directly on for chances to win weekly prizes.

To learn more about iAdopt for the Holidays, or to enter the contest, visit

Ontario SPCA and Humane Society:

Protecting animals since 1873, Ontario SPCA is Ontario's Animal Welfare organization. A registered charity comprised of over 50 Communities.

Since 1919, when Ontario's first Animal Welfare legislation was proclaimed, the Ontario SPCA, with the help of its Communities, has been entrusted to maintain and enforce Animal Welfare legislation. The Act provides Ontario SPCA Agents and Inspectors with police powers to do so.
Ontario SPCA provides leadership in animal welfare innovations including introducing high-volume spay/neuter services to Ontario and opening the Provincial Education and Animal Centre.
Adopt • Learn • Volunteer • Donate

Animal Advocates Urge South Korea's Four Largest Corporations to Stand Against the Brutal Dog Meat Trade
International nonprofit animal advocacy group Last Chance for Animals (LCA) is intensifying its campaign to stop the South Korean dog meat trade. LCA President and Founder Chris DeRose is calling on Samsung, LG, Kia and Hyundai to release a written pledge condemning animal cruelty and supporting those working to stop dog meat trade in South Korea. Consumers are urged not to buy these companies' products until they have submitted this pledge.

South Korea's industrialized dog meat trade slaughters approximately 2.5 million dogs each year. The dogs are tortured in the belief that suffering makes the meat taste better -- they may be hung, electrocuted and cooked alive. Due to the government's longstanding apathy towards animal cruelty, South Korea has now become the only country in the world in which dogs are bred in huge factory farming facilities solely for their meat.

On the eve of the busiest shopping weekend of the year, LCA urges consumers to use the power of their wallets to influence change by not buying Samsung, LG, Kia and Hyundai products until the companies formally denounce this cruelty. Amplifying this message, LCA has produced a compelling video to motivate consumers to demand change.

It’s no surprise that Grumpy Cat is…well, grumpy. But up until now, fans never knew exactly what makes America’s favorite feline curmudgeon so annoyed. Today, Purina and PetSmart are making that possible by launching Grumpy Cat’s first-ever blog post, which will be housed exclusively on Visitors to the site will get a peek at Grumpy’s top ten pet peeves and also have the opportunity to join the FREE, members-only Cat Clubhouse.

From party invites to selfie sticks, pretty much everything gets on Grumpy Cat’s nerves. She spells out her biggest irritations in a list that includes a corresponding image or GIF for each grievance. Everyone knows Grumpy Cat doesn’t like many things, but Friskies is one of the exceptions. When fans visit to read Grumpy Cat’s blog, they can also sign up for Cat Clubhouse to get special deals from a variety of cat brands including Grumpy’s favorite Friskies products such as Friskies® Tender & Crunchy Combo, Friskies® Cat Concoctions, Friskies® Party Mix treats and Friskies® Pull ‘n Play.

“Purina is partnering with PetSmart on Cat Clubhouse to offer great deals to cat-lovers on quality cat food like Friskies, cat treats and litter,” said Andrew Goldberg, Retail & Shopper Marketing Manager for Nestlé Purina Petcare.“Be sure to go to to get a glimpse into Grumpy Cat’s pet peeves and while you’re there, sign up for a FREE Cat Clubhouse membership.”

Cat Clubhouse is the ultimate destination for cat-lovers and parents. Members receive exciting perks like monthly savings from PetSmart and Purina, weekly emails, featured cat stories and more.

In addition to Grumpy Cat’s exclusive blog, has a lot of great content about cat culture. The site was designed to celebrate the unbreakable bond between pets and their people. The site informs, inspires and entertains through helpful advice, horoscopes and powerful stories.

Check out Grumpy Cat’s blog post at To sign up for Cat Clubhouse, visit

The Friskies® brand offers a complete line of great-tasting cat foods, including more than 60 wet, dry and treat varieties. Friskies is manufactured by Nestlé Purina PetCare, a global leader in the pet care industry. Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness.

Grumpy Cat's global following includes 8.7 million Facebook fans, 500k+ Twitter followers, 1.9 million followers on Instagram, and over 40 million YouTube views. Since her photos first went viral in 2012, Grumpy Cat has gone from Internet star to real-life celebrity and pop culture icon. Grumpy Cat has been Friskies official "Spokescat" since 2013.

Caring for Your Senior Pet
One thing pet owners can agree on is that we want our pets to live as long as possible - forever would be ideal!

As our beloved pets grow older, it can be difficult to watch them begin to show signs of decline, and it's common for pet owners to think of aging as a disease. However, aging is not a disease – it's a progressive process in which the pet's body may lose the ability to maintain normal bodily functions or respond to environmental factors.

Signs such as limping, losing weight, or changes in drinking or eating habits are often not due to "getting old" – they may actually be symptoms of diseases that could be alleviated with proper nutrition and medical care.

Some signs of aging are obvious and can be seen easily, such as a greying coat. However, most signs of aging are more difficult to see, so that's why it's important to work with your veterinarian.

What can you do for your aging pet?

Pay close attention to subtle changes – nobody knows your pet better than you do!

Make sure your pet receives an annual examination from your veterinarian – they are trained to pick up on changes, and can diagnose and treat disease before it worsens. It's not uncommon for pets who come in for a routine check-up to have one or more abnormalities appear on their examination or blood tests, even when they appear healthy.

Ask your veterinarian to perform a nutritional assessment to determine the diet best suited for your pet. Proper nutrition becomes even more critical as dogs and cats are aging, and the best diet for your pet will allow for a healthier skin and coat, a well-functioning digestive system, strong muscles, and support for internal organs.

As unrealistic as forever is, you're definitely able to positively influence your pet's quality of life! With nutritious food, routine preventative care and close monitoring of any subtle changes in your pet, you may be able to prevent a disease associated with aging or catch it earlier and slow its progression. Which means more time to share with your happy, healthy companion through their golden years.

Actress Pamela Anderson blasts Lilydale in open letter over viral turkey torture video

In an open letter sent this morning to Michael Latifi, chairman and CEO of Lilydale's parent company, Sofina Foods, actress Pamela Anderson expresses sadness upon learning the company is involved in "truly horrific animal abuse" and calls for institutional change. The letter follows the release of an undercover video by the international animal protection organization Mercy For Animals showing Lilydale turkeys cut open and scalded alive at a slaughterhouse in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

In the letter, Ms. Anderson writes:

I watched hidden-camera video—shot by a whistleblower working at Lilydale—showing frightened turkeys painfully shackled upside down, shocked with electricity, sliced open, and even submerged in tanks of scalding water while still alive and able to feel pain.

I stopped eating turkeys and other animals a long time ago because I know they are as intelligent and friendly as the dogs and cats we all know and love, and they deserve to be protected from needless cruelty and violence.

But even people who eat meat can agree that animals shouldn't be tortured to death. Yet that's exactly what is happening at Lilydale.

To view the full letter, visit:

Ms. Anderson joins Mercy For Animals in calling on Sofina Foods to follow the lead of Maple Leaf Foods, the largest meat producer in Canada, in pledging to implement a series of meaningful animal welfare policies to end the worst forms of animal abuse in its supply chain. Specifically, Mercy For Animals is urging the company to replace its cruel live-shackle slaughter system with less cruel controlled-atmosphere-stunning systems that eliminate the horrific suffering caused by shackling, shocking, cutting open, and scalding conscious animals.

"We thank Pamela Anderson for helping draw attention to this important issue," said Krista Hiddema, vice president with Mercy For Animals in Canada. "If consumers knew about Lilydale's foul treatment of turkeys, they would be sick to their stomachs. Cutting open live animals and scalding them to death is disgusting abuse that no company with morals should support."

To view the hidden-camera video, please visit
Keep pets safe this Halloween with simple steps to avoid a frightful night
Halloween is a fun time to dress up, indulge in candy and enjoy the festivities, but don't forget about the safety of your pets, who can get sick from eating candy or decorations and may be frightened by costumed visitors.

Before you find yourself in a frightful situation this Hallows' Eve, follow these simple tips to keep your furry family members safe:

Keep candy out of reach. Chocolate is particularly poisonous, but raw sugar, or sugar substitutes like xylitol can also be dangerous for pets.

Throw away candy wrappers immediately, as packaging can also be hazardous and could lead to choking.

Place Halloween decorations out of reach. Things such as corn stocks or dried gourds can cause digestive problems if ingested, potentially leading to blockages that require surgery to remove.

Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach of your pets.
Exercise caution with jack-o'-lanterns as pets can easily knock them over and cause a fire if real candles are used.

Excited children wearing masks or long costumes could inadvertently step on your pet's paws or tail, so keep an eye on both your two and four-legged family members.

If you plan on dressing up your pet, test how it will react to a costume a few days in advance by clipping together something like a bath towel over its back, then test the costume. Never keep a costume on for extended periods of time, and be sure to frequently check that it fits correctly and doesn't restrict breathing, movement or your pet's ability to go to the bathroom.

If you decide to bring your pet outside, consider how your pet normally reacts to strangers. If you have any doubt about how they will act around strangers dressed in costumes, consider leaving them at home and taking a family photo at the end of the evening when the excitement has died down.

If you will be welcoming trick-or-treaters to your home, it's best to relocate animals to a quiet room with a TV or radio turned on low to distract them, which will reduce stress for everyone and prevent your pet from darting out the door.

Make sure your pet has proper ID. If your pet does escape and becomes lost, it will help ensure you are reunited with your pet.

"The last thing any pet owner wants on Halloween is a pet who is sick from eating something they shouldn't have, or agitated because of costumed strangers," says Tanya Firmage, Chief of Humane Programs and Community Outreach, Ontario SPCA. "Keeping in mind simple pet safety tips will help ensure your pet has a great Halloween, too."

Ontario SPCA and Humane Society:

Protecting animals since 1873, Ontario SPCA is Ontario's Animal Welfare organization. A registered charity comprised of over 50 Communities.

Since 1919, when Ontario's first Animal Welfare legislation was proclaimed, the Ontario SPCA, with the help of its Communities, has been entrusted to maintain and enforce Animal Welfare legislation. The Act provides Ontario SPCA Agents and Inspectors with police powers to do so.

Ontario SPCA provides leadership in animal welfare innovations including introducing high-volume spay/neuter services to Ontario and opening the Provincial Education and Animal Centre.

Adopt • Learn • Volunteer • Donate
Charitable Business Number 88969 1044 RR0002
Want to survive the zombie apocalypse? Tag along with a veterinarian, AVMA says
With Halloween less than a week away and The Walking Dead back on the air for its seventh season, zombies are back on people's (delicious) brains.

Fans of AMC's hit show may wonder how they would fare if they found themselves in their own real-life zombie apocalypse. For those doubting their survival prospects, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) would like to suggest befriending a veterinarian in such a scenario. Why? Here are the top five reasons you'll want a veterinarian as part of your zombie apocalypse team:

They have a better chance at surviving: In the event of a zombie apocalypse, survivors are at a premium, and losing members of your group will make you much more vulnerable. The biggest risk is getting bitten by a zombie. Well, who's better at avoiding bites than a veterinarian?

They can provide medical care: Pre-apocalypse, see your physician. Post-apocalypse, if a physician isn't available, you couldn't do much better than having a veterinarian treat your (non-zombie-bite) wounds and illnesses. Veterinarians spend at least four years post-grad training to care for multiple species, so while the general anatomy might be slightly different, they're probably not going to be overwhelmed by the prospect of working on human patients.
They can take care of the animals: With electrical grids down and gasoline no longer in production, you're going to be relying on animals much more: Dogs for protection, horses for transportation, livestock for food and labor. A veterinarian will make sure these highly valuable animals are well treated, healthy and performing at a high level.

They can make sure your food is safe: Without grocery stores, restaurants or refrigerators—not to mention state and federal oversight—obtaining, storing and preparing food will provide a whole new set of challenges for most people. Veterinarians have experience in ensuring food safety and testing; many work nationally to ensure food safety at processing plants and distribution centers, and across the globe making sure food for our troops is safe to eat. Unsure if the remaining meat from a deer carcass ravaged by zombies is safe to eat? Consult the veterinarian!

They can find a cure: Veterinarians are experts at studying the causes and distribution of diseases, or epidemiology. They've been invaluable in determining the source and distribution of diseases that pose a risk to humans, such as rabies, SARS and West Nile virus. Veterinarians might be able to determine what causes people to turn into zombies and develop a cure. Why aren't animals infected? Perhaps there's an epidemiological clue there!

Veterinarians bring an enormous array of talents to the table: They're trained to treat all animals, from mice to elephants, from aardvarks to zebras and everything in between. They have expertise in animal welfare, food safety, environmental protection and public health. They work all over the world, in all types of fields, helping to ensure the health of animals and people. And, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, they might just be the most valuable survivors of all.

Talk to your veterinarian today about his or her zombie apocalypse plans!

For more information on what veterinarians can do for you and your animals BEFORE the zombie apocalypse, visit the AVMA's website at

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 88,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine. For more information, visit
Graphic undercover video shows turkeys tortured to death at Lilydale slaughterhouse
​Lilydale, one of the largest poultry companies in Canada, is in hot water over new hidden-camera video footage showing turkeys violently shackled upside down, painfully shocked with electrified water, cut open while still conscious, and scalded alive at the slaughterhouse. Now, Mercy For Animals is demanding Lilydale's parent company, Sofina Foods, take immediate action by adopting meaningful animal welfare policies to address the extreme animal abuse documented.

The undercover video was taken at the Lilydale slaughterhouse in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Sofina Foods is based in Markham, Ontario. Lilydale is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sofina Foods.

The graphic footage shows the following:

Turkeys scalded alive in hot water tanks and birds having their throats cut open and heads ripped off

Workers yanking turkeys out of crates and violently shackling them upside down on the slaughter line

Severely sick and injured birds sent through the slaughter line for human consumption

Frightened birds painfully shocked in an electrified vat of water but still conscious and able to feel pain

Mercy For Animals is calling on Sofina Foods to follow the lead of Maple Leaf Foods, the largest meat producer in Canada, in pledging to implement a series of meaningful animal welfare policies to end the worst forms of animal abuse in its supply chain. Specifically, Mercy For Animals is urging the company to replace its cruel live-shackle slaughter system with less cruel controlled-atmosphere-stunning systems that eliminate the horrific suffering caused by shackling, shocking, cutting open, and scalding conscious animals.

"Lilydale is literally torturing turkeys to death," said Krista Hiddema, vice president with Mercy For Animals in Canada. "Before they land on Canadian dinner plates, Lilydale turkeys are painfully shackled, shocked, sliced open, and even immersed in vats of scalding water—all while still alive and able to feel pain. This is sickening animal abuse no company with morals should support."

PetSmart® and Toronto Maple Leafs Make a Power Play with First-Ever Multi-Channel Collaboration to Celebrate Hockey, Pets and Adoption
PetSmart and the Toronto Maple Leafs have entered into a new, three-year collaboration that will bring hockey fans and their furry family members together like never before. This initiative is aligned with PetSmart's desire to create more meaningful moments for people and their pets and is also the first time a professional hockey team has collaborated with a pet retail brand in a multi-channel marketing campaign spanning exciting fan opportunities.

"PetSmart customers in Toronto and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) love their pets and the Toronto Maple Leafs. That's why this collaboration with the Leafs is such an exciting and important venture," said John DeFranco, President of PetSmart Canada. "Now pet parents can share their love of the game with their furry family members through official licensed pet apparel, a social media contest with chances to win Leafs tickets and more."

"As we begin our Centennial season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are excited to engage and entertain Leafs Nation in new ways," said Jeff Deline, Vice President, Global Partnerships, MLSE. "This partnership gives us the opportunity to have our fans and their entire family participate and interact with the team like never before."

Key elements of this un-matched professional hockey-pet collaboration include:

Toronto Maple Leafs Apparel Collection—Exclusively for Pets!
Starting this season, Leafs Nation can purchase official, NHL-licensed Leafs pet apparel at the Toronto Maple Leafs Store powered by Real Sports Apparel on the concourse level of Air Canada Centre (ACC) and select GTA PetSmart stores. The collection will feature jerseys and bandanas.

#PetSmartSuperFan Contest
Between October 24th, 2016 and January 6th, 2017, fans can take a photo illustrating why their pet is the ultimate Toronto Maple Leafs fan and submit it on or upload it to their Twitter or Instagram account using the hashtag #PetSmartSuperFan for a chance to win two tickets to a Toronto Maple Leafs home game. Photos will be judged on originality and creativity. Multiple winners will be selected and eligible to have their pet's photo featured on a PetSmart-branded rink board located at centre ice in the ACC, and may also be featured as the Toronto Maple Leafs' "Pet of the Month." See full contest details at

Meet a Leafs Alumni at PetSmart Stores
October 27th from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., fans are invited to meet Toronto Maple Leafs legends Rick Vaive and Shayne Corson at the grand opening of PetSmart's latest store, "PetSmart at The Beach," a service-focused small-footprint store located at 2050 Queen Street East, Toronto. Pets and pet parents can visit the store for complimentary pet treats and giveaways while rubbing elbows with two of Leafs Nation's favourites. Additional Leafs alumni appearances at PetSmart stores are expected, so keep a look out for more opportunities.

PetSmart Charities of Canada's™ National Adoption Weekend
As part of the collaboration, PetSmart and Toronto Maple Leafs will team up to promote pet adoption and encourage people to adopt, not shop, when looking for a new pet. At the home games on November 11th and February 18th, ACC's videoboard will feature a video showing the adorable faces of many of the pets who have recently been adopted through PetSmart Charities of Canada's National Adoption Weekends. These weekend events have helped more than 219,000 Canadian pets find forever homes to date.

Additional Philanthropic Efforts
During the November 22nd home game, Stanley, an adorable plush toy dog that is part of PetSmart's holiday philanthropic line of products, will be sold to fans at Air Canada Centre. Fans can purchase one to take home or purchase a second toy that will be donated to MLSE Foundation. 100 per cent of the proceeds will go to PetSmart Charities of Canada.
Canada's first-ever sector report on humane societies and SPCAs exposes under-funding

OTTAWA, Oct. 13, 2016 /CNW/ - For the first time ever, we have a clear picture of Canada's sector of humane societies and SPCAs, thanks to a new national report just released by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS).

"Our humane societies and SPCAs take on the lion's share of the work of caring for and protecting our most vulnerable animals – including sheltering, humane education, advocacy, public outreach and law enforcement," says Barbara Cartwright, CEO of CFHS. "Across the country, our sector investigated an estimated 103,000 cruelty complaints in 2014, and this report reveals some hard truths about the struggles we are facing – particularly when it comes to funding. Humane societies and SPCAs are the only organizations responsible for law enforcement that are so drastically underfunded."

In Canada, only a small handful of agencies and organizations are empowered to enforce the law. Chief among them are municipal police, provincial police and the RCMP. But there are also specialists in this country who, by virtue of their expertise, are mandated to enforce certain laws and regulations – like the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Canada's humane societies and SPCAs.

In seven of 13 provinces and territories (Alberta, BC, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, PEI and Quebec), humane societies and SPCAs have the responsibility of enforcing provincial and federal animal cruelty laws. Unlike police, humane societies and SPCAs are underfunded by the government to carry out their duties under the law. Despite this, they are still expected to stay on top of the avalanche of demand from the community while seeking donations from the public in order to do the work.

"In order to protect animals and our communities, we need an engaged government, a committed public and well-funded humane societies and SPCAs," says Cartwright. "All levels of government must step up their support to improve the picture for animals in Canada – the federal government in particular."

Copies of Humane Societies and SPCAs in Canada: A comprehensive look at the sector and high resolution graphics are available to the media upon request.


More than 40% of Canada's humane societies and SPCAs are empowered to enforce provincial and federal animal protection and cruelty legislation.
CFHS estimates that 103,000 investigations were carried out by Canada's humane societies and SPCAs in 2014.
Less than 50% of the costs of enforcing provincial or federal animal cruelty legislation are covered by government funding despite our mandate to enforce the law.
45% of the total sector revenue of $187.8 million comes directly from donations, of which 85% is contributed by individual donors. The result is that the responsibility of protecting animals in Canadian society is falling mainly to individual donors and the charities they support.
93% of Canada's humane societies and SPCAs operate animal shelters. In 2014, these organizations spent an estimated $118.4 million sheltering more than 278,000 animals.
67% of responding Humane Societies and SPCAs deliver humane education programs in their communities.
Canada's 125 humane societies and SPCAs employ close to 2,000 staff, supported by an estimated 26,000 volunteers.
Canada's sector of humane society and SPCAs consists of 125 charitable organizations located in every province and territory that are dedicated to animal sheltering, animal protection and enforcement, humane education and advocacy.

As the national voice for animal welfare, CFHS represents humane societies and SPCAs across Canada, driving positive, progressive change to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals.

Humane Societies and SPCAs in Canada: A comprehensive look at the sector was prepared by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS). This ground-breaking report provides the first comprehensive analysis of the Canadian sector as a whole. In this report, CFHS has identified key attributes of Canada's humane societies and SPCAs, based on the most recent data available. We analyze their contributions to Canadian society, the volunteer and financial support they receive and some of the challenges they face.

This report was funded by CFHS, a major donor and five of our member societies. We thank Animal Welfare Agency South Central Ontario (AWASCO), British Columbia SPCA, Montreal SPCA, Ottawa Humane Society and Toronto Humane Society in helping to make this report possible.
Reduced Adoption Fees Make Now the Purr-Fect Time to Welcome a Feline From the Ontario SPCA Into Your Family

STOUFFVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 7, 2016) - Ontario SPCA animal centres across the province will be taking part in an "iAdopt Urgent Appeal" adoption blitz until Oct. 16 to help find homes for the recent influx of cats and kittens in their care.

"We urgently need to find homes for the cats in our care," says Tonya Martin, Director, Animal Centres & Humane Programming, Ontario SPCA. "We are looking for the public's assistance to help us place cats into loving forever homes."

During this urgent appeal adoption blitz, ALL CATS will be available for adoption for $50 each. All cats are spayed or neutered, microchipped, come with a gift of six weeks of pet insurance and are up to date with their vaccines.

The iAdopt Urgent Appeal will run from Friday, Oct. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 16 at Ontario SPCA animal centres across the province with the goal of placing as many cats as possible into loving forever homes.

"If you are able to welcome a cat into your home, consider adopting during our urgent appeal," says Martin. "If you can't adopt right now, please tell your friends and family about the cats in our animal centres that are waiting for their forever families."

To view cats available for adoption, visit
Ontario SPCA and Humane Society:

Protecting animals since 1873, Ontario SPCA is Ontario's Animal Welfare organization. A registered charity comprised of over 50 Communities.

Since 1919, when Ontario's first Animal Welfare legislation was proclaimed, the Ontario SPCA, with the help of its Communities, has been entrusted to maintain and enforce Animal Welfare legislation. The Act provides Ontario SPCA Agents and Inspectors with police powers to do so.

Ontario SPCA provides leadership in animal welfare innovations including introducing high-volume spay/neuter services to Ontario and opening the Provincial Education and Animal Centre.
Adopt • Learn • Volunteer • Donate
Liberal government votes NO to animal protection
TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - Last night, in an aggressive move against one of its own, 117 Liberal MPs voted against Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act, authored by Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.

The bill would have banned the sale of dog and cat fur and shark fins and amended the animal cruelty section of the Criminal Code which had not been changed substantively since 1892. The bill closed loopholes related to animal fighting, created a gross negligence offence for animal cruelty, a new offence for killing an animal "brutally or viciously" and a new section called "Offences Against Animals".

The government did not listen to the thousands of Canadians who wanted the government to show compassion and pass the bill. Instead, Liberal MPs talked about the negative impacts on animal use industries, deaf to the fact that previous analyses of identical Criminal Code amendments by the Justice Department showed that such practices would not be affected.

"The Liberals claim that animal cruelty is a significant social issue" said Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada. "But talk is cheap. Actions matter and on Bill C-246 the Liberals failed."
Canadian Kennel Club Calls for Removal of Breed Specific Content from Montreal Animal Control Bylaw
Pit Bull Not Considered a Definable Breed

TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - As the primary registry for purebred dogs in Canada, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) maintains records for 175 breeds and "Pit Bull" is not one of them. That's because it doesn't exist. CKC maintains that a "Pit Bull" is not a definable breed of dog and asks the City of Montreal to remove all breed-specific language from its animal control bylaw in favour of well-crafted dangerous dog legislation that targets irresponsible dog owners and any dog that displays dangerous behavior.

"How can you ban something that you can't define?" said Mike Macbeth, renowned international dog show judge. "It is impossible to accurately define a Pit Bull, which is a phenotype or shape, not a breed." Macbeth has expertise with CKC's 175 registered breeds and can also judge more than 330 purebred dog breeds world-wide at national shows.

Unlike purebred dogs, dogs generically termed "Pit Bulls" refer to randomly mixed breed dogs that do not have a predictable genetic background or consistent distinguishing characteristics.
The current Montreal animal control bylaw identifies three purebred dogs: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier. These three breeds are purebred dogs, bred by knowledgeable breeders who are supported and controlled by registries that support ethical breeding practices and:

promote spay/neuter contracts
educate puppy purchasers in puppy development, socialization and dog obedience training
must uniquely identify every puppy they produce.
The only reliable way to identify a purebred dog is through a dog registry like the Canadian Kennel Club. Every purebred dog in Canada registered with the Canadian Kennel Club must be uniquely identified by tattoo or microchip.

Importantly, the CKC Breed Standards should not be used to identify dogs as "pit bulls" for the purpose of enforcing a breed-specific dog law. These standards—a set of guidelines that include size, colour, temperament and activity level—are strictly intended for use by dog show judges for competition, CKC breeders looking to breed to an ideal standard and puppy buyers looking to anticipate predictable breed qualities such as size and temperament. Any attempts to enforce a breed-specific law using these standards would be misguided, misleading and unconstitutional.

"The City still has an opportunity to make this right," said CKC Quebec Board Director, Linda St-Hilaire. "Our meetings with the Province have been encouraging and we hope Montreal will listen before it's too late."

CKC ultimately opposes fear-based breed-specific legislation in favour of appropriate dangerous dog legislation that is reasonable, enforceable and non-discriminatory, in support of responsible dog ownership. We believe that public awareness and education, stronger enforcement of existing bylaws and stiffer penalties for irresponsible owners is more effective at protecting the citizens of Montreal.

For more information, please visit​
PEDIGREE® Brand Releases The Newest Story In Its Feed The Good™ Campaign In Honor Of Blindness Awareness Month
FRANKLIN, Tenn., Oct. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of Blindness Awareness Month, PEDIGREE® Brand has released a new video, "Dark to Light," which tells the story of Liz Oleksa, a single mother whose eyesight suddenly deteriorated one day, leaving her blind. The video highlights how her guide dog, Brice, changed her life, helping her regain independence, confidence and pride.

This moving story is the latest installment in the PEDIGREE® global FEED THE GOOD™ campaign created by BBDO, which is based on the simple insight that dogs and people benefit each other. Since the campaign launched in 2015, PEDIGREE® has created impactful content sharing the stories of dogs and humans helping each other and sparking conversation about the positive effect dogs have on people. The FEED THE GOOD™ videos provide an emotional look inside touching stories from real life individuals who have found their way with the help of their dogs, like a wounded veteran, Dan Lasko and his service dog, Wally.

"The FEED THE GOOD™ campaign brings to life the PEDIGREE® brand's commitment to making the world a better place for dogs," said Melodie Bolin, PEDIGREE® Brand Manager at Mars Petcare. "Through visual storytelling, we have been able to share the heartwarming tales of remarkable dogs and individuals, and the positive impact they've had on each other."

"Dark to Light" provides an experience for viewers that pushes them to rely on auditory cues to follow the story, mirroring Oleksa's personal journey from darkness to light. The video was also created in a second format that uses descriptive video services (DVS) to voice over the visuals displayed on the screen, ensuring the visually impaired can experience the film as well.

For more information on the FEED THE GOOD™ campaign, visit and check out the FEED THE GOOD™ videos at YouTube/PedigreeBrand. Find us on and Twitter (@PedigreeUS).
Billions of the world's chickens are suffering in secret
 Global charity calls upon KFC to improve chicken welfare

TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2016 /CNW/ - Few people know that the mass production of meat chickens is one of the biggest causes of animal suffering in the world say World Animal Protection today (4 October) as they launch a new campaign urging one of the largest suppliers of chicken, KFC, to improve living conditions for the chickens served up in their restaurants.

Consumers are being kept in the dark, say the charity, as they release a new global poll revealing just how little we know about the chicken on our plate.

The poll - of 12,000 people worldwide - shows that although people are concerned about what they eat, very few know where that meat has come from.

What the poll tells us about Canada's consumer views:

Four out of five (83%) did not know that a chicken will only live on average 42 days

Of those who eat chicken, 82% said they would not buy chicken from a fast-food chain if they knew it had suffered serious health problems as a result of living in a cramped industrial farm
Four out of five (79%) never ask where their chicken comes from at fast-food outlets.
Josey Kitson, Executive Director at World Animal Protection Canada said: "The industrial farming of chickens for meat is one of the biggest animal protection problems we face today. Not only is the number of chickens involved absolutely huge, the suffering they endure is enormous."

On average, 60 billion meat chickens are raised for global consumption each year. Nearly 2,000 chickens are slaughtered every second on average. An estimated two thirds of these animals (40 billion) live in bleak, overcrowded sheds or cages with little or no natural light or fresh air, unable to perform many natural behaviours, such as scratching, pecking and dustbathing.

Many chickens will suffer painful lameness, and overworked hearts and lungs from the speed at which they are grown, and wounds like skin sores and burns from spending too long in their own waste. The chickens' lives are miserable but they are also shockingly short – many are slaughtered while still babies, at as young as five weeks old.

World Animal Protection is now challenging one of the largest fast-food retailers of chicken, KFC, to improve the welfare standards of the chickens they serve up in their restaurants. The charity is calling for slower-growing birds with more space, enrichment and natural light to allow for a better quality of life.

KFC's animal welfare policy, developed by their parent company Yum! Brands, states their goal "is to work only with suppliers that demonstrate and maintain compliance with animal welfare practices." However, they are currently ranked in the second lowest position by the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), the global measure of company performance on animal welfare.

Kitson continues: "These animals are suffering in secret, behind closed doors and away from public view. KFC can make a huge global impact in the market with more than 18,000 outlets in 115 countries, we'd like to see them use their influence to show they care about the welfare of chickens."

The public is being urged to sign-up to make Change for Chicken
Protect Your Pets Against a Spooky Halloween
GUELPH, ON, Oct. 3, 2016 /CNW/ - As far as your pets are concerned, Halloween is just another day. They won't understand the reason for extra visitors coming to the door; nor the concept of costumes and masks.

Like most holidays, Halloween comes with its own set of concerns for our cats and dogs. Let's break those concerns down into three main categories: candy, costumes and trick-or-treaters at the door.


The last thing you want is to spend October 31st in the emergency room at your local veterinary hospital because your dog got into your candy bowl.

Chocolate is the biggest culprit. Chocolate poisoning in cats or dogs can be dangerous, even deadly. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in some candies, can also be poisonous to dogs.

While you may know that chocolate (and xylitol) are no-nos for pets, others may not. When your kids come home with their loot for the night, remind them that candy is for people only!


It may look cute when dogs and cats are dressed up as superheroes or other animals, but if you plan on dressing up your pet for Halloween it's important to ensure the costume was actually intended to be worn by animals. The costume shouldn't be too restrictive; your pet should still be able to move and breathe.

Festive bandanas can be a safe choice for dogs that just aren't comfortable wearing a costume.


Let's face it: dogs get excited (and sometimes territorial) when strangers show up ringing the doorbell. Consider keeping your front door open or sitting outside on your porch so that your doorbell isn't ringing over and over again.

You may want to keep your pet in their crate in a closed room during trick-or-treating hours to avoid them sneaking out the door during all the commotion. You should also make sure your pet has their collar on that night with correct identification tags, just in case it runs out the door.

The most important thing is to know what you are going to do with your pets on Halloween night before the big day arrives. Talk to your veterinary healthcare team ahead of time for more information on how to keep your pets safe during all of the Halloween festivities.
Move over mosquitoes: Tick prevention grabs attention in fall and winter
Deterring deer

You can discourage deer from entering your environment in a number of ways, from long-term measures like planting vegetation deer don't like, to sure-fire but challenging tactics like building a tall fence. However, these tactics have their limitations. With cold weather approaching, you don't have time to install new plantings and deer will eat just about anything available in cold weather. Plus, many communities restrict the height of fences and deer have been known to easily jump over fences as high as 10 feet.

One of the easiest, most effective and practical ways to deter deer is through the use of a topical foliar spray like Bobbex Deer Repellent.

The spray can be applied year-round; it uses taste and scent-aversion ingredients to deter deer from grazing on foliage, shrubs and trees. During spring and summer months, gardeners rely on Bobbex to protect their gardens from deer damage. It's also effective in winter to not only protect plants, but also people and pets — by keeping tick-carrying deer away from homes.

It's safe for use around children and pets because the product is all natural. It works in fall and winter as well as during warm weather, and won't wash off under rain or snow. In testing by the Connecticut Department of Forestry and Horticulture, Bobbex was found to be 93 percent effective in deterring deer when compared to like repellents, and second only to a physical fence. Learn more at

Human and companion animal health experts agree: keeping deer away from your home is essential for reducing exposure to disease-bearing ticks. 
MONROE, Conn., Oct. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Zika-carrying mosquitoes had their moment this year as the nation's top headline-grabbing pests, but the arrival of cooler weather means the resurgence of another disease-carrying insect. Ticks transmit a number of diseases, including Lyme disease, that affect people and pets. And while cold weather may kill off mosquitoes, ticks remain a year-round threat.

The ticks which spread Lyme disease — adult black-legged or deer ticks — are most active during fall and winter, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), which predicts 2016 will be a banner year for ticks. Annually, about 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme Disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate.

Multiple diseases, multiple risks

The CDC lists 15 different diseases transmitted by ticks, including Lyme, anaplasmosis, two types of rickettsiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF). These diseases can vary greatly in severity and duration; some can be debilitating and even fatal.

Ticks thrive virtually everywhere in the country, with different species preferring different locales. While ticks are commonly found in heavily wooded areas, they also thrive in domestic settings such as gardens, landscape plantings and backyard grasses. In fact, experts estimate that the majority of people who contract tick-borne diseases came in contact with the tick that made them ill right in their own backyards.

Tick prevention starts with deer

Ticks hang out on shrubs, trees and in grass waiting for a host to pass by. Hitching a ride on suburban deer and other animals, including pets, is one of their main means of transportation. Cooler weather means deer are more likely to come closer to homes looking for mates, or to dine on suburban landscapes as wild food sources dwindle.

Ticks may travel to your backyard riding on the deer that's dining on your landscaping, only to stay behind when the deer moves on. Once they're in your environment, it's just a waiting game for the tick to find a host; a person, dog or cat passing by.

While you may know the need to inspect humans for ticks after spending time outdoors, it can be harder to detect their presence when they're hidden in pet fur. Both dogs and cats can pick up ticks that they bring into your home, where the tick may transfer to a human or stick with the pet and make it sick.

The CDC recommends homeowners discourage deer away from residences in order to help minimize potential exposure to ticks.

"Tick populations do not decrease substantially unless deer are eradicated or severely reduced," the CDC says.
Female Giant Panda Born at Japan's Adventure World on Sept. 18, 2016, after Interval of 2 Years; 8th Child for Mother, 14th for Father
WAKAYAMA, Japan, Sept. 26, 2016 /CNW/ -- After having shown signs of pregnancy for some time, Rauhin, a 16-year-old female giant panda at Adventure World in Shirahama Town, Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, gave birth to a long-waited baby, a female, at 1:11 a.m. on September 18, 2016. The baby weighed 197 grams at birth. Both mother and child are fine. Rauhin is seen cradling her baby with great care, licking her constantly.

-- A giant panda, a female, was born after a 2-year interval.
-- The 197g newborn outweighs all other giant pandas ever born at Adventure World.
-- Father panda, Eimei, age 24, became the oldest male panda having succeeded in natural mating and
breeding in captivity.

Baby information
Date of birth: 1:11 a.m., Sept. 18, 2016
Sex: Female
Weight: 197g

Adventure World's giant panda research and results

- Breeding research
Adventure World has begun research on the breeding of giant pandas on breeding loan from China for the first time in the world. Currently, there are about 1,800 giant pandas living in the wild, and research on the breeding of giant pandas in captivity is considered important for their protection and population growth. In 1994, Adventure World became the Japan branch of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, starting joint research on the natural breeding of giant pandas on breeding loan. In 2000, as female giant panda Mei Mei came over to Japan, and "Project Happiness" aimed at ensuring happiness of giant pandas and all people involved was launched.

- Breeding results
Adventure World has succeeded in breeding 15 giant pandas. On September 6, 2000, Rauhin was born as the first giant panda born at Adventure World. Since then, a total of 15 giant pandas, including Rauhin, have been successfully born, forming a large family of giant pandas here. Also, of eight giant pandas which grew up here and later went home to China, four succeeded in breeding, giving birth to 10 giant pandas as of September 2016.

Happy Panda Family
Panda family tree:

Currently, eight giant pandas live at Adventure World. Please continue to keep a warm eye on the big panda family.

Place: Shirahama Town, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan
Area: 800,000 sq. m
Opened: April 22, 1978
Operator: AWS Co., Ltd.

About Adventure World
A total of 1,400 animals, of 140 land, marine and aerial species, live at Adventure World, a theme park with "Contact with human, animals and nature" as its motto, located in Shirahama Town, Wakayama Prefecture, at the southern tip of the warm Kii Peninsula. It has been successfully engaged in protective research activities on and the breeding of rare animals, including giant pandas. With its corporate philosophy "Smiling company making time with warm heart," AWS Co., the company that operates the theme park, will continue to create and provide genuine smile by caring much for "heart" and sharing important "time" with all people concerned.
Get Picky About Pet Food
Good Nutrition Puts Pets On Track for Better Health
Understand the Ingredients

Quality pet food isn't necessarily the most expensive option. The right choice for your pet is the food that delivers the right combination of ingredients and nutrition for your pet's special needs. The experts at Diamond CARE suggest looking for these preferred ingredients when you have a pet with unique dietary needs.

Limited ingredient products contain a narrow selection of high-quality ingredients and provide an alternative feeding option that still delivers complete nutrition.

Easily digestible protein refers to carefully selected, easily digestible, high-quality protein sources, such as egg protein, potato protein, lamb meal, chicken meal or salmon. In foods made for sensitive skin, you may see "hydrolyzed protein," which refers to a protein source broken down into tiny pieces that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Grain-free formulas contain ingredients such as potatoes and peas to provide high-quality carbohydrates as an alternative to grains.
Antioxidant formulas contain guaranteed levels of zinc, selenium and vitamin E to help support a healthy immune system.

Fatty acid blends combine omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids from sources such as sunflower oil, chicken fat, eggs or flaxseed, which help support a pet's healthy skin and coat. Omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources are often added to dog food formulas.

Probiotic strains are beneficial bacteria that help support digestion and a healthy immune system. Look for probiotics developed specifically for dogs and cats that are processed under strict human-grade standards to ensure purity.

Fiber blends in weight management formulas help dogs and cats feel full, while blends of soluble and insoluble fibers in other formulas help support optimal digestion.

L-Carnitine is often added to weight management formulas because it helps the body metabolize fat.
Glucosamine and chondroitin, which promote joint health, may be added to senior formulas or weight management formulas to help support joints that may be working a little harder due to excess weight.

Superfoods aren't just for humans. Ingredients like kale, chia seed, pumpkin, blueberries and quinoa are particularly high in nutritional value and help provide more complete nutrition for your pet.
MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - Sep 22, 2016) - (Family Features) When a beloved family pet experiences health problems, it can take a toll on the whole family. In some cases, it can take weeks or even months to identify the problem, and more importantly, where the solution lies. In some cases, the answer is as simple as changing what your pet eats.

If you've always thought all pet foods were equal, think again. Veterinarian-developed formulas, such as those offered by Diamond CARE, are created for pets with unique dietary needs but also provide affordable complete nutrition, without sacrificing quality or taste, so you can feed your pets the special diet they need for as long as they need it.
Learn more about these common ailments that may be corrected with a new high-quality feeding regimen, and talk with your veterinarian about a treatment plan to get your pet back to better health.

Sensitive Skin

While a rash or other skin irritation can be an obvious sign that your pet has sensitive skin, other behaviors such as excessive scratching, biting and licking can also signal a problem. Identifying the cause is essential to bringing your pet comfort. Skin irritation among pets is generally caused by something in their environment, such as an allergy, a parasitic infection or in more extreme cases, a neurogenic or infectious condition. Skin problems can also arise from poor nutrition.

If your dog has skin sensitivities that might be related to diet or allergic skin disease, try a diet with hydrolyzed salmon as the single animal protein source. Ingredients such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to be beneficial to skin and coat health. Some sensitive skin formulas not only contain hydrolyzed salmon but are grain-free and made with peas to enhance the flavor and provide high-quality carbohydrates.

Weight Management

A few extra pounds on your dog or cat may not seem like a cause for concern, but too much weight can cause a long list of health problems. Just like humans, one of the best ways to counter a weight problem in pets is to adjust what they're eating. An option such as Diamond CARE Weight Management Formula for Adult Dogs or Adult Cats can help address your pet's weight issue without leaving it feeling hungry. Powdered cellulose, a source of insoluble fiber, helps your pet feel full, while L-Carnitine aids the body in metabolizing fat. To make sure your pet gets all the nutrients needed, this formula is rounded out with omega fatty acids, guaranteed antioxidants and probiotics developed specially for canine and feline digestive health.
Talking with your veterinarian can help identify other ways to help your pet lose weight and also help you rule out any underlying medical concerns that may be causing weight gain or preventing your pet from being as active as it should be.

Sensitive Stomach

Though it may seem like it at times, not all dogs have cast-iron stomachs. A limited-ingredient formula that combines potatoes and egg protein is a good, easy-to-digest option for sensitive dogs. Other beneficial ingredients may include psyllium seed husk, a source of beneficial fiber, which helps support proper digestion, and probiotic strains that are native to the canine gastrointestinal tract.

Learn more about healthy meal solutions for your pets at

Tillsonburg Woman Convicted of Animal Cruelty Banned from Owning Animals for Five Years

TILLSONBURG, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 22, 2016) - Beth Hoekema, 38, of Tillsonburg, ON has been found guilty of animal cruelty under the Ontario SPCA Act for causing distress to an animal and has been banned from owning animals for five years.

On January 25, 2016, investigators with the Ontario SPCA executed a search warrant at a residence in Tillsonburg to check on compliance of Ontario SPCA Act Orders issued during a previous visit. Investigators found two dogs - an Australian Shepherd mix and a Spaniel mix - confined to the same small cage in disrepair that the Orders stated were not acceptable to house the dogs. The dogs were forced to stand and lie in their own feces and urine, without proper bedding. There was also no food or water present and both dogs had extremely thin body conditions.
The dogs were seized by the Ontario SPCA to provide them with the proper care required, which included a strict feeding regiment to increase their low body weight. They were later surrendered to the Society and have since been adopted into new homes.
Hoekema pled guilty in Woodstock Provincial Offences Court on September 15, 2016 to causing distress to an animal and received five years prohibition from having custody or control of any animal and two years probation. The Ontario SPCA also has the right to perform inspections without notice to ensure she is complying with her prohibition.

"The welfare of animals is our top priority," says Jennifer Bluhm, Deputy Chief, Ontario SPCA. "We incorporate humane education to try to address situations like this wherever possible, but we do enforce the law when it's necessary to ensure the well-being of animals."

Ontario SPCA and Humane Society:

Protecting animals since 1873, Ontario SPCA is Ontario's Animal Welfare organization. A registered charity comprised of over 50 communities.

Since 1919, when Ontario's first Animal Welfare legislation was proclaimed, the Ontario SPCA, with the help of its Communities, has been entrusted to maintain and enforce Animal Welfare legislation. The Act provides Ontario SPCA Agents and Inspectors with police powers to do so.

Ontario SPCA provides leadership in animal welfare innovations including introducing high-volume spay/neuter services to Ontario and opening the Provincial Education and Animal Centre.
InSphero, US Congressional Leaders Discuss Technologies to Reduce Animal Research
SCHLIEREN, SWITZERLAND--(Marketwired - September 21, 2016) - InSphero AG, the leading supplier of easy-to-use solutions for production, culture, and assessment of organotypic 3D cell culture models, met with members of the United States House of Representatives last Thursday to discuss advances in in vitro research technology that can help reduce the use of animals in research. The High-Tech Health Research Expo, organized by Pennsylvania Representative Tom Marino (PA-10), gave InSphero and other life science companies the opportunity to present their technologies to Congressional leaders working to reduce the use of animal testing in the United States.

InSphero's flagship products, 3D InSight® Human Liver Microtissues and Human Islet Microtissues, are produced using cells obtained from human donor tissue, which is broken down and reassembled into 3D microtissues using InSphero 3D Select™ Technology. Microtissues are delivered to researchers in a 96-well plate, one microtissue per well, allowing the simultaneous testing of multiple drugs on a standardized, human-derived tissue. Compared to the same cells grown in 2D, 3D microtissues more accurately reflect the native biology of in vivo human tissue, and can be cultured for over four weeks, enabling long-term testing of drug exposure over weeks instead of hours.

Dr. Jan Lichtenberg, InSphero CEO and Co-founder, says the use of more in vivo-like, human-derived 3D model systems is already making a positive impact on drug development pipelines in the pharmaceutical industry. Lichtenberg says, "Our 3D models enable researchers to verify a drug's efficacy and predict potential toxicity and side-effects using more biologically relevant cell based assays. An additional benefit is less dependency on animal models, the use of which is not only ethically charged, but can also add significant cost, delay time to market, and often fail to accurately reflect how humans will respond to a drug."

Congressman Tom Marino, an advocate for reducing the use of animal testing for research purposes, says the event accomplished its objective of bringing together legislators and technology providers with a common aim. Marino states, "It was a pleasure to host and recognize InSphero as one of the companies who specialize in alternative, non-animal testing methods. The more stringent restrictions on animal testing imposed in Europe helped InSphero to emerge as a leader in the field of human-based tissue models. They have now established roots in the United States, and are a leading solution provider in the global cause toward developing better drugs while using fewer animals."

InSphero has worked actively with global organizations such as the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) and the European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EUSAAT) to advance the use of better in vitro models. Along with CAAT, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), and Promega Corporation, InSphero has co-organized the New Frontiers in 3D Cell Culture-based Screening Technologies Conference, which will be held October 13, 2016 in Baltimore, MD.

For more information about InSphero, visit

Asista Foundation to Provide Service Dogs of Canadian Veterans with Trupanion Medical Coverage

 Trupanion, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRUP), a leading provider of medical insurance for cats and dogs, announced today its partnership with the Asista Foundation, a nonprofit that trains and provides certified service dogs to individuals with autism, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and psychological needs.

The Quebec-based Asista Foundation is launching a pilot program with the Government of Canada Department, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to standardize the provision of service dogs to Canadian Veterans in need. The service dogs are provided to Veterans at no cost and under this new partnership, Asista will also be providing each dog with a lifelong Trupanion pet medical insurance policy.

The Asista Foundation stresses that peace of mind for their clients is a top priority and by providing a Trupanion policy, the financial burden that Veterans can face when it comes to providing veterinary care is removed, guaranteeing that hard-working service dogs receive the best health care available.

"Our Veterans give so much for our freedom and it's an honour to be able to give back by helping them through their journey towards mental freedom," said Asista's Founder and Director of Public Affairs, John Agionicolaitis.

With the Trupanion medical insurance policy, service dogs will be covered for health care costs such as diagnostic tests, surgeries, medications, and for the things most likely to impact pet health (congenital and hereditary conditions) among others.

In addition to providing health coverage, Asista's partnership with Trupanion will include a dedicated Contact Center team to assist those within the program and training sessions to better inform the Asista Foundation about pet health insurance in order for the team to educate their clients about the new benefit option. Trupanion will also track enrollments, claims data and conditions covered to provide Asista with a comprehensive report showing the value the program is providing Veterans.

Trupanion strongly believes in the impact of the human-pet bond making this partnership with Asista Foundation a natural fit.

"Service Dogs make a life-changing impact on Veterans who are in need of them, and our teams across the business are excited and ready to support them through our medical insurance program," said Trupanion CEO, Darryl Rawlings.

For more information about Trupanion, please visit or call at 855.210.8749.
Dr. Jane Goodall's East Coast Canada Tour
The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada (JGI Canada) is proud to announce that celebrated primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall will be delivering her lecture Gombe & Beyond in Charlottetown, PEI on October 2 and 3. She will give the same lecture in Moncton, NB on October 4.

On these three special evenings, Dr. Goodall will share tales of her unique experience researching the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania with ground-breaking results.

Dr. Goodall's Charlottetown lecture will be at the Delta Prince Edward (18 Queen St.) and at the Moncton Wesleyan Celebration Centre in Moncton (945 St. George Blvd). The lectures start at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $50-$150 with all proceeds supporting JGI Canada's conservation, humanitarian and youth engagement programs.

At age 26, Jane Goodall arrived in Tanzania armed with little more than notepad, a pair of binoculars and a dream to observe African wildlife. She observed chimpanzees expressing a range of emotions, developing close family bonds and forming social groups. In Gombe & Beyond, Dr. Goodall delves into her observations that changed our understanding of animal behaviour, inspiring more than 50 years of research that resulted in a re-consideration of what it means to be human.

Audiences will learn about our closest cousins in the animal kingdom – the genetic difference between humans and chimps is less than 2% -- the escalating threats to their habitat, and Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program through which young people are inspired to make a difference for people, animals and the environment. From personal stories of her love for animals to accounts of scientific breakthroughs, Dr. Goodall inspires audiences of all ages with a message of hope—that within each of us is the potential to make a positive difference for all living things.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

About the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada
The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada was founded in 1994 and is part of a network of Jane Goodall Institutes around the world. JGI supports habitat conservation and chimpanzee protection programs in Africa and runs Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots– a global program that inspires youth to take action to create positive change. 
Fees waived for older cats adopted in Toronto this weekend
The City of Toronto in partnership with Toronto Cat Rescue and PetSmart Charities is holding a pet adoption blitz during PetSmart Charities of Canada's National Adoption Weekend from September 16 to 18. Residents can go home with a cat more than eight years old without paying the usual $75 adoption fee.

The adoption fee for cats younger than eight is $75 and it ranges from $185 to $215 for dogs. Standard pet licensing fees apply to Toronto residents. 

Rabbits that are spayed/neutered and other small animals will be available for a $40 adoption fee.

Dozens of cats, dogs and rabbits are up for adoption at two PetSmart locations, 835 Eglinton Ave. E. and 2050 Eglinton Ave. E.

All cats, dogs and rabbits are sterilized (spayed/neutered), microchipped, vet-checked, de-wormed and vaccinated.

There is also a wide variety of animals available for adoption at each of Toronto's shelters, including cats, dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds.

Toronto Animal Services shelter locations: 
• West Region, 146 The East Mall (Highway 427 and Dundas Street West)
• North Region, 1300 Sheppard Ave. W. (Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue West)
• East Region, 821 Progress Ave. (Highway 401 and Markham Road)

The three shelters are open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. seven days a week.

More information is available at 
September's Back-to-School Season May Be a Smart Time to Adopt a New Pet
For many the back-to-school season marks a return to early bedtimes, neatly-packed lunches and regular daily routines. But for some children, heading back to school can be a stressful time as they face natural jitters and questions like: who will my new teacher be? Will my friends be in my class? What if my math homework is really hard this year?

During these times of insecurity and uncertainty, news reports and research studies confirm that pets alleviate stress with their instinctive way of sensing when humans need comfort. In fact, a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology i found that people who have pets had higher self-esteem and tended to be happier and less stressed than their non-pet parent counterparts. With additional benefits like teaching responsibility and promoting regular exercise in children, adopting a pet this back-to-school season is a very smart move.

This back-to-school season, PetSmart and PetSmart Charities™ of Canada, in partnership with local shelters, rescues and adoption agencies, will host a National Adoption Weekend September 16-18 in every PetSmart store across Canada. From coast-to-coast, the weekend is an A+ opportunity for families to meet hundreds of healthy, happy, adoptable pets available in their local communities.

"No matter which reason you choose to adopt a pet this weekend, you'll be helping to end pet homelessness in Canada by giving a loving pet the forever home they deserve," says David Haworth, DVM, PhD, and President of PetSmart Charities™ of Canada.

Take A Family Field Trip to National Adoption Weekend:

PetSmart Charities of Canada Adoption Centres or designated adoption areas in all PetSmart stores across Canada. To find your nearest PetSmart store visit or call 1-877-473-8762

Fri., Sept. 16 and Sat., Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Share your adoption pics and stories with the hashtag #iadopted and join the conversation by following @PetSmart and @PetSmartChariTs on Twitter and Instagram or find us on Facebook at

The Gift of Adoption Gives Back:
As a gift to those that give the gift of adoption, PetSmart offers a free Adoption Kit, which provides useful information on how to integrate a pet into the family home in addition to providing real value. The Adoption Kit includes more than $350 in savings for pet parents on pet care essentials including a free veterinarian visit, a training session with an accredited trainer, one Doggie Day Camp session, an overnight boarding stay, a bag of dog or cat food from Simply Nourish™, Authority® or Good Natured™, and half-off pricing on two grooming services. Also included are savings on the key items you'll need to welcome a furry friend into your home: from beds, crates and gates to treats, leashes, toys and even pet-friendly cleaning solutions.

Adoption All-Year Long: The Adopt Spot, Where People Save Pets (and Pets Save People)
Over and above National Adoption Weekends held four times a year, PetSmart is 'The Adopt Spot' and adoption spaces in our stores are open throughout the year to help pets find their forever homes. More than 60 pets are adopted every day that PetSmart stores are open in Canada, and over the September National Adoption Weekend thousands of pets will find their forever homes.

Since its founding in 1987, PetSmart recognized the pet homelessness problem and made the decision to never sell dogs or cats in their stores. In 1994 and 1999, PetSmart Charities and PetSmart Charities™ of Canada were respectively created as nonprofit organizations with a mission to end pet homelessness. Together, they are now leading philanthropic organizations granting more money to directly help pets in need than any group in North America – $285 million to date.


i McConnell A, et al Friends With Benefits: On the Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2011, Vol. 101, No. 6, 1239 –1252, p1241. Accessed August 30, 2016, available at:
SOURCE PetSmart Canada
"From encouraging an active lifestyle to teaching responsibility, offering unconditional love, and the more recent findings about the comforting and stress-relieving power of pets, there's no shortage of great reasons to adopt a new pet this fall," says John De Franco, President of PetSmart Canada and Chairman of the Board of PetSmart Charities™ of Canada. 
A Round of "Appaws" for Regina: The City has the Country's Most Pampered Pets
 Today, released the fourth annual list of the top cities in Canada with the most pampered pets. This list was compiled by comparing per capita sales data for pet items purchased from from August 2015to August 2016 in cities with more than 100,000 residents. Sales data was collected from products for dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles and small animals.

​Taking a closer look, the pet data reveals:

It Ain't So Ruff for Regina Pets: Regina held on to the No. 1 spot overall in Canada and was the top dog in almost all of the categories, purchasing the most items for dogs, cats, fish, and small animals. Some of the most popular purchases were for biscuits, grooming products, and toys.

"Beware of…" Windsor and Halifax: After falling to No. 4 in 2015 from its No. 1 ranking in 2014, the city of Windsor rose back into the top three overall this year. Windsor also came in second in the dogs category (up from No. 3 last year). The biggest city jump this year was from Halifax, which rose six spots to No. 12 from No. 18 last year.

Bon-A-Pet-Treat: "Sit, give me your paw, stay!" Whether using them to train their pets or to simply reward them on a good day, Canadians were treating their pets with a whole lot of delicious goodness, with Regina purchasing the most treats followed by Richmond and Saskatoon.

Cities of a Feather Flock Together: Quebec's Gatineau rose one spot this year to No. 6 overall, but also held on to its No. 1 spot in the bird category, with popular purchases including toys, feeders, and perch swings. Rounding out the top three in the birds category were the two neighbouring cities of Windsor and Kitchener.

Pets Just Wanna Have Fun: Residents in Regina, Richmond, and Saskatoon appear to be the most playful with their pets, purchasing the most toys for dogs, cats, birds, and small animals. Those three cities also know that cats and dogs want to look good, purchasing the most grooming items over the past year for their feline and canine friends.

Slimy, Slithering, and Scaly in Saskatoon: While Regina took the top spot in almost every category, it was Saskatoon that won out in the reptiles category, purchasing items including heat and lighting fixtures, hammocks, and thermometers.

The province of Ontario has the biggest bark with nine cities in the top 20, with re-entries from Ottawa and Toronto at No. 19 and No. 20 respectively.

Whether you're a cat, dog, bird, reptile and amphibian, or fish and aquatic animal owner, has a massive selection of pet items just for you – visit for more details.

About Amazon
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit

The top 20 most pampered pets cities in Canada are:
Regina, Saskatchewan
Edmonton, Alberta
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Windsor, Ontario
Laval, Quebec
Richmond, British Columbia
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Kitchener, Ontario
Mississauga, Ontario
Gatineau, Quebec
Surrey, British Columbia
London, Ontario
Brampton, Ontario
Vancouver, British Columbia
Hamilton, Ontario
Calgary, Alberta
Ottawa, Ontario
Markham, Ontario
Toronto, Ontario
Rabies Can't Affect MY Pet…. Can It?
   In early 2016, when the raccoon strain of rabies was resurfacing in the province of Ontario, members of the public were saying the same thing: I didn't even know rabies was still a 'thing'?

Government agencies across Canada have made significant progress in baiting and prevention, that public concern over rabies was virtually non-existent.

With over 150 confirmed cases of rabies in Ontario since December 2015, public concern over rabies has justifiably risen.

"Rabies is a virus that affects the central nervous system," says Kristina Cooper, Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT). "Once symptoms show, the virus is almost always fatal."

It is estimated that one person in the world dies from rabies roughly every nine minutes. (Predominantly in Asia and Africa.)

Cooper, the Provincial Manager of Ontario's Rabies Response Program (RRP), says that mammals, including animals and people, can contract rabies. This usually occurs when an infected animal bites or scratches a person or other animal.

"There are different strains of rabies," Cooper explains. "Currently, Ontario is seeing bat, fox and raccoon strains. These strains are not limited, though, in transmission to other species."

This means that an infected bat, fox or raccoon could infect your cat or dog. Regardless of whether or not your family pet leaves your own backyard, it is important to get your cat or dog vaccinated against rabies.

"Bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes often travel in backyards, unknown to home owners," says Cooper. "Wildlife encounters can happen quickly resulting in wildlife fights with pets, or pets coming across deceased or injured wildlife, all of which can result in the transmission of rabies."

Vaccinating against rabies is an easy way to help protect pets against the rabies virus, and in many Canadian cities, it is the law. Cooper explains that for most of Ontario, pet owners are legally required to vaccinate all dogs and cats 12 weeks of age and older against rabies.

"There are rabies vaccines that last one or three years," say Cooper. "The one year vaccine is due every year. The three year vaccine requires the first vaccine to be 'boostered' one year later, and then every three years after that."

Talk to your veterinary health care team to determine the vaccine schedule that would be best for your pet.
For more information about Bat Out of Hell, visit
10 Simple Steps to Keep Pets Safe This Labour Day Long Weekend
Labour Day is a time for fun with friends and family, but don't forget about the safety of your four-legged friends as you celebrate the final long weekend of summer.

"We want everyone, including pets, to have a safe and enjoyable long weekend," says Tanya Firmage, Chief of Humane Programs and Community Outreach, Ontario SPCA. "It's easy to get distracted with family gatherings, parties and outdoor activities, but you need to keep an eye on your animals. Make sure they're getting the care they require and that they're not doing something that will end in illness, injury or worse."
  The Ontario SPCA offers the following tips to keep your pets safe this long weekend:

No Hot Pets - Leave your pet at home if you can't take them with you when you leave your car while running errands etc. Parked cars can quickly reach deadly temperatures, even on relatively mild days with the car parked in the shade and the windows slightly open.

Stay hydrated and cool - Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water and a cool, sheltered place out of direct sunlight to avoid heat stroke. Limit your time outside to short periods and try to go for walks in the early mornings or evenings when the weather is a little cooler.

Supervise swimming pets - Never leave your dog unsupervised by any body of water and remember your pet should be outfitted with a lifejacket when swimming or boating. Even the strongest swimmers can tire or get caught in a current.

Minimize fireworks fear - Keep pets indoors at home in a safe place if they are fearful of fireworks. This will help reduce the noise level of the fireworks and reduce the risk of your pet running away if he/she is spooked.

Update your contact info - Verify your pet's ID is current. Should your pet run away, having an updated ID tag or microchip on your pet will help ensure local animal services can find you to reunite you with your lost pet.

Beware of wildlife - Reduce the risk of wildlife encounters by bringing pet food indoors at night, cleaning barbecue grills after use and keeping doors closed.

BBQ safety - Be aware of where your pet is while you're using the barbecue. Keep the lid closed when you're not at the grill to reduce the chance of injury to your pet.

Pet food, not people food - Not all people food is good for pets to eat. Do your research if you're going to feed your pet table scraps. Also, encourage guests not to share their food with your pets.

Avoid stranger stress - If your pet isn't comfortable with having strangers around, work out a system of introduction with your guests. You can also keep your pet in a separate room where they have toys and lots of water.

Eliminate escape opportunities - Guests can inadvertently leave open doors and gates. Be careful to make sure all exits are secured so your pets don't run away.

For more pet safety tips, visit

Ontario SPCA and Humane Society:

Protecting animals since 1873, Ontario SPCA is Ontario's Animal Welfare organization. A registered charity comprised of over 50 communities.

Since 1919, when Ontario's first Animal Welfare legislation was proclaimed, the Ontario SPCA, with the help of its Communities, has been entrusted to maintain and enforce Animal Welfare legislation. The Act provides Ontario SPCA Agents and Inspectors with police powers to do so.

Ontario SPCA provides leadership in animal welfare innovations including introducing high-volume spay/neuter services to Ontario and opening the Provincial Education and Animal Centre.
Adopt • Learn • Volunteer • Donate
Charitable Business Number 88969 1044 RR000

Canine Companions Matter when Buying a Car 

Autotrader is honoring National Dog Day—celebrated August 26—for the third consecutive year with "pawsome" insights on dogs and cars, as well as expert recommendations for Fido-friendly auto accessories and vehicles. Autotrader recently conducted a survey to understand the relationship between pooches and cars and found that 77 percent of dog owners say their dogs enjoy car rides. That's a good thing, as over half take their canine companions on car trips at least once a week.

"Car shoppers need to take every aspect of their lifestyle into account when searching for their perfect ride," said Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader. "If you enjoy driving around with your pet in tow, it's important to have the right car to keep you and your companion safe and comfortable."

With so many people bringing their dogs along for the ride, it is understandable that these furry friends factor into car shopping. Sixty-six percent of dog owners think about their dog's needs at least a little when shopping for a car. In fact, a quarter of dog owners have changed the body style of their car because they got a dog.

Dog owners say that either large SUVs or crossovers are best for traveling with their pup, and their other top vehicle body style picks all provide extra utility and ease of access. Easy-clean fabric, all-weather floor mats and pet-friendly seat belts or restraints are the most popular pet-friendly features dog owners say they want in their next car. For shoppers who want to make their current vehicles more dog-friendly, Autotrader recommends these eight accessories.

"Dogs have their own unique needs on the road, just like humans, so take those into account if you find yourself chauffeuring your pup often," Moody added. "Some dealerships allow dogs on test drives, so don't be afraid to ask if you can take your pet along to see how easy it is for your dog to get in and out of the vehicle and ride safely."

While 87 percent of dog owners have not taken their dog on a test drive, 45 percent of those would consider doing so. In fact, four out of five dog owners say they would be more likely to do business with a dealership if it offered pet-friendly amenities or features such as allowing dogs on test drives, offering the dog a toy or treat or supporting animal causes.

According to the experts at Autotrader, there are many great vehicle choices across multiple segments for you and your most loyal companion to get around town. If you're a dog lover hunting for your next ride, start your search with the editorial team's picks for Five Great Cars for Dog Lovers.  

Scottish Police Horses Trotting Off into the Horizon to Enjoy Their Retirement 

Monday marked the last day of duty for two very special Scottish Police horses, Kilsyth and Mull, when they left the mounted unit and trotted off into the horizon to enjoy their retirement, swapping tarmaced roads for the green pastures at The Horse Trust, in the heart of the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire.

The horses help to unite the best of national policing with the best of community policing to deliver the highest standards possible, keeping people safe assisting with policing the streets in Dundee, helping to deal with anti-social behaviour and policing various events including football matches and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. And they managed to help lots of officers to pass their riding courses to become mounted officers.

Kilsyth, a 163hh grey gelding, joined the police in 2001 as a 5-year-old and was well known for his huge character and often nicknamed 'Crazy K!'. Grooms that looked after him knew him for drinking straight from a hose on a hot day and also destroying traffic cones whenever possible!

Kilsyth was a huge favourite with all of his riders, latterly Sgt Steinlet was his main rider and could always rely on him to carry out his duties confidently.

Mull, a 17.1hh skewbald gelding joined in 2003 when he was 7. Mull proved himself to be worth his weight in gold and will be fondly remembered by PC Coulter who had a real bond with him. Mull will be remembered mostly for his droopy lips.

Kilsyth and Mull will be joining several other retired Police Horses at their new home including Caesar, who arrived on the same day after retiring from Thames Valley Police.

Kilsyth and Mull will now live out their twilight years in the care and beautiful setting of the Horse Trust as a well earned reward for their many years of service to the people of Scotland. Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive of The Horse Trust said, "We look after equine civil servants who have reached the end of their working lives. It's a bit like the Chelsea Pensioners. Kilsyth was often the lead horse on operations which means he was the bravest of all the police horses."

For 130 years our Home of Rest for Horses has specialised in providing retirement and respite for working horses and ponies. These hard-working equine public servants have served our nation in the Police, the Army or with charities which use horses to help people. We also provide sanctuary to horses, ponies and donkeys who have suffered from cruelty or neglect and who are in desperate need of specialist treatment and care.

It is at our Home of Rest for Horses that we demonstrate best practice and deliver professional training in horse care and welfare. We have invested in funding veterinary research that has led to major advances in horse care. This training and research helps develop the knowledge and skills needed to improve the care, welfare and quality of life of all horses.
Genetic Testing for Pets Quickly Catching up to Its Human Counterpart
Breed-specific disorders like exercised-induced collapse in Labrador Retrievers or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Main Coon cats are identifiable by genetic testing, which is typically just an easy cheek swab away. But what about the many pets with a blurred lineage? Can genetic testing help these "Heinz 57" animals of uncertain ancestry?

"Companies are using diagnostics to determine what breeds exist in a mixed-breed dog," said Dr. Bell. "Some companies take it one step further and also tests for genes controlling body conformation and known disease causing mutations." Other resources provide a list of testable disorders and treatments, most notably the WSAVA Canine and Feline Hereditary Disease Test Database hosted on the PennGen website at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Knowledge is power, and the knowledge of genetic predisposition also paves the path to proper diagnosis and treatment in veterinary clinics across the world. Recognizing the heritability of common illnesses like allergies and some gastrointestinal diseases help veterinarians know that their patients are dealing with a life-long issue and not simply experiencing an episodic event.

Many mutations are ancient and first occurred in dogs and cats prior to separation of breeds. They are not discerning and can affect every breed and mixed-breed patient. But, Dr. Bell cautions, just because a dog has a genetic marker, it doesn't mean that it will develop the clinical disease. To that point, degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a complexly inherited disease that causes hind-end paralysis in older dogs. Many breeds like the Wire Fox Terrier have a high frequency of a testable DM liability gene that is required for the development of clinical disease. However, no Wire Fox Terrier has ever been diagnosed with this condition, and the breed likely does not carry other genes necessary for the development of DM.

"We need to relate what we know about the genetics at hand and properly use that information," said Dr. Bell. "Even in predisposed breeds, the DM liability gene test by itself is poorly predictive of developing the disease. Why would you tell an owner that her dog may or may not develop that disease when it's 10-plus years old and negatively impact her relationship with that pet? This is a pitfall that we need to avoid in our client-patient relationships."

According to Dr. Bell, genetic testing is indispensable in veterinary medicine and encompasses much more than DNA tests. Any diagnostic test or observation that identifies genetic predisposition to disease gives veterinarians the opportunity to improve the lives of their patients. For instance, hip dysplasia is found in all dog breeds, and studies have found that it is 20% to 40% heritable. Veterinarians can gently palpate the hips of young dogs and determine whether or not they are lax and prescribe preventive measures accordingly. These can include maintaining lean body weight, avoidance of hip compaction activity prior to skeletal maturation and pre-emptive surgery in severe cases.

"In the 20 years since clinical genetic testing has been available in dogs and cats," said Dr. Bell, "over 150 mutations have been identified for genetic disorders, and we can now predict occurrences and intervene to prevent or lessen its effect in many of our patients."

To learn more about the AVMA Annual Convention, visit For more information on medial opportunities at the AVMA Convention, and to register as a press attendee, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA senior media relations specialist, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell) or Members of the media must register with the AVMA prior to the convention to validate their press credentials and ensure that their press badges and materials are ready for them when they arrive. Registration for the press is free.

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 88,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine.
In a timeframe perhaps not too far away, veterinarians will be able to tell a client how likely his dog is to develop heart disease, allergies or hip dysplasia. The rapidly developing world of genetic testing of companion animals will be highlighted at the American Veterinary Medical Association Convention to be held August 5-9 in San Antonio.

"Veterinarians are becoming savvier in understanding genetic predispositions," said Dr. Jerold Bell, a small animal practitioner and adjunct professor at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. "Many are already using genetic testing in diagnostics to provide counseling and treatment for their patients, but we need to stay up to date."

All schools of veterinary medicine include some form of genetics training, he says, but continuing education courses like those at the AVMA convention are vital to learning the magnitude of change in genetics testing. For instance, past genetic research required a large sample size, 50 affected animals and 50 'normal' animals, and would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today, one affected animal can be diagnosed, its DNA sequenced and a disease-causing mutation identified that can benefit entire breeds. "The price tag of gene searching and genetic testing has dropped exponentially," said Dr. Bell, "making it easier to breed healthier pets and minimize the chance of common disorders."

Most early progress in genetic testing in dogs and cats has been made in the field of ophthalmology. Although hip dysplasia and diabetes may occur more often and affect all breeds, most eye diseases are caused by single genes and have no cure or treatment. They have to be bred out of existence, and therein lies the reason why genetic research on companion animals has enjoyed a long-term relationship with the eye.

With documented breed-improving results, it is no wonder responsible breeders have jumped on the genetic testing bandwagon. They, too, can keep veterinarians informed about what disorders are occurring in their own animals. "In my view, the most important aspect of breeding is to produce healthy pets," said Dr. Bell. "As the pet-owning public becomes more aware of genetic testing, its accuracy and availability, there is a definite increase in seeking out health-conscious breeding and actively selecting dogs or cats free from predictable genetic disease."

Petco Introduces New Dr. Seuss™ Pet Fans Collection™ Assortment Inspired by the Book, "What Pet Should I Get?

Petco, in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., has released the latest assortment from the Dr. Seuss™ Pet Fans Collection™, an exclusive line of pet accessories and toys based on the beloved characters from Dr. Seuss. The new items – for both dogs and cats – are inspired by Dr. Seuss' children's book, "What Pet Should I Get?" and are available now only at and at Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores nationwide.

"We're pleased to bring more of Dr. Seuss' animated world to life with the introduction of these new pet accessories and toys," said Rebecca Frechette, Senior Vice President, Merchandising for Petco. "The joyful characters are the perfect playtime companions for furry friends and we are thrilled to have Dr. Seuss' latest masterpiece to draw inspiration from!"

"Dr. Seuss had a passion and gift for creating an imaginative world," said Susan Brandt, President, Licensing and Marketing, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. "We're excited to partner with Petco to continue to bring that world to life for human and pet fans alike!"

Designed with bright colors and based on artwork from the book, the collection includes an assortment of dog and cat products that are both durable and engaging. Ranging in price from $5 to $10, the fun new products include:

Dr. Seuss Tall Bird with Knotted Rope Legs Dog Toy

Dr. Seuss What Pet Should I Get? 3 Fishes Cat Teaser

Dr. Seuss What Pet Should I Get? Puppy Stick Dog Toy

Dr. Seuss What Pet Should I Get? Bunny and Turtle 2 Pack Cat Toy

In addition to the beloved characters from "What Pet Should I Get?," the Dr. Seuss Pet Fans Collection also includes products featuring timeless characters that have been adored by generations, including Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Mouse Toys for Cats and Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Flat Dog Toy.

For more information, please visit,, and

Rebounding Northern cod fishery will benefit from changes to management, WWF-Canada says
Janice Ryan, WWF-Canada's senior specialist for fisheries conservation, is available to comment on changes announced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to the management of the 2016 Northern cod Stewardship fishery, including an extended season, weekly landing limits and removal of geographic requirements on where harvesters can catch cod.

WWF-Canada has been working for over 10 years to rebuild the cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, and has partnered with FFAW-UNIFOR on a fishery improvement project (FIP) for the rebounding Northern cod 2J3KL fishery. WWF-Canada has already led a successful FIP on southern 3Ps cod, which became the country's first Atlantic cod stock to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification in March 2016.

Ryan made the following statement in response to the changes:

"The 2016 Northern cod Stewardship fishery management plan allows for a modest increase in catch which adheres to the scenarios provided in the latest scientific assessment. This increase should ensure a positive growth trajectory of the stock over the next three years.

"The approach taken remains precautionary while allowing opportunities to harvest more cod over a lengthened season. This will help to bring a sustainable, higher quality product to market, and will give certainty and stability to communities and the fishing industry.

"The revival of the cod fishery must be developed sustainably, and for it to be considered successful, it will have to benefit the communities of Newfoundland and Labrador. A gradual approach to rebuilding the fishery will ultimately bring the greatest long-term benefits for this iconic species and the people who depend on them."

According to the August 4 letter from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to stakeholders, changes to the 2016 fishery will include:

a competitive fishery with weekly landing limits;
an extended season;
removal of the requirement to fish within the harvester's home bay.
Further details regarding the management plan are expected to be announced by the DFO in the coming week.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more info visit

On Eve of Bird Treaty Anniversary, High Tech Rewrites Story of Bird Migration
 Innovations in technology reveal that many migratory birds fly farther and faster and take more varied routes than previously thought. These findings reshape the conventional understanding of bird flyways—the notion that most birds migrate along four predictable corridors. According to a new report, they also reinforce the fact that billions of birds start their migration in North America's boreal forest. And they show that migratory birds depend on much bigger swaths of healthy landscape than experts realized.

Scientists tracked a Blackpoll Warbler—tiny enough to fit into a teacup—flying nonstop from Canada's boreal region to the Caribbean. And they followed a Whimbrel moving from its breeding grounds in the Mackenzie River Delta on to Hudson Bay and Cape Breton Island before making a nonstop flight to Brazil, covering more ground in the boreal forest than previously documented.

"Birds go farther and faster and have broader migratory routes than we thought. This new evidence shifts our understanding of what migratory birds need. They need landscapes to remain wild on a much larger scale," said Dr. Jeff Wells of the Boreal Songbird Initiative. "That opportunity still exists in North America's boreal forest—the nesting ground for billions of migratory birds."

These discoveries, outlined in the report Charting a Healthy Future for North America's Birds, emerge as Canada and the United States celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Convention this August. The treaty helped numerous bird species rebound from near extinction, but now many species are in steep decline and face grave new threats, ranging from climate change to habitat loss.

In June, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto renewed their nations' commitment to protecting migratory bird habitat and called for developing a vision for the next 100 years of bird conservation.

The report, released by the Boreal Songbird Initiative, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ducks Unlimited, and Environment for the Americas, offers a 21st century approach to sustaining migratory birds. It calls for protecting at least half of the boreal forest and honouring the rights of Indigenous people—often the frontline stewards of bird ranges within the boreal forest—to conserve their traditional lands.

"It's been a hundred years since we signed the pioneering Migratory Bird Convention. It's time for another breakthrough. Setting bolder targets for land protection—like protecting at least 50 percent of the boreal forest and applying world-leading standards to any development in remaining areas—is our century's great conservation idea," said Les Bogdan of Ducks Unlimited Canada.

The findings in the report strengthen the scientific consensus around large-scale conservation:

Satellite tracking and geolocator technologies are providing detailed accounts of when and where birds move, revealing critical areas of migratory habitat for potential protection.
Radar and audio sorting technologies paint new pictures of nocturnal migration, including discovery of previously unknown rest stops that songbirds rely on during migration.
And citizen scientists uploading observations via mobile phones have helped chart the full migration cycle for 118 species, demonstrating many species' reliance on the Boreal Forest.
"These technologies confirm that protecting the boreal forest will deliver continental-scale benefits for billions of birds and the ecosystems they support across North America," said Dr. John Fitzpatrick of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The full report and additional media resources can be found at:
Hidden-camera investigation exposes extreme animal abuse at one of Canada's largest egg factory farms
 Disturbing undercover footage shot by Mercy For Animals exposing sickening animal abuse at a massive Gray Ridge egg factory farm in Ontario will be released during a news conference this morning. The video shows thousands of birds packed into filthy wire cages, hardly able to move without crawling over other birds. Severely sick and injured birds are left to suffer and slowly die without proper veterinary care, and the bodies of dead animals are seen rotting in cages with live birds still laying eggs for human consumption. Mercy For Animals is calling on the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), which receives millions of taxpayer dollars, to update the recently released code of practice for the care and housing of egg-laying hens to advise egg farmers to stop using cages. Despite NFACC's purported mandate to represent consumer, marketplace, and societal expectations relative to farm animal welfare, the current draft of the code ignores them all.

The video, shot at Gray Ridge Egg Farms in Moorefield, Ontario, reveals widespread animal abuse and suffering, including the following:

Thousands of hens crammed inside cages unable to freely walk, spread their wings, or rest comfortably
Birds trapped in cage wire or under feed troughs, trampled by their cage mates and unable to reach food and water
Dead hens, rotted beyond recognition, left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption
Birds with swollen eyes, bleeding prolapses, extreme feather loss, and other serious afflictions denied proper veterinary care

Caging hens is so cruel that nearly every major Canadian food company, including Tim Hortons, McDonald's, Loblaw, Metro, Sobeys, and Walmart, have pledged to switch to cage-free eggs. In addition, a recent poll shows overwhelming Canadian support for cage-free hen housing. A recent survey conducted by NRG Research Group found that 79 percent of Canadians believe NFACC should advise egg famers to use cage-free systems and 83 percent of Canadians said the government should enact laws mandating cage-free egg production.

NFACC will release the final version of the code of practice in December. Canadians have until August 29 to voice their opinions during the public comment period. According to the survey by NRG Research Group, the majority of Canadians agree that taxpayer funding for NFACC should be cut if the Council does not recommend cage-free housing for egg-laying hens.

"The use of cages is perhaps the cruelest form of institutionalized animal abuse and has no place in a civilized society," said Mercy For Animals' president, Nathan Runkle. "It's time for the National Farm Animal Care Council to advise egg farmers to stop confining hens in cages."


Ontario, Canada (July 20, 2016) – International animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals, today released its list of the Ten Worst Tanks for Dolphins and Whales in North America, with Ontario’s Marineland shamed as the worst in Canada, and second overall. The facility is listed as having the ‘starkest contrast’ between a ‘solitary orca and beluga whale hoarding’ while Canada’s Vancouver Aquarium appears in ninth place.

The Ten Worst Tanks list exposes and represents the misery and suffering of the oceans’ most intelligent and complex mammals in captivity. Whales and dolphins are subject to astonishing rates of premature death, captivity-related injuries, forced removal of babies from mothers, and solitary isolation. Many are confined to swimming endless circles in cramped tanks, deprived of healthy social groups, and forced to endure invasive reproduction techniques, polluted water, dangerous transport, and brutal exploitation of their sociable natures through "swim" and "petting" programs. 

The list was selected from over 60 facilities from southern Canada to Mexico where almost 1,000 whales and dolphins are held captive for public display.

“Forcing an orca to live in solitary confinement while hoarding so many beluga whales is Marineland’s tragic dichotomy, and a horrific example of cetacean captivity. It plumbs the depths in its exploitation of intelligent and sensitive animals,” said In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick. “Even with the most modern technology, veterinary care, and infrastructure, cetaceans still suffer intensely in captivity and exhibit surprisingly high mortality rates. Please help protect dolphins and whales in the wild where they belong, by pledging to never visit facilities that imprison them.”

Marineland’s Shame

Marineland holds Canada's last captive orca, 40 or so year-old Kiska, who was ripped away from her family and native Icelandic waters when she was a baby. Kiska has outlived at least seventeen other orcas with whom she has shared the tank over the years. She has also been used to breed for new exhibits, enduring the death of every last one of her five children at Marineland, none of whom lived longer than six years. One of them, Kanuck, was apparently separated from her prematurely and “stored” in a warehouse, where he died at age four. Since 2011, Kiska has been kept in solitary confinement, which has no doubt caused great suffering for this highly social and intelligent cetacean. 

The last orca Kiska knew was a male named Ikaika, who was “loaned” to Marineland by SeaWorld for breeding in 2006. SeaWorld became “concerned about Ikaika’s physical and psychological health” and stated that Marineland was “not meeting its obligations in veterinary care, husbandry, or training.” Citing these concerns, SeaWorld successfully sued Marineland in 2011 for Ikaika’s return, leaving Kiska alone once more. 

Kiska's physical and psychological condition appears to be poor. Observers point to her severely worn down teeth from self-injurious and compulsive gnawing, dorsal fin deterioration, signs of being underweight, and intermittent bleeding from her tail as indicators of greatly compromised health. Behaviorally, Kiska exhibits lethargy, self-isolation in a tiny medical pool adjacent to the main pool, and repetitive stereotyped behaviors; strong indications of severe psychological distress, depression, and despondency.

Kiska is not the only animal suffering at Marineland. CEO John Holer has also amassed approximately 46 beluga whales, five bottlenose dolphins, 28 black bears and approximately 500 fallow deer. An undercover investigation by Last Chance for Animals in 2015 reportedly exposed belugas suffering from a litany of physical ailments, including eye abnormalities, hypersalivation, regurgitation, and a condition in some of the females causing them to rub chronically against the tank until blood was visible in the water. Lacerations and deep teeth-rake marks indicating inescapable stress-related aggression from other belugas were also noted on many of the belugas. We are also concerned about signs of severe eye irritation perhaps caused by chemically-treated water.

Later in 2015, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) made a non-public finding that questioned some of Last Chance for Animals’ claims of abuses at Marineland. But Julie Woodyer of Zoocheck has filed a new complaint with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals documenting continued violations of the Captive Animal Care Standards at Marineland. We urge the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to act urgently to enforce minimum standards at Marineland.

Belugas have certainly not evolved for millions of years to be packed into a tank - and orcas are among the most social and family-oriented species on the planet.


1. SeaWorld, San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, California; Orlando, Florida 
2. Marineland, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
3. Puerto Aventuras Dolphin Discovery, Mayan Riviera, Quinta Roo, Mexico
4. Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia 
5. Miami Seaquarium, Miami, Florida 
6. Six Flags Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico 
7. Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Gulfport, Mississippi and Unnamed new facility planned by same owner also in Gulfport, Mississippi
8. Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada 
9. Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 
10. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois 

Dishonorable Mention: 
Dophinaris, Scottsdale, Arizona

Honorable Mention: 
National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland

### NOTES ###

The Ten Worst Tanks list was produced over the past year by multiple cetacean experts and scientists to represent the myriad horrors faced by cetaceans in captivity. Facilities were examined and investigated in-person; through review of government records, veterinary records, and death reports; and via image and data documentation.

In Defense of Animals also produces the respected Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants List, now in its twelfth year:

For more information please visit:
Pet Care Expert Offers Health & Safety Tips for Summer's Dog Days 
Those dog days of summer are here – and the heat and humidity can take a toll on the well being of both dogs and cats.

"Our pets suffer from summer skin irritations, sunburn, dehydration and heat exhaustion, just as we do," says Traci Simo of pet care provider Canine Company. "The difference is they can't protect themselves. They need our help to be safe and healthy during the summer months." She shares the following advice for preventing major summer health problems.

Skin irritation and parasites. "A pet's coat is his best protection from sun and parasites and also creates a layer of insulation to keep cool air near the skin," says Simo. "That's why coat care is so important in the summer."

Brush the pet's coat frequently to prevent matting, which can cause hot spots.
Shampoo often to remove dust and mold spores that can cause skin irritation.
Don't go overboard with summer haircuts. Unless a coat is badly matted, it's generally best not to shave it off. A professional groomer can offer advice on the best length for breed and lifestyle.
Use a flea and tick prevention product to keep parasites at bay.
Sunburn and paw problems. "Yes, dogs and cats do get sunburned, especially those with white or light coats and thin, short hair."

Apply a pet-safe sunscreen for days when pets will spend long hours outdoors.
Keep pets out of direct sun during midday hours.
Walk the dog on grass, not asphalt, which can become hot enough to burn her paws.
Heat exhaustion and dehydration. "Very young, very old and overweight pets are at greatest risk, but any pet can fall victim," says Simo. "If you notice signs like heavy panting, lethargy, lack of coordination or profuse salivation, wrap him in a cool, damp towel and get him to the vet." To prevent these issues:

Don't exercise a dog in midday heat. Keep potty walks between noon and 4 pm short; take longer walks in the cooler early morning or evening hours.
Be sure outdoor pets have a shady spot where they can get out of the sun and plenty of fresh water throughout the day.
On very hot days, keep pets indoors in a room with air conditioning or a fan. "Remember, when it comes to heat and humidity," she adds, "if you're uncomfortable, your pet is, too."
Canine Company ( provides at-home pet care products and services that help people keep their dogs and cats healthy, safe and happy. Offerings include Invisible Fence® brand pet containment systems, Manners dog obedience training, as well as mobile pet grooming and pet sitting services in select markets.

Why Your Cat Needs To Be Cat Healthy

    Of the 7 million cats and 6.4 million dogs living in Canadian households 1, only 50% of cats saw a veterinarian in the past 12 months compared to 78% of dogs 2. Why do we consider both to be family members, yet only one receives proper healthcare?

Cat Healthy, a Canadian non-profit, has a mission to help cats get improved preventive healthcare.

What is preventive healthcare?
It's simple, it means bringing your cat to see the vet on a routine basis, to keep your cat healthy rather than waiting to treat illness.

Why do cats need preventive healthcare?
Routine examinations help to diagnose early signs of diseases before they have a chance to seriously harm your cat.

Dr. Liz O'Brien, Board Certified Feline Specialist with Cat Healthy, says, "All too often, I don't see patients until their quality of life has been compromised by illness or pain. Preventive care focuses on keeping cats healthy. Unfortunately, owners who don't provide preventive care end up facing much larger veterinary costs that could have been avoided altogether."

When should I start?
Right now! Cats are masters of disguise, which is why it can be difficult to determine when they need to see the veterinarian. Setting up routine veterinary examinations will help to eliminate any guesswork.

Tips for going to the vet
For some, the idea of taking their cat to the vet is a nightmare. Luckily, the stress of going to the vet can be avoided.

A cat carrier is a safe and easy way to travel with your cat. Finding a carrier that you don't mind having around the house with the door open, and encouraging your cat to have catnip or food in the carrier can increase its willingness to accept the carrier as a safe place.

Placing the carrier in the foot well of the back seat and driving carefully can prevent injury and reduce a significant amount of stress for you and your cat.

Finally, placing a towel over the carrier provides an extra layer of privacy between your cat and other animals in the waiting room.

Regardless of what we think is right for our cat(s), preventive care is the only way to ensure we don't miss a moment of purrfection with our feline companions.

For more information, go to or visit us on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.

1. Veterinary demographics (2015). (2016). Retrieved from

2. Perrin, T. (2009). The Business of Urban Animals Survey: The facts and statistics on companion animals in Canada. Canadian Veterinary Journal, 50(1), 48–52.

500 geese slaughtered despite effective alternatives

Some 500 Canadian geese were killed in Parksville on Sunday as part of the City's goose management strategy.
Jordan Reichert of the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada was disgusted at the news.  "This is not a cull, it's a massacre. Across B.C. we continue to witness animals being killed in large numbers.  These mass killings are not the solution."

The geese were lured into tennis courts where they were reportedly killed humanely.  However, there was no reported public oversight to determine how the killing was done and whether the animals suffered.  
Reichert adds "We want a commitment from Parksville Council that this will not happen again.  There are effective, humane, cost effective non-lethal alternatives and we ask Council to implement those instead."

"We've worked on this issue for decades" says Liz White, leader of the Party.  "Our goose habitat modification manual identifies alternative measures to culling.  We will supply Council with the manual and urge Council to develop an alternative strategy.  No more geese need to die because they are seen as an inconvenience and therefore disposable."

Charity and Celebrity Supporters Celebrate Protecting Vulnerable Dogs

World Animal Protection reaches millionth rabies vaccination
Global charity World Animal Protection marked a major milestone, with one million rabies vaccinations given as part of its Better lives for dogs campaign. The global campaign was launched in 2011 to protect dogs, safeguard communities, and stop the spread of the disease.

"Due to fear and a lack of education, communities can see dogs as a health risk," said Josey Kitson, Executive Director at World Animal Protection Canada. "It is a tragic reality that thousands of people around the world continue to die from rabies each year, even though it's almost 100% preventable. Innocent dogs also suffer as a result."

There are 700 million dogs in the world today. Many of them are unwanted, unhealthy and unvaccinated. Fear of bites and rabies means that millions are killed every year.  
World Animal Protection has been leading the way to stop the killing. Working with local governments, the global charity has performed one million vaccinations for dogs in Kenya, Zanzibar, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Bangladesh.

"This campaign lets communities know that dogs are not the enemy," continued Kitson. "Through vaccination and education, we aren't just eliminating rabies, we're eliminating the fear of rabies. People understand that dogs can be a valued part of every community if we take responsibility and protect them."

High-profile Canadians agree. Ambassadors including TV personality Aliya-Jasmine Sovani, pro athlete Mike Bradwell, comedian Carla Collins, super-model Liisa Winkler, fashion designer David Dixon, news anchor Karman Wong, Sportscaster Gurdeep Ahluwalia, eco and pet expert Candice Batista, meteorologist Anthony Farnell—along with Storm the Weather dog and Instagram superstar Oliver the dog—have supported the campaign to help spread the word.
"I'm so honoured to be a part of World Animal Protection's Better lives for dogs campaign," said Carla Collins. "My dogs mean the world to me and if I can help stop the suffering of other dogs around the world, it is something I feel compelled to do."

"Reaching the milestone of one million vaccinations is an incredible achievement," said Liisa Winkler. "I'm supporting this campaign to help World Animal Protection reach a million more."

All dogs deserve to live without fear and suffering, and we can all help by supporting responsible dog ownership and vaccination. World Animal Protection's next goal is to improve the lives of 50 million dogs by 2020. Visit to find out more.

Pet Valu Pet Appreciation Month Raises $2 Million for Pet Charities

Canada's love of pets was in full force this Spring, helping Pet Valu raise a record-setting $2 million for animal welfare charities and rescues across the nation.
Animal lovers and the Pet Experts at Pet Valu stores across North America, teamed up throughout April during Pet Valu's annual Pet Appreciation Month.

Since events began in 2011, Pet Valu stores have raised more than $12 million in donations for North American animal rescue charities, raised over $1 million for US War Dog Association, collected over $305,000 for Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides and sponsored 28 Dog Guide teams from across Canada. During Pet Valu National Adoption Weekends the company has helped find Forever Homes for more than 17,000 pets. 
 Pet lovers were invited to show their Pet Appreciation in three ways:

Posting on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #PAW #PetValu

Purchasing a Pet Valu PAW in-store for $2, $5 or $10 – or making a product donation to local animal rescue charities

Participating in National Adoption Weekends where Pet Valu stores teamed up with local animal rescue organizations to stage in-store adoption events.
This year, Pet Valu set its most ambitious fundraising goal of $1.8 million. In addition to surpassing that goal, Pet Valu also made an immediate corporate donation of $100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross and SPCA to aid people and pets affected by the Fort McMurray fire. Store Pet Experts and customers pitched in and in just two short weeks, Pet Valu's total Fort McMurray donations now top $250,000.

"Pet Valu Pet Appreciation Month is our way of showing just how much we love and appreciate the special role pets play in our lives," explains Rose Ferrante, Director of Marketing, Pet Valu. "Our customers and store Pet Experts showed how much they care, by finding adopted homes for more than 2,600 pets in need. Together with our customers and franchisees, Pet Valu also raised an astounding $2 million in dollars and donations, our best fundraising result ever. We are proud of being able to raise over $12 million and find Forever Homes for more than 17,000 pets over the last five years," says Rose. 

Dog Bite Prevention: What Every Family Needs To Know

Over 500,000 dog bites occur every year in Canada. In fact, the Humane Society of Canada estimates that someone suffers a dog bite every 60 seconds in this country.

The importance of avoiding dog bites is twofold: not only can dog bites cause emotional and physical damage to the victim, but in most places in Canada, the dog owner is also responsible for injuries that his or her dog inflicts on another person or animal (i.e. Ontario's Dog Owners' Liability Act).

Preventing dog bites is all about education. Stacey Huneke is a Registered Veterinary Technician in Ontario, and she says supervision is imperative if parents want to protect their children from being bitten by a dog.

"Dogs and children must be supervised by alert adults," Huneke explains. "Any interaction, depending on the age of the child, should only be done together with an adult and only if the dog is comfortable."

Huneke adds that the whole family should learn how to read dog body language so they will know when a dog is uncomfortable or stressed.

"Adults should intervene if dogs are acting stressed," she says. "Dogs should always have a child-free area to go."

So how can we identify when a dog is stressed?

"Dogs often show body language asking you to leave them alone before they bite," explains Huneke. "If you hear them growling you've already missed dozens of cues that your dog is uncomfortable."

When a dog wants to be left alone, they may exhibit one or more of these cues:

Tail between legs
White of eyes showing
Yawning, licking or chewing
Ears are back and down
Mouth/lips closed tight
Curved back
Let's look at a couple of examples of dogs that are showing signs of being uncomfortable.
"Many dogs show several cues at once," Huneke says. "Not only does this dog have its tail between its legs, it is also showing the white of its eye, has a curved back, mouth is closed, ears are back and down…and just has an overall appearance of stress. This dog is nervous."
"This picture terrifies me," Huneke admits. "This dog is clearly saying I'm seriously thinking of biting you. White of the eye is showing, the dog is glaring at the child, lips are tight, the dog is leaning away and the ears are back and down. I can almost hear the growl right through the photo."

Another technique to keep children safe is the 'Be a Tree' method from Doggone Safe. It is commonly taught to children in schools. It teaches children (and usually teachers) what to do if a loose dog is coming toward them, or is acting too frisky and making them nervous.

"Do not run," insists Huneke, who has led dozens of 'Be a Tree' presentations at schools across Ontario. "The first step in the 'Be a Tree' method is to plant your roots (your feet). Then fold in your branches (your hands), so dogs don't have anything wiggling and interesting to grab. Then stand very still like a tree while staring at your roots and counting in your head or singing a song."

Huneke always reminds students that trees are boring: the dog will sniff you and leave.

If you would like to arrange a 'Be a Tree' presentation for your child's classroom, visit Doggone Safe's Find a Presenter page. If you would like to learn more about dog body language and behaviour in general, the best thing to do is contact your veterinary health care team and speak to a Veterinarian or Registered Veterinary Technician with experience in behaviour.
​The ‘Be a Tree’ method from Doggone Safe teaches children what to do when approached by a loose dog: plant your roots, fold in your branches, and then stand very still like a tree. Never run. (CNW Group/Canadian Animal Health Institute)

Eric McCormack and Cruelty Free International Call for the U.S. and Canada to End the Use of Stray Dogs in Experiments 

1) All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,107 adults for the US and 1,000 adults for Canada. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th-17th February 2016 for the US, and 12th-21st February 2016 for Canada. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US and Canadian adults (aged 18+).

2) Cruelty Free International is one of the world's longest standing and most respected animal protection organisations. It is widely regarded as an authority on animal testing issues and called upon by governments, media, corporations and official bodies for advice or expert opinion.
​Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) and a team of celebrities have joined Cruelty Free International in urging the U.S and Canadian governments to protect stray and shelter dogs being used in experiments and education, as part of a global campaign to end the use of dogs in research. The initiative, which has also received support from actors Seth Gilliam (The Walking Dead), Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba) and Danny Trejo (Breaking Bad), and Cruelty Free International Global Ambassador and international superstar violinist Vanessa-Mae, will bring the issue to the attention of governments and educational bodies globally.

Stray and shelter dogs are suffering in laboratories and educational facilities worldwide, including in the U.S and Canada, where they can still be used in experiments and for harmful teaching practices at veterinary schools.

According to new opinion polls carried out by YouGov1 on behalf of Cruelty Free International, the issue raises strong public concern. 68% of American adults and 73% of Canadian adults agree that dogs found or given to animal shelters should not be sold to laboratories for experiments.

Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International says: "Treating dogs as disposable research commodities or teaching tools with no regard for their lives is wrong. We urge the US and Canadian governments to protect all shelter dogs by implementing legislation to finally put an end to this practice."

Eric McCormack said: "Shelter dogs should be adopted into loving homes not used in cruel experiments. That's why I support the Cruelty Free International global dog campaign."

Newfoundland and Labrador hunters found guilty of Migratory Bird Convention Act, 1994 violations

Fined $3,500 each and ordered to forfeit hunting equipment
Two hunters recently learned a lesson the hard way: illegal hunting of migratory birds does not pay—in fact, it costs a lot. 

On May 25, Albert Joseph Stacey and Morris Deon Mews of Fortune, N.L., were each sentenced for three violations under theMigratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. The offences involved exceeding the 20‑bird per person daily bag limit for murres, possessing a migratory bird carcass and hunting migratory birds without a permit.
Quick facts
  • On February 24, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador wildlife enforcement officers conducted a wildlife patrol near Fortune, N.L. During a boat inspection, officers found Mr. Stacey and Mr. Mews in possession of 58 murres, 18 of which were in excess of their total 40‑bird daily bag limit. They also had 5 Atlantic puffins and a pigeon (guillemont), both of which are protected non‑game migratory birds.
  • Enforcement officers seized the following items: 2 firearms, ammunition, 64 migratory birds, and with the cooperation of the RCMP and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Stacey's 21‑foot osprey boat, its motor and all its contents, worth an estimated$25,000.
  • On April 27, 2016, Stacey and Mews both pleaded guilty to sections 7, 6(b) and 5(1) of the Migratory Birds Regulations under theMigratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.
  • The EDF was created in 1995 to provide a way to direct funds received as a result of fines, court orders and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit the environment.
Both men have been ordered to pay a penalty of $3,500 and to forfeit items used while carrying out the offences. They are also prohibited from hunting for two years.  

The total $7,000 in penalties will be allocated to the Government of Canada's Environmental Damages Fund (EDF).
Puppy Love: Ending Puppy Mills in Canada
 On May 26, 2016, more than 350 Torontonians will gather for the second annual Puppy Love fundraiser. The event will raise funds to support Friends of Humane Society International's efforts to rescue dogs from puppy mills and educate the public about responsible pet adoption.

"I saw firsthand the neglect and cruelty that dogs are subjected to in Canadian puppy mills and I decided to do something about it," said Nicole Marchand, organizer of the Puppy Love event. "My goal is to motivate my community to stand with animal protection groups and make puppy mills history."

"Puppy mills are mass breeding facilities that put profits before animal welfare," said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Friends of HSI. "In recent years, HSI has rescued more than 1500 dogs from severe neglect in puppy mills. Puppy Love will raise much needed funding to help us continue this vital work and give deserving dogs a desperately needed second chance."

"Canada needs modern animal protection laws that will help put puppy mills out of business. I recently introduced a Private Members Bills to bring Canadian standards into line with those of other developed nations," said MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith. "The simple fact is we need better laws to reflect Canadian values and stop this kind of cruelty."

The puppy mill industry has grown exponentially in Canada and is a multimillion-dollar business in this country. Puppy mills sell their dogs to unsuspecting consumers through pet stores, online and in newspapers. Because of the substandard conditions they are bred in, puppy mill dogs often suffer from genetic deficiencies and illness that cost their owners vast amounts of money and heartbreak.

Puppy Love is almost sold out. So far, it has raised $20,000 to help HSI end puppy mills in Canada.

What: Puppy Love, a fundraising event to stop puppy mills

Where: Early Mercy 540 King Street West, Toronto, ON, M5V 1M3

When: 6 - 10 PM
Pet-owners Dominate in Latin America, Russia and USA
Over half (56 percent) of people internationally have at least one pet living with them, with dogs proving most popular in Latin America, while Russian and French pet-owners prefer cats. This is according to an online survey of over 27,000 people across 22 countries, conducted by GfK.

Across all countries surveyed, pet ownership is highest in Latin America, with 80 percent of the online population in both Argentina and Mexico owning a pet, together with three quarters (75 percent) in Brazil. The next biggest pet countries are Russia, where just under three-quarters (73 percent) own a pet, and the USA, standing at 70 percent.

Asian countries appear to have the smallest percentage of their online population who own pets. In South Korea, just 31 percent report having any pet living with them, followed by Hong Kong at 35 percent and Japan at 37 percent.

Women beat men for pet dog or cat; men beat women for pet fish

Women are slightly ahead of men for the percentage who have a pet dog or cat living with them (34 percent of women versus 32 percent of men have a dog, and 25 percent of women versus 22 percent of men have a cat). However, men are more likely than women to have pet fish (14 percent versus 11 percent).

Mexicans prefer dogs, Russians prefer cats

A third of the online population across all 22 countries reports having a dog, compared to just under a quarter (23 percent) who have a cat. Only 12 percent overall keep pet fish and six percent have a pet bird.

Dogs are the most popular pet in Argentina, where two-thirds (66 percent) of the online population are dog-owners, compared to one third (32 percent) who have a cat. Mexico comes next, with just under two-thirds (64 percent) having a dog living with them, and Brazil, where the figure is 58 percent.

Cats, on the other hand, are most popular in Russia. Here, well over half (57 percent) have a cat living with them, compared to less than a third (29 percent) who keep a dog. The next biggest country for cat-owners is France, where four out of ten (41 percent) people keep a cat, followed by the USA, at 39 percent. However, in the USA, dog-owners still outnumber the cat-owners, as half (50 percent) of online Americans have a dog living with them.

Pet fish are most popular in China, pet birds in Turkey

Keeping fish as pets is most popular in China, compared to the other countries surveyed, standing at 17 percent of the online population. This is very closely followed by Turkey (16 percent) and Belgium (15 percent).

Bird-owners, on the other hand, are most prevalent in Turkey, where one in five (20 percent) keep a pet bird. The next closest countries are Spain and Brazil, at 11 percent each - giving Turkey a considerable lead in terms of the number of bird-lovers.

View the full findings for each of the 22 countries at
Pushan Tagore, vice president of pet care research at GfK, comments, "Although the Asian countries come lower in this list, these countries comprise a significant and growing share of the global pet market. This is due to the overall size and growth rate of their human population.

"Looking at data from our full range of pet care research, the key markets to watch over the next 12 months are China, India and LATAM. In these markets, rising disposable income is moving consumers away from table scraps and home cooked food for dogs and cats and towards prepared pet food. This is being driven by the convenience factor, as well as rising awareness of the need to feed their pets with the appropriate nutrition."
Pet Lovers Show Their Support for Fort McMurray
For Pet Valu, showing support for the people and pets of Fort McMurray is personal.

Pet Valu immediately donated $100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross and SPCA when fires broke out in early May as well as much needed products. And so far, Pet Valu franchisees, stores and customers have raised an additional $84,000 to support relief efforts, bringing the total to over $200.000 so far. Pet Valu stores across Canada are continuing to collect donations in-store. 100% of donations collected in stores are being donated to the Red Cross and SPCA.

Beyond just raising money, the company's stores and Alberta operations teams have been mobilizing trucks of food and supplies to help families in need – including thousands of bags of cat, dog and small animal pet foods and supplies.

"Our hearts go out to the people and pets of Fort McMurray, our employees and franchisees at our two Fort McMurray stores. Pet Valu hopes that the $200,000+ our team has donated and raised to aid in the recovery effort will help in some small way," says Tom McNeely, CEO. "Most important of all, is the remarkable way our Pet Valu team are rising up to offer support and comfort to the community," says McNeely.

"Pet Valu has been working to get product donations where they are needed the most. The company has transported pet food, treats, and crates, litter, toys and other accessories to where they are needed. Food and supplies were directly donated to the Fort McMurray evacuees through The Royal Canadian Legion, SPCA, The Lac La Biche Evacuation Centre, and through various charities and hotels all over Edmonton and northern Alberta," says McNeely.

Pet Valu is also accepting donations to help those affected by the fire at the following Northern Alberta locations:

Cold Lake

St Albert

Spruce Grove

Hollick Kenyon (Edmonton)

Market at the Meadows (Edmonton)

Namao Center (Edmonton)

Rabbit Hill (Edmonton)

West Henday (Edmonton)

Westmount (Edmonton)

Windermere (Edmonton)

A lovely lady came into our store today and stood near our adoptable kitten Mama.  When I asked how I could help, she said she was just looking and then proceeded to tell me of the heartache she is going through.

She was able to grab her family and her dogs but was was forced to leave her cats. She is very worried about their wellbeing and unsure if they are OK. I told her that she was welcome to hold Mama. With tears rolling down her cheeks she gave her a good snuggle and I let her know she is welcome to come by anytime to see Mama again. She left with lighter spirits. It is amazing how a little cuddle from an animal can change your feelings. Even more amazing to witness.

-Alicia, Pet Valu St. Albert

What to Expect When You're Expecting to be a Pet Parent

​ If you're thinking of adding a furry member to your family just in time for summer, there is no better place to do so than at PetSmart's signature National Adoption Weekend, held in all PetSmart stores across Canada May 13-15.

Expanding your family and providing a forever home for a cat or dog is an incredibly rewarding experience. There's nothing more uplifting than the sight of a pet being welcomed to its new home and loving family. As thrilling as it can be, it's important to remember that this can also be a stressful time for a pet, and PetSmart would like to help families with tips to remember when bringing home a new addition:

Pet proof your home: Make sure human food, medications and cleaning supplies are in a secured space, well away from a pet's reach.
Create personal space: Make sure your new pet friend has his own food and water bowls, toys and place to sleep.
Prepare the family: Set some ground rules, establish routines and make sure everyone is doing their part in pet care. If you're welcoming a new dog, a walking schedule is a great way to get the entire family involved.
Set aside time to bond: Show your new pet some love and attention with dedicated time to interact, bond and discover his or her likes and dislikes.
Socialize: When socializing your new pet to other pets and people, be selective and invite just one or two trusted, safe dogs to your home to meet your new pup for the first time.
Be patient: Transitioning a new pet into a family can often take a couple of weeks. Before you know it, your new pet's personality will shine.

"With more than 200,000 adoptions in Canada since 1999, PetSmart is The Adopt Spot – the place to go to adopt a pet and to prepare for transitioning the new addition into his or her new home," said John DeFranco, president, of PetSmart Canada. "We look forward to adopting out lots of pets every day at our stores, but particularly over our May weekend event."

Partnering to Save Lives
Each year, about 7 million pets enter shelters across North America and some 3 million healthy, adoptable pets are euthanized. To help end pet homelessness and save lives, PetSmart joins PetSmart Charities®, PetSmart Charities™ of Canada and nearly 3,000 local animal welfare organizations across North America on a range of powerful adoption events in PetSmart stores.

Since 1999, PetSmart Canada, together with PetSmart Charities of Canada and its many local animal welfare partners across the country, has reached the 200,000th pet adoption milestone, representing an average of 55 pets adopted out every day PetSmart stores are open, or about 20,000 pets every year.  
Transform the Life of a Pet in Need
You can add a new addition to your family at the May National Adoption Weekend event at all PetSmart stores across Canada.
PetSmart Charities of Canada Adoption Centres or designated adoption areas in all PetSmart stores

Fri., May 13, and Sat., May 14, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sun., May 15, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Find the PetSmart store nearest you at or call 1-877-473-8762.
To celebrate adoption, adopters will receive a Certificate of Adoption and an Adopt Spot sticker with the words "I Adopted."  As an additional gift to new pet adopters for saving a life – whether adopting at PetSmart or elsewhere – PetSmart offers its free Adoption Starter Kit available every day at its stores. To ensure every adopter has all the essentials for their new family member, the kit includes tips on how to transition a newly adopted pet into the home, as well as coupons for a free bag of pet food, free one-time services for training, veterinarian and Doggie Day Camp, as well as discounts on the essentials such as bowls, collars, beds and grooming – all totaling $325 in value.  
Toronto Animal Services launches mobile spay and neuter services for dogs and cats
Toronto Animal Services' Mobile Spay/Neuter Your Pet (SNYP) Clinic will be rolling into neighbourhood improvement areas throughout the city to provide spay and neuter services for dogs and cats. Residents with an income of less than $50,000 will qualify for subsidized or waived fees.

Spaying and neutering pets prevents and reduces a number of serious and expensive health problems, reduces unwanted behaviour related to mating and prevents pet overpopulation.

The state-of-the-art truck is the first of its kind in Canada and was made possible through a $250,000 donation from PetSmart Charities of Canadaâ„¢, and additional donations from Toronto residents.

"Our partnership with PetSmart Charities of Canada and its generous donations has allowed us create the SNYP truck, which will bring subsidized spay/neuter services directly to the communities who often have limited access to veterinary care," said Elizabeth Glibbery, Manager, Toronto Animal Services. 

Residents can call 416-338-6281 to book an appointment and check the website for dates that the truck will be in their neighbourhood.

"As a leading funder of animal welfare, PetSmart Charities of Canada funded nearly 9,000 spay/neuter surgeries across Canada in 2015 alone,” said John DeFranco, Chair, PetSmart Charities of Canada. “Our collaboration with Toronto Animal Services – and funding for their important Mobile SNYP Clinic – is a significant step toward ending pet homelessness in Toronto."

Members of the general public will have the opportunity to tour the SNYP truck on Nathan Phillips Square on Wednesday, May 11 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Toronto Animal Services' staff and a representative from PetSmart Charities of Canada will be available to provide tours and answer questions for the media at 11:30 a.m.

More information and the schedule for the SNYP mobile clinic is available at

Communities across the country are going to the dogs to give more Canadians safety, independence 
The Purina® Walk for Dog Guides wants to make more life-changing matches possible for Canadians with disabilities, and on May 29th, more than 200 walks are taking place across the country to do just that.

"Kiwi is an extension of my arms and legs," says Tammy Walsh who was matched with Kiwi, a standard poodle specially trained to open and close doors and cupboards, pick up dropped items, retrieve objects out of reach, and even help with the laundry. "She really is a canine personal support worker," says the Brampton, Ont., resident who uses a wheelchair.

Like all Dog Guides, Kiwi was provided to Walsh at no cost by Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, despite a price of $25,000 the charity incurs to breed, train, and match each service dog. The Purina® Walk for Dog Guides is the organization's largest fundraiser, and thanks to title sponsor Nestlé Purina PetCare, 100 per cent of funds raised go directly toward the foundation's six specialized programs. The annual event has gained momentum over 30 years, last year raising more than $1,195,000 nationally.
To donate or participate, visit Purina® Walk for Dog Guides: &
Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides:

Animal Hall of Fame Focuses on Heroes

​Every year there are family members who are saved by the four legged members of their households. On May 3 Purina celebrated five animals that reacted in heroic ways to save a life. At times these brave dogs put their own lives on the lines like this year's hero service dog, Lonca of the Toronto Police Services.

This year the event was hosted by John Moore of Newstalk 1010 with celebrity presenters Melissa Eckersley, Melani Mariani, Jamie Gutfreund, Dr. Scott Bainbridge and Constable Dave Stubbs.

Pets give their families unconditional love every day but for some families that love is ten-fold when their animal family member saves a life. In a ceremony Tuesday at Toronto's Paws Way five dogs were inducted into the 48th Purina Animal Hall of Fame. For almost 50 years Purina has been honouring animals that have performed acts of bravery. From alerting others about life-threatening conditions to taking on a mother bear this year's inductees have shown they have what it takes to be called a hero.

For the first time Purina has added a Better Together Award. This award is for an animal who has made a powerful positive impact on a person's life. For Kayla Aolick of Port Alberni, BC living with epilepsy from a cancerous brain tumor, meant that she was dependent on others. That is until Shadow, a 6-year-old Golden Retriever, came into her life as part of the Canada Dog Guides program. Today Aolick, with help from Shadow, has her independence back. Shadow is always with Kayla, protecting her and helping her manage seizures.

When Raya, 4, went for a walk with her family Brent and his mother Trudy last September in Fort St John, BC she wasn't planning on being a hero. The black Labrador Retriever Norweigian Elkhound was used to Brent's outdoor adventures and carried a pack on her back to excursion supplies. This evening though their paths crossed with a mother bear protecting her cub. Growling the bear charged the group and Raya sprung into action snapping and barking with authority. The bear retreated as did Brent and Trudy but then re-charged again and again. Raya showed no fear as she stood her ground to protect her loved ones who were able to get back to their vehicle safely. Raya's family believes that without her courage in the face of danger the story may have had a different outcome.

Rex, 8, is a lovable Alaskan Malamute German Shephard, living with his family in Aberdeen, SK. Mitch and Santana Hawman rescued Rex when he was a puppy from a local shelter not knowing that years later he would be the family hero. Preparing for the holidays the Hawman's and their children went to a holiday family dinner leaving Mitch's mom Noreen, who was visiting for the holidays, home. Noreen was feeling ill so she took a sleeping pill and laid down on the couch. The blare of smoke alarms and the carbon monoxide detectors going off did not rouse Noreen from a deep slumber but Rex was relentless, barking and nudging her. Noreen woke to a house full of flames. With Rex's help Noreen was able to rescue two other pets before safely exiting the burning building. The home was so engulfed when the fire department arrived that it was decided to let it burn. Had it not been for Rex there is no question that Noreen would have perished in the blaze.

Right before Christmas Toronto's Matthew Church returned home from a long bike ride complaining about pain in his shoulder and elbow. Taking an aspirin he went to reads upstairs while his wife Patricia tayed downstairs watching TV. Patricia heard a thump from above but thinking it was a dropped book she ignored it. However the family's pet Zola, 8, started barking and chased Patricia upstairs where Matthew was on the floor turning blue from a massive heart attack. Matthew's life was saved by Zola who made sure that Patricia was alerted.

This year's service dog hero hails from Toronto Police Services. Lonca has been on the force for only a year but has proven to be a valued member of the team. On November 23, 2015 Lonca and his partner Constable Steve Balice was at a search warrant call when a suspect fled from the back of a home with what appeared to be a weapon. Steve deployed Lonca after numerous requests for the suspect to stop. The suspect did indeed have a weapon, a large marchete, that he used to strike Lonca over and over before being taken into custody. Wounded Lonca was still on task that day, leading Steve to the rear of the home where a female suspect was trying to flee. Lonca stopped the suspect until she surrendered. As Lonca was finishing his duty Steve saw what every Constable fears, his partner was severely wounded. Rushing Lonca to the emergency veterinary hospital for care. Lonca needed 5 stitches on his face and 2 staples on his front left paw. Today Lonca is back to work, helping his partner protect Toronto.

The suspect who injured Lonca is the first person to be charged under Quanto's Law, which came into effect in July 2015. Named after 2014's Animal Hall of Fame inductee Quanto, this new law makes it a more serious offence when a service animal is wounded during a crime. Quanto was 5-years-old, when he was killed during the line of duty in Edmonton. Quanto was stabbed to death by a suspect involved in a stolen car accident.      

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  1. Hello. My name is Patches and I am Canadian!
    Hello. My name is Patches and I am Canadian!
    I know everyone seems to want to adopt dogs from other countries, but it's super cool to adopt Canadian dogs like me too! I am also in need of a family to call my own. I'm a 7 year old female Jack Russell Terrier and I live up to my Jack Russell Terrier breed. I earn a place in the hearts of every human I meet! I'm so very smart, loyal, athletic, high energy, determined and intense. I am ... Jack Russell Terrier!!!! I'm so outgoing that I require full participation with whomever adopts me. I hope you're a busy, outgoing, active human, because vigorous daily play sessions, especially ball chasing, is what I'm passionate about – even to the point of obsessive. I am ... Jack Russell Terrier!!!! Too little exercise, too little companionship, and too little mental stimulation is not something I'll even consider. I'm a small dog with a big attitude. I am ... Jack Russell Terrier!!!! If you've ever been looking at taking on a hobby with a new pet kid, I'm your girl! My energy level would be particularly useful if you wanted to take the time to train me in agility or flyball, two activities the humans at VetsToronto say I would excel at. It could be a fun hobby we could learn together and bond over don't you think? I get to leave the clinic on weekends to spend time with my foster Mom Megan. She says I'm happiest in the company of humans that I feel love from and I'm good either snuggled up on a bed or curled up at your feet, but I'm always on the lookout for a good game of ball chase, because playing is my favourite thing to do. When it's not playtime, I'm happy to make my own entertainment, either by tearing through the house at breakneck speed like a drag racer, or staring at you for what seems forever until you've had enough and join me in playtime, or as a last resort, by barking at you and then running off to try to entice you to play. The bottom line is, if you make me part of your family, you have to have a sense of humor to appreciate appreciate how amazing I am. I am ... Jack Russell Terrier!!!! My $100 adoption fee comes with 30 days of free pet insurance. I did have a lot of lumps and bumps removed when I arrived at VetsToronto and sent out for testing to ensure I was healthy, which I certainly am! I also received my spay and some of the important vaccinations to ensure I stay healthy and strong. Please email for an adoption questionnaire.
  2. My name is Rascal. I'm a 9 year old Jack Russell Terrier X.
    My name is Rascal. I'm a 9 year old Jack Russell Terrier X.
    l may not have an exciting story like all those rescue dogs being brought in from all over the world, but I'm just as deserving of a home to call my own because I don't have one right now. I'm so energetic and hoping to find a busy family that wants to include me in their lifestyle. A running partner would be awesome, because I can run and run and run and still not be tired. On the weekends I get to go stay with my foster Mom Megan. We run on the Beach(es) boardwalk and she says I'm fast like the wind and can keep up with her no matter how much she challenges me. I'm a real people pleaser and I love when I make humans happy. I get along really great with my best dog buddy Patches, but I'm so afraid of other dogs and my insecurity makes me jump and bark. I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of cats either. The humans at VetsToronto say with proper training and socialization, I would be better around other dogs. I LOVE all things toys. I've been spoiled with new toys so much since being here that I can't ever decide which toy I want to play with so I go from toy, to toy, to toy. I really like to chew my toys though, so I have to be sure to have sturdy strong toys I can't rip apart. I've mastered the skill of stuffed animal destruction in 2.2 minutes. Once I've had my run and play time, I'm content sitting with a human and cuddling and snuggling. I'm super sweet and when you're happy, I'm happy. I really like human attention. I had some really rotten teeth that the veterinarians at VetsToronto removed from me when I first arrived, so if you promise to brush my teeth everyday, you'll have a great start on my dental health. I'm also neutered and received my most important vaccinations. I have a $100 adoption fee and come with 30 days of free pet insurance. Do you have room for me in your home? Please email for an adoption questionnaire.
  3. All this talk about dogs, how about some cat love!?
    All this talk about dogs, how about some cat love!?
    My name is Toto and I'm a 9 year old highly, highly, highly affectionate girl. I am sweet, and kind, and I get along with every human I meet as well as all other dogs and cats. I just love everyone and if you are up for some rubs and cuddles, I'm the girl for you. I am a lap cat through and through, and I could get attention for hours on end and still not be satisfied. I'm happy to get right up in your face and demand more and more and more attention, because I'm so full of love to give I can barely stand it. When I see any of the humans at VetsToronto I run, yes run, not walk, run, straight up to them and start weaving between their legs showering them with affection and leaving my fur on their scrubs, but they don't seem to mind. They are always laughing at me and they say I have the quirkiest personality and I'm very much a "cat dog" whatever that means. They can call me whatever they want as long as the kisses and cuddles never stop coming. Nothing phases me. I'm just in constant purrrr mode and there's no turning it off when I'm in the prescence of humans. I'm looking for a furever home where I can be love and be loved. Is that really so much to ask for? My adoption fee is $100. I did receive my spay and vaccinations as well as some dental work that I really, really needed badly. Email right now for an adoption application ... hurry, I'm waiting for you.
  4. VETS Animal Charity saved my life:
    VETS Animal Charity saved my life:
    My name is Eden. I'm a 6 year old Toy Poodle X. I almost died a couple years ago, but the humans at VetsToronto made me all better. I spent almost 3 months with them getting healthy again. It's been good to be back the past couple months and see all the people that saved my life, but I really do want to find a family to call my own. I love to play and boy oh boy I love my walks. I could walk and walk and walk and walk and meet all the new people and pets out there. I'm very gentle and kind but outgoing and just curious about life. The humans at the clinic say I haven't yet found my bark, but they're sure it's in there somewhere. I recently received my spay and vaccinations to keep me healthy because I never had them before. I had all my teeth removed when I was here at the clinic last time because my mouth was rotting so badly and making me so sick, but that doesn't stop me from being a dog just like all others and I'm very strong and healthy now. All I need is a family to love me. A place I can call home and know I'll be there for always. I'll be so loyal to you if you adopt me into your life. I promise. I'm available for adoption for $100 and you can email for an adoption questionnaire.
  5. Muffin is a pet kid that required VETS Animal Charity assistance
    Muffin is a pet kid that required VETS Animal Charity assistance
    My name is Muffin. I'm a 10 year old female Shih Tzu X, looking for a home to call my own. I have just experienced what going for walks is the past 2 months, as I've spent very little time outside in my 10 years. The first month the humans at VetsToronto had to carry me around the block because I just couldn't understand this walking thing .... now, I'm happy to walk 1/2 a block before I expect to be carried the rest of the way. I'm in awe of everything I see and all the people I meet. Everyone thinks I'm so cute and they always talk about my tongue that is happiest hangin' out, outside my mouth. Makes me even more adorable doesn't it!? I'm so happy to just be a lap dog, and get cuddled and snuggled. I have no demands and am most content just being with my special human, if I could find a new one to call me their own. I just learned all about house training, and I take it very seriously. Everyone at VetsToronto says I'm proof you can teach an old dog new tricks! The veterinarians say I'm very healthy, and I've received my spay and a couple of the important vaccinations to keep me healthy now that I'm going outside. If you want me to come live with you, please email for an adoption questionairre. $100 adoption fee applies and I come with 30 days of free pet insurance.

Dr. Mitelman of VETS Toronto:
Understanding parasite control for your pet

Dr. Mitelman helps you understand parasite control for your pet.

In the confusion of a busy big box store, without the assistance of a veterinarian in a human pharmacy, or advice from a student working part time in a pet store, pet parents may not shop carefully, and they purchase flea and tick products without any guidance, that can lead to dire consequences to your pet.

There are so many parasite control products for dogs and cats available right now. Choosing the right product for your pet has become a daunting task, and more concerning having the option to purchase some over the counter.

Additionally, marketing makes it more confusing to pet parents with packages that look very similar but can be deadly if used in wrong quantities or on the wrong species.

Although anyone can make an honest (but serious) mistake, feline emergencies happen more frequently to folks who don’t see a vet to purchase their parasite products.
Keep your pet safe.  Speak to your Veterinarian prior to using parasite control for your cat or dog.

Featuring: Roof Top Concert by Daniel Lanois
Master Mechanic High Park and Dundas West Animal Hospital presents WOOFEST. A festival of Community, Dogs, Adoptions, Kids Activities with Music, Food and Contests. Free Admission.

The event is a fundraiser for Moosonee Puppy Rescue, The Farley Foundation, The Parkside Food Bank, and The Redwood.

There will be a whole kennel full of doggy activities sponsored by Dr. Scott Bainbridge of Dundas West Animal Hospital and Josie Candito of Master Mechanic.
Contests, with prizes and doggy giveaways, include:

Best Dog Costume
Best Dog Wiggle
Best Dog Smile
Best Dog Trick
Dog/Owner Look-a-like Contest
Guess My Dog's Weight
Dog Kissing Booth
There will be an opportunity for you to adopt your new best friend at our Mini Puppy adoption booth hosted by Moosonee Puppy Rescue.

Come hang out at our "Dawg Lounge" sponsored by Women On The Move, with other booths that include:

CTVRC Vet, Dr. Michael Goldstein Q&A
Ask-the-Trainer about your dog's behaviour or training - When Hounds Fly Dog Training Q&A
Nail Clipping by PetAgree Professional Grooming
Animal Rights Petition by Cheri DiNovo, MPP
Dog walking , Daycare Services and Boarding Q&A Sponsored by Unleashed in the City
Daycare, Training and Grooming Q&A Sponsored by Urban Dog
Boarding and Grooming Q&A Sponsored by Park 9 Resort
Rehabilitation Q&A by Animal Rehabilitation Centre
FinnUgor MCM will feature dog beds, crate pads, and cushions
Diggity Dog will feature Pet Owners Choice Brands
Enjoy DJ Music sponsored by DJ Nova and many other fun activities for kids and families.

Activities Include:

Capture a Moment in our Photo Booth (Props Available for kids and dogs)
DJ Music sponsored by DJ Nova (Vinyl DJ)
Meet Kevin the "Minion"
Face Painting for Dogs and Kids by MagicFinnga Wong
Spa Nail Painting for Kids by Sophie Hughes Mobile Spa
Balloon Twisting (shaping lots of cute animal characters)
Video Game Trailer for kids
50/50 Draw
Stuffy Animal Rescue
Auction items for Raffles by: Scooter Girl, Bissell, Pets Plus Us, Global Pet Foods
Opening Live Music Act by Crooked House Road at 3pm
Meet and Greet with Daniel Lanois at 2:00pm
Roof Top Concert by Canadian Music Hall of Fame Daniel Lanois at 3:30pm
There will be lots of delicious food available at WOOFEST sponsored by BARQUE Smokehouse including yummy desserts for dogs and their owners sponsored by Dundas Park Kitchen, and Ice Cream Sponsored by Purina and Nestle.

Come join us for this exciting day of Community fun and family, fundraising, and of course a Festival celebrating our four legged friends!

Master Mechanic High Park
2 Howard Park Ave
Saturday May 14, 2016
11 am to 4 pm

COSEWIC scientists not ready to declare species extinct yet, but several are on the brink


The Canadian Species at Risk Act officially recognized the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as the arms-length advisory body that is responsible for assessing the status of species in Canada and providing recommendations on which species are Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern, and identifying existing and potential threats to the species. The Committee bases its assessments on the best available scientific, community and Aboriginal Traditional knowledge for each species.

The Committee is made up of approximately 50 recognized experts in their fields. There are ten species groups subcommittees that are each represented by two Co-chairs (amphibians and reptiles, arthropods, vascular plants, marine fish, freshwater fish, molluscs, marine mammals, terrestrial mammals, mosses and lichens, and birds). There are also representatives from each province and territory, the federal departments that have species at risk responsibilities (Environment Canada, Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Canadian Museum of Nature), three non-government science members and the Co-chairs of COSEWIC's Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee.

To date, COSEWIC has assessed 739 species that occur in Canada: 209 are considered Special Concern, 172 have been given a Threatened status, 320 are considered Endangered, 23 are Extirpated (no longer found in Canada), and 15 have been declared as Extinct globally.

Definition of COSEWIC terms and status categories:

Wildlife Species: A species, subspecies, variety, or geographically or genetically distinct population of animal, plant or other organism, other than a bacterium or virus, that is wild by nature and is either native to Canada or has extended its range into Canada without human intervention and has been present in Canada for at least 50 years.

Extinct (X): A wildlife species that no longer exists.
Extirpated (XT): A wildlife species that no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere.
Endangered (E): A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
Threatened (T): A wildlife species that is likely to become Endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.
Special Concern (SC): A wildlife species that may become Threatened or Endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
Not at Risk (NAR): A wildlife species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances.
Data Deficient (DD): A category that applies when the available information is insufficient (a) to resolve a wildlife species' eligibility for assessment or (b) to permit an assessment of the wildlife species' risk of extinction.
Species at Risk: A wildlife species that has been assessed as Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern.

​Several of Canada's species continue to decline, based on a recent assessment. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) met last week to evaluate the conservation status of 26 Canadian species. Ten new species were added to a growing list of 739 with only a few showing signs of improvement over the past decade.

"The poor condition of species that we examined during this meeting is, unfortunately, quite typical of what we see year after year", remarked Dr. Eric Taylor, Chair of the committee and professor of Zoology at the University of British Columbia.

As an independent science advisory body with a mandate under the federal Species at Risk Act, COSEWIC plays a key role in monitoring the state of Canada's biodiversity. From orchids to whales, the committee keeps an eye on the conservation status of Canada's plants, animals and other organisms.

At this meeting, COSEWIC considered many complex cases of species facing the threat of extinction. One example was the Sakinaw Sockeye Salmon. Found only in Sakinaw Lake, B.C., which drains to the Strait of Georgia, this population regularly numbered about 4,500 individuals in the period 1960-1990. However, by 2009, none could be found in the lake. Problems both in marine habitats and in the lake appear to have combined to cause the complete disappearance of wild-breeding fish from this population of Sockeye Salmon.

There is, however, still some hope for this critically Endangered species. According to Alan Sinclair, Co-chair of the COSEWIC Marine Fishes Subcommittee: "A Fisheries and Oceans Canada hatchery program has been using fish of Sakinaw Lake origin to replenish the lake. This could result in the restoration of the population, as spawning of hatchery fish in Sakinaw Lake has been observed. We will know if this recovery effort is successful in a few years."

Another example of a species with worrying declines was the Eastern Persius Duskywing, one of a group of butterflies that rely on dwindling lupine flowers as host plants. In spite of extensive searching by butterfly enthusiasts and habitat restoration efforts, the Duskywing has not been seen in its southern Ontario range since 1987. "At this point, there's a slim chance that this butterfly still lives in Canada", said Jennifer Heron, Co-chair of the Arthropod subcommittee, "And, it is looking more and more likely that this species may soon share the fate of the Karner Blue and Frosted Elfin butterflies, which COSEWIC concluded in 2010 to have been lost from Canada."

Almost all Canadians know what a lady beetle (or "lady bug") is, but few people are aware that there are 161 species in Canada -- nine of which are non-native. These invasive lady beetles have become firmly established and have been slowly replacing the native species. For instance, the Nine-spotted Lady Beetle was once one of our most common and widely distributed native lady beetles, but was assessed by COSEWIC as Endangered owing to the major impacts of competition and predation.

Status assessments like those completed in Kelowna last week draw on the expertise, experience, and collaboration of diverse professionals and citizens. As Thomas Jung, a Yukon Government biologist and COSEWIC member said, "Tracking so many plants, animals and other organisms requires careful and tenacious searching and data collection over many years. For these biologists, it is a labour of love."

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