Editorial: Responsibility for animal abuse

3 02 2011

This editorial was brought to our attention and I felt it worthy to share with our followers, supporters and fellow animal lovers. Please, feel free to share this with your friends. Although the article is out of Vancouver, it brings up points that can be discussed anywhere. It’s time to make a difference for our animals.

Any feeling person would be disgusted by the cruel slaughter of 100 sled dogs because business was down at a Whistler outdoor adventure company. The dogs weren’t humanely destroyed after other alternatives had been sought. They were slaughtered in a sloppy two-day bloodbath because they were in an inconvenient expense, not even worth a decent death.

We are, as a society, divided on many animal welfare issues. Most of us accept that animals can be killed for our use, but would like their treatment to be humane.

But we don’t take responsibility for ensuring that happens. Canada’s regulations, for example, allow cattle, sheep and goats to be transported in trucks for up to 52 hours, barely able to move and without food or water. The European standard is 12 hours.

A freedom of information request last year that obtained three months of Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports from just some regions found 650,000 animals had died in transport — more than 7,000 a day.

And most of us accept things like commercial sled dog rides, without thinking too much about what happens when business drops or a dog is injured or too old to keep working.

We prefer to ignore the fact they will be killed, or at least trust the deaths will be humane.

It’s a happy and self-serving partnership. The agriculture industry, for example, doesn’t want too much public attention paid to the treatment of animals on their way to slaughterhouses (or when they get there). And the public doesn’t want to think about how those lamb chops got to their plates.

Our moral failing allows cruelty to be casually entrenched. We have, at least, the obligation to face our role in determining the way animals are treated in a honest fashion and consider the standards we expect.

Our wilful blindness also make it easy for government to avoid its responsibility.

The B.C. government, for example, is among the few in Canada that provide no funding for investigations of animal cruelty and abuse.

The B.C. SPCA, which has responsibility for the investigations, once received money for agent training and general operations.

The government eliminated an annual grant in 2009; gambling grants — $475,000 in 2003 — have been reduced each year, and now eliminated. The maximum fine in B.C. is $5,000; Saskatchewan increased the maximum to $25,000 last year.

High-profile cases attract much public attention. (Sadly, often much more attention than is paid to the avoidable deaths of children in this province.)

Our unwillingness to face our own role in the mistreatment of animals leads to much suffering.

It’s time we had an honest public discussion about what will tolerate and how we will eliminate abuse beyond that norm.

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Editorial+Responsibility+animal+abuse/4206349/story.html#ixzz1CtyvfS00