CEO Blog: Animal Welfare and the upcoming Federal Election: We need to hear from our leaders | Winnipeg Humane Society
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Canadians are getting ready to go to the polls on October 21, 2019 and choose who will lead our country. And while there is no shortage of issues and controversy abound, we must continue to pursue animal welfare as a very important aspect of this election. We must also ensure all animals are treated with the humanity and respect they deserve, regardless of the party name of political leanings of the next Federal government.

As we have done in the run up to the Manitoba election, we consulted our donors, volunteers and social media followers to learn which issues are most important to you. We then compiled that information, researched the issues, and today we are sending a formal written request to all political parties participating in the election, to tell us if they are willing to support new legislation and regulations to address these priorities. We are also inviting them to have one-on-one conversations with me, which I plan to record and share with you here in our blog and on our social media channels.

Based on your direct input, there are four key topics we are asking each political party to clearly state their position on and whether they support the WHS recommendations. Our letter to each political leader contains the four topics and specific recommendations, as follows:

Issue #1:  Dog overpopulation in remote communities across Canada

WHS recommendation: Commit funding to establish a Dog Overpopulation Reduction Program for remote communities, which includes animal control and low-cost veterinary care, with a specific focus on spay/neuter efforts.

We are specifically asking to:

  • Prohibit dog culls
  • Fund sterilization and vaccination clinics
  • Fund mandatory dog licensing programs
  • Fund dog safety education programs

Issue #2: No central database for animal cruelty offenders

WHS recommendation: Create an Animal Cruelty Offender Database so that offences and offenders can be tracked.

We are specifically are asking to:

  • Create a Federal animal abuse registry
  • Keep records of all charges, convictions, warnings, prohibitions and recommendations for cases involving animals
  • Create a shareable database between shelters, pet stores, rescues, breeders and others

Issue #3: Animals living in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)

WHS recommendation: Eliminate Current Confinement Methods for Laying Hens and Swine

We are specifically are asking to:

  • Reduce the current accepted industry standards for the number of animals housed in each barn
  • Accelerate the phasing out of conventional and enriched battery cages by 2021
  • Accelerate the phasing out of existing gestation and farrowing crates by 2021
  • Immediate implementation of Humane Canada-approved enrichment devices in industrialized barns
  • Provide all farmed chickens and pigs with appropriate outdoor access when applicable
  • Provide chickens and pigs with conditions conducive to their performing all instinctive behaviours
  • Reduce the frequency of barn fire casualties

Issue #4: Address cruelty and unnecessary stress in livestock transportation

WHS recommendation: Amend the Health of Animals Act and Regulations

We are specifically are asking to:

  • Amend the definition of ‘animals’ to acknowledge their sentience
  • Further reduce the length of allowable transportation without food or water
  • Transportation regulations to prohibit moving livestock in extreme heat or cold conditions
  • Eliminate the use of electric prods
  • Specific regulations regarding the number of animals that can be loaded to a single truck
  • Reduce the maximum ramp degree for loading swine to 15 degrees or less to reduce fear and stress
  • Prohibit the exportation of live horses to be slaughtered overseas


With your help, we can make these animal welfare issues a topic of debate and action during the election campaign.

We are asking all our supporters to:

  • Share this blog post on your social media accounts.
  • Mention these issues if you meet a candidate, irrespective of their political affiliation. Animal welfare is a non-partisan, all-Canadian issue.
  • Write to your Member of Parliament (MP) and mention these issues and the importance of supporting the recommendations animal welfare experts are proposing.
  • Talk to your friends and neighbours about animal welfare and how important it is regardless of political leanings.
  • If you participate on survey panels or are interviewed by the media, make sure you include animal welfare as a key priority.

We thank you in advance for your support, and if and when we hear from each political party and leader, we will let everyone know.

In service,

Javier Schwersensky