Tag Archives: Mercy for Animals

A Place To Breathe

The Toronto Veg Fest was this weekend and for the second year in a row I had the chance to volunteer with Mercy for Animals, one of my favourite animal protection agencies. They are organized, on-time, and they know what they’re doing. Not only does this appeal to the Type-A side of my personality but it also makes volunteering that much more fulfilling. When you can focus on the animals instead of whose supposed to be doing what, it’s much easier to remain positive and engaged with the task at hand and it removes unnecessary frustration and stress. Continue reading

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If We Can’t Advocate for Animals Now, When?

One of the most common “arguments” animal-eaters use against vegans is that we should be putting humans problems first, as if we can’t simultaneously care for humans and animals or that speaking up on behalf of animals must mean we don’t care about the suffering our own species. These are long-held assumptions that are not only false but are indicative of two things in our society: 1) we don’t value animals very much and 2) we don’t want to believe that we might be part of the problem when it comes to how animals are treated.  Continue reading

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Activism and the End Goal

I had the pleasure of attending Toronto’s Pride Parade this year and, for the third year in a row, marching with Mercy for Animals, one of the over 180 participants walking alongside so many other great organizations. For someone who hated parades even as a kid because of the crowds, it’s a testament not only to how much I believe in the work MFA is doing but to the genuine fun that is the Pride Parade. Obviously it was not always this way – Pride Week in Toronto evolved from the now-infamous 1981 Bathhouse Raids, where Toronto Police violently raided and arrested over 300 people from the LGBT community. It was only this year that the Toronto Police Chief issued a formal apology for those actions.

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Economy Over Cruelty

My birthday is this month and in lieu of gifts this year, I’ve decided to do a fundraiser on behalf of Mercy for Animals (MFA).  There used to be a branch of MFA in Canada but it was rolled in with the U.S. last year, where MFA’s headquarters are.  Ordinarily I’d prefer to give to an organization specific to the country I reside in but MFA is still a presence in Canada, in much the same way People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is: they do not physically have an office here but they work closely with activists and other organizations who can still represent them.

One of the first things I learned when I went vegan in 2013 was that many animal rights organizations do not issue tax receipts for donations made here in Canada. I didn’t think much of it at the time since I’ve never found charitable receipts to make much difference on my tax return and it’s not the reason I donate anyway. It wasn’t until I tried to find a job working for an animal rights organization in Canada that I discovered this was the case for almost all of them, unless the organization focused strictly on rescuing and caring for animals we don’t wear, eat, hunt or use for some other purpose (e.g., feral cats and stray dogs).  But still I didn’t give it much thought since I understood charitable status –  status that is issued by CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) – as just that: charity. Rescue and relief was one thing, advocacy and prevention was another.  As long as you were only easing suffering and not actively trying to prevent it, you could be a registered as a charity in Canada.  Continue reading

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Being the Change We Want to See

On Monday there was a followup story on last year’s undercover investigation that Mercy for Animals conducted at Chilliwack dairy farm, one of the suppliers of cow’s milk to Saputo Inc., a major dairy company here in Canada.  The main announcement was that as a result of last’s year undercover video – footage which included a cow being strung up by a chain from her neck and left to hang by a tractor while the workers jeered at her – Saputo will no longer be accepting milk from dairy farms that abuse its animals.

Although this is good news and a step in the right direction (Saputo is “one of the three biggest milk buyers in Canada,” and certainly has influence) there’s still a long way to go.  I wrote about this last year when the story first broke: even if the over-and-above abuses stop, factory farming by its very nature is still abuse. Confinement, artificial insemination, dehorning, tail docking, mechanized milking stalls, and babies being taken away from their mothers hours after birth still remain business-as-usual practices for dairy farms.  While I’m glad the cows aren’t being beaten with sticks and kicked in the face on top of their already-miserable daily lives, they are still very much enslaved by an industry and a consumer market that sees them as nothing more than product.  As my friend often points out, any group that is oppressed and is asking for their rights never says, “Could you just oppress us a little less?”  What they ask is to be free from their oppressors altogether: absolute liberation is the goal and so it must also be with animal rights. Continue reading

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Taking Food Advertisers To Task

Well, hurrah!  The Internet has returned to our household after a 12-day absence and I’m glad to be back online.  Considering that ninety percent of the Canadian population has and/or uses the Internet, you’d think we’d have the whole “Internet Service Provider” part down too but, no. We suck at building infrastructure and this recent experience with Bell and Primus Canada made me long for the days of ink wells and parchment paper.  Nevertheless, it’s fixed now and I can finally stop going outside or heading to bed early just for something to do and return to watching cat videos into the wee hours while eating chips from a bag as nature intended.

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