Our days on Parliament Hill
In October, members of our team went to Ottawa to talk with Members of Parliament (MPs) and federal decision-makers about how to protect wildlife and improve the lives of farmed animals. After two days of meetings, we wanted to share some of the highlights with you!
By Francine Pauvif, Mobilization Campaigner
Our first day on the Hill consisted of meetings discussing issues including:
- Building support for the Jane Goodall Act to end the commercial trade of more than 800 wild animal species for entertainment and pet purposes.
- The government’s role in addressing the impacts of industrial animal agriculture on climate change at the upcoming UN Climate Conference - COP28.
- Addressing the overuse of antibiotics in farming and animal welfare solutions to the problem.
We also met with several animal welfare champions in Parliament, including MPs Julie Dabrusin, Alexandra Mendès, Leah Taylor-Roy, and Anita Vandenbeld. They updated us on the government’s progress and intention to fulfill its animal welfare commitments from banning animal testing and the export of horses to slaughter and ending the trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn.
A special thanks to these MPs for their on-going support for these important animal welfare issues and continuing to advocate for animals on the Hill!
Throughout the day, we were also able to meet with Senators’ staff and policy advisors in the Minister of Agriculture’s office. Overall, the day was very productive, and we were able to highlight the importance of our campaigns for animals, people and the planet.
Your support has been instrumental in helping us to elevate animal welfare on the government’s agenda and we are grateful for your commitment to the cause.
With the momentum from day 1, we were prepared for a much busier schedule on day 2. Our morning started by crossing the bridge over to Gatineau, where we met with staff from several federal departments including the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Here, we were able to discuss issues related to legal and illegal wildlife trade, highlighting data found by our Wildlife Campaign Manager, Michèle Hamers, in a recently published article.
We briefly met Minister of Health, the Honourable Mark Holland, and discussed with his staff the opportunities to combat climate change through dietary shifts that align with Canada’s Food Guide. We also talked about the importance of animal welfare to addressing the overuse of antibiotics in farming and antimicrobial resistance and the need to tackle animal-related pandemic drivers through the passing of Bill C-293 and the International ‘Pandemic Treaty’.
Related to this, we had a very constructive meeting with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to inform Canada’s position on the International ‘Pandemic Treaty’. We emphasized the science showing the connection between exploitive animal industries and their connection to pandemic risk.
In all these discussions, we made sure these decision-makers were aware that our 300,000 supporters want to see stronger and quicker action for animals. We urged government to consider animal welfare as a solution to the crises we are facing at the moment.
In the evening, we headed to the Standing Committee on Health’s (HESA) committee meeting, where we were invited to testify on Bill C-293, the Pandemic Prevention and Preparedness Act. Our Campaign Director, Melissa Matlow, and Wildlife Campaign Manager, Michèle Hamers, presented the scientific evidence and global reports acknowledging that the wildlife trade, live animal markets, intensive animal farming and antimicrobial resistance are top pandemic drivers that need to be addressed in this legislation.
We urged the Committee to pass the bill without delay. When animals suffer, we all suffer.