Animals Recognized as Sentient Beings... read more about what this means for the animals!

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The Ottawa Animal Advocate
Animals Recognized as Sentient Beings - A Step in the Right Direction

Human hugging pets

In November 2018, The European Parliament in Brussels unanimously adopted an ordinance to recognize the status of animals as sentient beings. Under existing laws, an animal is considered an object, included in the category of property and immobile goods. Under this new legislation, an animal will be categorised as “a living being, endowed with sensitivity, interests of its own and dignity that benefits from special protection.”

Brussels is not alone in amending its law to recognize that animals are sentient beings. In 2015, France, New Zealand and the province of Quebec similarly changed their laws to recognize that animals are more than just property.

News headlines show that society values animals more than ever and not just companion animals like cats and dogs, but also wildlife, laboratory and farm animals. This increase in people’s regard for creatures does not mean that we no longer have animal cruelty. Animals continue to be abused and exploited for economic gain—but there is an increasing number of people who treat their animals just like family members.

Animals and humans share the same planet, so showing compassion and empowering a disenfranchised group—including animals—is a step in the right direction to enhance society as a whole.

sentience    noun

sen•tience  |  ‘sen(t)-sh(ē-)ən(t)s

: the capacity to feel, perceive or experience subjectively. In modern Western philosophy, sentience is the ability to experience sensations.

Tragedies at the Calgary Stampede Continue

Chuckwagon Racing

“Chuck Wagon Racing” by littlemisspurps is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

At this year’s Calgary Stampede, six horses died—all in the name of entertainment. In fact, CBC reports that since 1986 there have been over 100 deaths at this rodeo. The 2019 Stampede was the second deadliest year for chuckwagon horses in more than three decades.

The CBC relied on research done by humane societies in Western Canada and the list of deaths is grisly: 72 chuckwagon horses alone have died, along with calves, steers and bucking horses. Outside the Stampede itself, nine horses died while being herded over a bridge on the way to the rodeo’s grounds in 2005.

How can these deaths stop? It’s the attendees who have the power to end the suffering of animals exploited for entertainment. If people stop attending, the Stampede will have to adapt. Enlightened people, voting with their wallets ended Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s century-plus-long abuse of animals in 2017. And one day, they will hopefully end animal suffering and death at the Calgary Stampede.

Working Whiskers Cat Program

Working Cat

As an open admission shelter, the OHS takes in all cats, including those for whom placement in a typical home isn’t an option. While most cats can easily live as house pets, some cats prefer to live independently—roaming freely and controlling rodent populations. This spring, the OHS launched a new program that places these more self-sufficient cats into safe alternative environments.

Once a cat has been deemed a Working Whiskers candidate, the OHS administers initial vaccinations and gives the animal a clean bill of health. The cat is then adopted out to live a happy working life in a heated location such as a barn or stable, repair shop, brewery or garden centre.

There is no adoption fee, but donations towards the cost of spay/neuter and other medical treatments for working whiskers cats are accepted. Adopters are responsible for regular veterinary care, keeping their working whiskers cats’ vaccinations up to date, and for monitoring and providing veterinary care for any health concerns that may arise.

Please help the OHS spread the word that working whiskers cats are available for adoption:

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More Right Whale Deaths in 2019

As bad weather has hampered efforts to help three North Atlantic right whales caught in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a group of Canadian environmental and conservation groups is calling on the federal government to introduce additional measures to protect these highly endangered animals.

Since June, eight North Atlantic right whales have died in Canadian waters, including four breeding-age females. Every single death is a major blow to the endangered species. It is estimated that just over 400 right whales remain in the world.

While new speed restrictions and fishing-zone closures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence have been enforced by the government, the dangers remain—especially in the waters outside protected zones.

A joint statement by a group of Canadian environmental and conservation groups calls for the government to expand the mandatory speed restriction zone for the entire Gulf of Saint Lawrence and strictly enforce speed restrictions for vessels by issuing maximum fines to those who exceed the speed limit.

Contact your local MP to add your voice to have the government provide more comprehensive protection to help these threatened whales.

It’s Time for the Killing of all Whales to Cease

Japan has withdrawn from the International Whaling Commission and has resumed killing whales for profit after a 33-year moratorium. Japan's last commercial hunt was in 1986, but has continued whaling for what it says are research purposes.

However, in a significant win for whales, the government of Iceland has not issued a permit to allow the hunting of whales this year, sparing over 150 whales from slaughter. This means that no whales will die in Icelandic waters for the first time since Iceland resumed whaling in 2003.

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Ottawa’s Animals Need YOU!

Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run

Want to have fun with your dog AND help Ottawa's animals? Register today for the 2019 Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run—presented by Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Join us Sunday, September 8 at Lansdowne Park to walk, run and raise funds to save Ottawa’s most vulnerable animals. Enjoy a scenic run or leisurely walk alongside the picturesque Rideau Canal, visit the K9 and Family Fun Zone, shop ‘til you drop at the vendor Pet Pavilion, and have your picture taken with your furry friend! There will be activities for all ages, so gather your family, friends and co-workers to form your team. All team captains who sign up 5 people or more will receive a special token of OHS appreciation.

What are you waiting for? Register and start fundraising today to ensure that Ottawa’s lost, abandoned and abused animals receive the food, shelter and medical care they so desperately need.

Register and fundraise to help animals »

Buddy & Belle: Charlotte

Charlotte needs your help

Charlotte arrived at the OHS in urgent need of medical care. This sweet cat had a painfully broken femur!

Read her story and donate to help her heal »

Events Calendar
Saturday 5K Farm Run: 8:30 a.m. at the Central Experimental Farm
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Microchip Clinic: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the OHS
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Paint Your Pet Fundraiser: 1 p.m. at Rideau Sports Centre (1 Donald St.)
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Capital Pride Parade
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Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Lansdowne Great Lawn (1525 Princess Patricia)
More Info »
Warm Hearts Raffle (sales open!)
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