Guest Blogs


Transportation Torture

by Jim Sannes

Have you ever seen or read about how animals are transported to the slaughterhouse? We can say that this is one of the most terrible stages of their life. The animals sentenced to death will be sent on a painful and often long journey.

People do not even remotely imagine how millions of cows and calves, sheep, pigs, horses and millions of birds are subjected to suffering during their transportation in Canada. Animals are packed tightly into trucks or railway cars, and for several hours, and sometimes days, they are taken one way to be killed for our tastebuds. Unable to lie down, distraught with fear, crampedness, thirst, stuffiness, these unfortunate creatures sometimes trample each other to death.

Think about how hard it is to travel in crowded public transport on a hot or freezing day, and multiply that several times. Should we continue to torment them, knowing that no animal product or material is necessary for our survival or the satisfaction of our basic human needs?

Jim Sannes live in Kitchener, Ontario. He is the Canadian Representative for the Unitarian Universalists Animal Ministry.

Published October 1, 2021

Canada's Shame: Treatment of Farm Animals

by Debbie Wall

Canada has the shameful reputation of having some of the poorest animal “protection” and transport laws in the developed world.

Agriculture use is but one on an exhaustive list of so-called “accepted activities” that are exempt as long as “codes of practice” are followed. It has to be, because it could not exist if held to the same standards of care legally required of those with companion animals.

Over 800 million animals are killed for food in this country every year, most of whom are bred into lives not worth living and are raised in factory farms that check off all the boxes for conditions that will lead to antibiotic resistant super-bugs and future pandemics.

Instead of being offered the opportunity to engage in natural behaviors, they are forced to endure mutilations such as de-beaking, de-horning, tooth clipping, tail docking and castration. All performed without anesthesia. All standard industry practices.

Annually, fourteen million individuals are injured during transport to slaughter houses (which occurs in all extremes of weather with no food, water or rest) and 1.6 million are dead upon arrival. These are not random numbers pulled out of thin air by activists. They are statistics provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

But instead of introducing legislation that will lessen the suffering of farmed animals in Canada, government passes ag-gag laws which criminalize those who seek to expose it.

Debbie Wall lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was a candidate for the Animal Protection Party of Canada in the 2021 federal election.

Published October 1, 2021


Giving our time as a family

by Taunya Ahier

Over the winter break, my family and I were able to volunteer a lot. I would highly recommend it as a family activity. We spent time together, experienced new things and met interesting folks, all while helping others. We volunteered at a nursing home for residents with advanced dementia. Our highlight was having a professional musician and the former organist for the Toronto Maple Leafs play a Charlie Brown tune for us on his piano!

We also volunteered at Farmhouse Garden Animal Home. We have been helping the animal sanctuary with bake sales and other fundraisers over the past year but, this winter, we began volunteering with the animals and taking care of the barns. With these more physical chores, our highlights were tipping over a huge round straw bale that we dispersed down a chute from the loft to the barn below and then spread as bedding for the cows. We used pitchforks and other farm tools to give hay to cows and horses and the blunt end of the pitchforks to break the ice cover on some of the water barrels. We know our helping helped others directly, and we are the better for it!

We also spent some time at Toronto Animal Services East and OSPCA in Stouffville delivering toys for the animals that my kids and their classes and my students had made. After spending time at the shelters, our family made our New Year’s resolution to volunteer at the shelter more. We’re looking forward to it!

Taunya Ahier is a teacher in the Toronto District School Board and a longtime supporter of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals.

Published: January 15, 2018

Meatless Mondays: Small steps for a big change

by Taunya Ahier

This fall at my school, I started something I've been wanting to get going for the past couple years — Meatless Mondays. After inviting classes to study World Food Day and the ways a plant-based diet can reduce world hunger, students were so engaged they came up with the idea of a meatless day at school on their own! After they presented their World Food Day findings to the rest of the school, I invited each class to take on a Meatless Mondays challenge. In November and December, our school of just over 300 kids had about 300 meatless Monday lunches.

Those participating have looked forward to Meatless Mondays and have embraced the idea on other days of the week, too. Kids would shout, “Hey, Ms. Ahier, I have a meatless lunch today, and it's Wednesday!” “Right on!” I would say.

I was also very proud to see that some of the classes explored other reasons for eating less meat: climate change, feeding more people, reducing suffering of animals and health. Sometimes, even staff members would let me know they brought a meat-free lunch! Our announcements every Monday include a clip played over the PA system of a famous athlete, musician or celebrity who is vegetarian. We ask what that famous person has in common with our school that day: We are all having a meat-free lunch!

Taunya Ahier is a teacher in the Toronto District School Board and a longtime supporter of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals.

Published: January 1, 2018