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Kayak (Canada) - - CONTENTS -

We think about an­i­mals very dif­fer­ently now than in the past. Al­though many peo­ple have long felt it was im­por­tant to treat crea­tures fairly, there have also been many who thought hu­mans had the right to do what­ever they wanted to an­i­mals. For more than 150 years, there have been or­ga­ni­za­tions in Canada work­ing to pro­tect pets, farm an­i­mals and any other an­i­mals un­der peo­ple’s care.

Should an­i­mals have rights?

An­i­mal wel­fare is usu­ally thought of as the well­be­ing of an an­i­mal — whether it is taken care of prop­erly. An­i­mal rights is the idea that an an­i­mal has worth on its own, re­gard­less of its re­la­tion­ship to hu­mans. Some­one con­cerned about an­i­mal wel­fare might say that farm an­i­mals should have big, com­fort­able pens. Some­one fo­cused on an­i­mal rights might ar­gue that an­i­mals shouldn’t be in cages or pens at all.

Pre­vent­ing Cru­elty

To be hu­mane means to show care and kind­ness. That ex­plains why many of the groups that work to pro­tect an­i­mals are called hu­mane so­ci­eties. The first in Canada was the So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals, formed in Montreal in 1869. Soon many more SPCA or­ga­ni­za­tions sprang up across the coun­try. In 1957, the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of Hu­mane So­ci­eties formed.

From cats to cows, from gold­fish to goats, we own many dif­fer­ent kinds of an­i­mals. They might be pets, they might be farm an­i­mals Or they might live in a zoo. Ac­cord­ing to Cana­dian law. an­i­mals we own are prop­erty, like fur­ni­ture, books or a bike. What do you think our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties are to the an­i­mals we own?

Who’s in Charge?

In Canada, the govern­ment of your city, town or area is re­spon­si­ble for things like keep­ing stray an­i­mals off the streets and mak­ing rules about how many pets one per­son or fam­ily can own. The prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries can also make laws about how an­i­mals should be treated, but only the govern­ment of Canada can de­cide what is con­sid­ered a crime. There is a whole sec­tion of Cana­dian laws that sets out what is con­sid­ered cru­elty to an­i­mals and how it should be pun­ished.

Many hu­mane so­ci­eties in Canada run shel­ters where they look af­ter un­wanted an­i­mals, es­pe­cially cats and dogs. They are great places to go if you’re look­ing for a pet.

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