Tuesday, May 3, 2016


                                          by Fireweed for the Island Word, May 2016 issue

 5 dogs rescued by Soi Dog now in BC
Five lucky dogs rescued from the illegal dog meat trade in southeast Asia arrived in BC recently, attracting the kind of media attention hard to come by for Canadian-born canines.

Some 2 million homeless dogs already reside in this country, leading to approximately 600,000 being euthanized each year. Busy rescue transport operators AirAngels Canada are concerned about the fact that for every dog they are asked to help relocate here at home, they receive a minimum of three requests to import foreign-born dogs. “It's trendy to support local farmers and home grown, organic produce” they say in an online missive that questions the inconsistency of adopting companion animals from abroad. “We're proud to tell everyone at the dog park about the animal we've rescued from an exotic land, but did we consider the homeless pets in our own province and country?”

Of course it's fantastic news that Buster, Cherish, Trayat, Satia and Woodpecker have been blessed with a new lease on life. According to the Soi Dog Foundation, the Thai organization responsible for saving them, prior to 2011 some 500,000 stray dogs (and others!) were illegally exported to Vietnam for human consumption every year. Trucks intercepted en route to the border are still typically stacked with cages jam-packed with terrified animals. Many die from suffocation or other horrific injuries before they ever reach a slaughterhouse. Given the revulsion and outrage we feel over such cruelty, should we not be equally disgusted by the fact that the legal transport of chickens and other livestock right here in Canada results in similar suffering and mortality? Why is their fate any less disturbing?

photo from CETFA
It's been well documented that spent hens, for example, are very roughly handled, carried upside down several at a time, and crammed into crates for transport. Not only are bruising and broken limbs common place, an estimated 1.6% die in transit in Canada from such injuries or the extreme weather conditions to which they are exposed. Of course we are appalled by the dog meat trade first and foremost because dogs are off the menu in this area of the world. But selective compassion is absolutely socially constructed. Just as AirAngels Canada wants us to pay as much attention to the exploitation, neglect and premature deaths of Canadian dogs as we do to those killed for meat elsewhere, a growing number of animal activists are bearing witness as livestock transport trucks roll up to slaughterhouses in order to draw attention to the fate of the animals generally commodified for consumption in this country.

Anita Krajnc giving water to pigs at a
Toronto Pig Save vigil      
These conscientious folks are inspired by Anita Krajnc who co-founded Toronto Pig Save after encountering pigs on trucks bound for slaughter while out walking her dog. Recognizing an eerie similarity to her beloved companion in each set of eyes looking back through the slats in those vehicles, Krajnc knew she had to do something. Five years later, after providing water as an act of mercy to animals clearly suffering from heatstroke in a transport truck just outside of Fearman's Pork Inc. in Burlington, Ontario, Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief (and faced with the possibility of a ten year sentence). She'll be back in court this August with no intention of paying any fine, prepared to suffer imprisonment instead. Krajnc believes that treating living animals like pigs as property - “no different than a toaster” - is morally wrong and that compassion is not a crime.
Bill C 246 will
ban the sale of dog
 & cat fur
When it comes to protecting animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect, Canada's antiquated Criminal Code is woefully inadequate. Compassionate citizens would do well to urge their Members of Parliament to support Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith's private member's bill, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act. As Barbara Cartwright, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies explains, it aims to close loopholes in current animal cruelty provisions like those that “allow chronic hoarders, repeat abusers, puppy mill operators and dog fighting perpetrators to get off with a slap on the wrist.” At the heart of the Act she adds, “is the proposed creation of a new offence for individuals who cause unnecessary pain, suffering, or injury to an animal through gross negligence of the animals' welfare.” The Bill will prohibit shark finning in Canadian waters and ban the import of dislocated fins, and it will ban the sale of dog and cat fur, requiring animal fur products to be labeled with country of origin and species identified.

Contrary to the fear mongering from certain corners (namely industries and individuals who exploit animals and are therefore wary of welfare reforms), Bill C 246 is hardly radical. While I am whole-heartedly on Anita's side myself, I know we are a long way from affording rights to animals that would liberate them from their status as property, where applicable, under existing Canadian legislation. However, Bill C 246 will address some long-standing problems. Tune in to this excellent interview on Vancouver Co-op Radio's Animal Voices with Erskine-Smith, and find out how you can do your part to help make sure the Modernizing Animal Protection Act becomes law.

For additional details, please see MAY 2016 LINKS on the right hand side of this page. Now, here's a tasty Thai salad recipe to spice up your next picnic lunch, or to enjoy for supper on a warm summer evening... bon appetit!

SUMMER - THAI SALAD  (with thanks to Linda Wagner for the original recipe!)                                                
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup white or balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs. finely minced ginger
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. almond butter
2 Tbs. Hoison sauce
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. spicy chili oil (optional)
1 tsp. sriracha or more if you like it spicy!
(sriracha is a type of hot chili sauce)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
a bit of agave or maple syrup to taste
3 chopped green onions

thinly sliced red & orange bell peppers
thinly chopped or shredded kale and cabbage
shredded carrots, chopped green onions
1.5 cups frozen edamame, thawed
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 a lime (more to taste)

Combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar, screw on the lid and shake. Prepare your veggies and toss with your freshly squeezed lime juice. Add your coarsely chopped cashews, plate and serve with the dressing poured over top and garnished with green onions. Enjoy!

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