Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Calgary Stampede runs true to form

The date of Calgary's first agriculture fair was 1886, and in 1888 the present Exhibition lands were purchased on the Elbow River. That mean the Stampede's 130th anniversary will be in 2016 or 2018, depending on how you calculate its inception.

Victoria B.C.'s Times Colonist writes on July 9the of the 2014 Stampede:

"Horse dies in Calgary Stampede ... a 12 year old horse belonging to the team of Reg Johnstone collapsed after completing a run ..."

There's at least one every year, plus the injured, and the calves and bulls with yanked necks and twisted joints ...   Wouldn't it be great if Calgary Stampede celebrated its 130th Anniversary by deleting animal events from its roster of entertainment and agricutural shows, joining the world of modern opinion on animal welfare? Attitudes have changed since 1886; Calgary as a City should modernize its most famous event.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Law, Justice, and Whales

We assume that Canada honours its commitments regarding the CITES agreements about defending and preserving animal species at risk. We are mistaken: sadly, the present government is committed to finding loopholes that further its trading agenda.

Whales killed by Iceland despite the moratorium existing since 1986, the meat from which were rejected at ports in Finland and France, were sent as meat to Japan via Vancouver, BC, Canada. See the justification below from functionaries at Environment Canada, and Animal Lit's reply:

Dear Mr. Beale,


Thank you for your email explaining the workings of "WAAPRIITA" and the Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations, which was very informative. You have said that Canada does not have to honour the CITES agreement protecting endangered species, to which Canada is a signatory, if corpses of the species in question are "in Customs control" during transhipment through Canada (i.e. in the case of the whale meat shipped from Iceland to Japan via Canada, after European signatories of the CITES agreement had refused to accept it in their ports).

Leaving the bureaucratic machinations aside, I would like to reiterate my contention that Canada should not be supporting the killing of endangered animals by facilitating the safe passage of their remains through Canada by their killers. We should be honouring the spirit of the CITES agreement, rather than using narrow legalisms and loopholes that weaken both it and our own moral standing in the world.

The fact that Japan and Iceland have "entered reservations" allowing them to circumvent CITES and to profit from whale hunting, does not justify Canada's failure to protect endangered animals, nor justify its role in abetting a cruel, regressive and globally-reviled trade in whale meat.

My question to the Minister and the Prime Minister was: what side is Canada on -- the side of conservation or the side of whale-killing? Trade policies seem to indicate that the answer is killing. Do you think the public support the government in this? I believe we're talking about the difference between law and justice, and that the Canadian public has an inconvenient habit of favouring the latter.