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Creating a Humane Canada: Interview with Barbara Cartwright (vegan), Part 2 of 3

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When Canada’s humane societies were founded, they had a broad mandate to protect both animals and all those who were considered vulnerable. Many countries, including France, the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, and Tanzania now recognize animals as sentient beings. In these countries, animals are no longer considered as “property.” Humane Canada hopes that Canada will soon follow suit.

“Recognizing sentience of animals in our legislative framework is critical. (The province of) Quebec has done it, which was great. They recognized it in their provincial legislation.” “So right now in Canada, there is no government oversight of farmed animals. And so, why we think that ‘ag gag’ legislation is dangerous and going in the complete opposite direction is because, if a person, a ‘whistle-blower,’ wants to come forward, because they see an act on a farm, this kind of legislation would deter them from doing it.” “There are significant amounts of messages in the COVID-19 crisis. But it isn’t the first. Zoonotic diseases are happening all the time, Ebola for example.” “But the way that we raise and interact with and slaughter animals is causing all of this trouble. It’s also causing a lot of the deforestation we see, the climate change problems we see. And so, COVID-19 should be our opportunity to really step back. We’re hearing a lot of ‘build back better.’ Well, the only way to ‘build back better’ is to build back more humane.” “And when we look to other countries where the crisis may have started, what we have to ask ourselves is, ‘Are we in the same weak position with factory farming?’ Because so much of the disease can spread so quickly in such closed-in spaces. It’s the same for humans.”

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