Position Statements
MISSION STATEMENT

As Canada’s voice for animal welfare, we drive positive, progressive change to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals. As the convener and representative of the largest animal welfare community in Canada, we advance the welfare of animals, with a strong national voice, promoting animal welfare interests and concerns to government, policy makers, industry and the public.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES
  1. CFHS believes that each animal possesses intrinsic value, remarkable complexity and inherent dignity and, as such, is deserving of respect and moral concern.
  2. CFHS advocates universal humane treatment, care and protection of all animals.
  3. CFHS insists that all animals used by humans be provided with high levels of care to ensure their health, comfort and behavioural needs.
  4. CFHS advocates habitat protection and enhancement for the well-being of animals in the wild.
HUMANENESS TOWARDS ANIMALS

Humaneness means treatment of an animal in a manner that ensures its welfare and well-being in circumstances where a human is or should be exercising care, custody, control or use of an animal. A person responsible for an animal must provide living conditions, necessities of life and care suitable to the circumstances and in accordance with the normal psychological and physical needs of the animal.

Humane treatment of an animal precludes cruelty and involves every possible effort to avoid or reduce pain, suffering or injury.

A humane death occurs when an animal is killed in a manner whereby it dies instantly without panic or pain or whereby it is rendered instantly unconscious with inevitable subsidence into death without regaining consciousness.

Humaneness involves sensitivity toward all life in compliance with ethical, moral and legal principles. Human members of the animal kingdom have the responsibility to be humane in the ways they act or fail to act with respect to other animals. Humans who have care, custody, control or use of animals must be diligent in exercising this responsibility.

CFHS has established detailed position statements on the following animal welfare issues:

Position Statement:

CFHS believes there are nothing but good reasons to sterilize dogs and cats and, therefore, strongly urges the spaying/neutering of all dogs and cats not part of a responsible breeding program.

CFHS supports early (prepubertal) spay/neuter of cats and dogs and recommends that all pet licensing authorities establish substantially higher rates for licensing of unsterilized versus sterilized dogs and cats.

CFHS recommends that all those involved in the sale or adoption of dogs and cats incorporate a spay/neuter program as part of their sale or adoption procedures.

Background:

Spay (female) and neuter (male) of dogs and cats is one of the most important aspects of reducing pet overpopulation by preventing the birth of unwanted offspring. It also carries behavioural and health benefits for dogs and cats, including the reduction of sexual behaviours (marking, aggression, roaming, etc.) as well as a reduction in the risk of some diseases (cancers, prostatic diseases). Spaying or neutering pets is an essential component of responsible pet ownership.

Most dogs and cats can be safely spayed/neutered from 8 weeks of age. As with all veterinary procedures, owners should consult with their veterinarian to discuss the implications of the optimum age for spay/neuter for their pet.

Providing a licensing rate differential has been proven to increase the number of spayed/neutered dogs and cats, thereby reducing the number of unwanted and abandoned pets, as well as the costs for municipal enforcement and animal control.

Position Statement:

CFHS endorses appropriate municipal animal control programs for companion animals and supports the differentiated licensing of companion animals as part of its encouragement of spay/neuter programs. Additionally, CFHS, in consideration for the safety of the animals, is opposed to companion animals being allowed to run at large. 

CFHS further believes that cats kept as companion animals should be kept inside. If they are allowed outside they should be confined to a totally enclosed outdoor exercise area that has been prepared for their use, or be under the control of a responsible person. 

CFHS opposes the mandatory surrender of animals from pounds for research, testing or teaching purposes.

Position Statement:

CFHS accepts that euthanasia of companion animals is a necessary and humane means to end the lives of animals that are in severe or incurable physical distress or for animals with severe behavioural problems, such as aggression, that pose a threat to humans or other animals. CFHS also acknowledges that open admission shelters and animal control agencies are too often faced with the difficult decision of euthanizing healthy, adoptable animals rather than turning animals away when they have no more space for all the animals in need in their community.

Promoting responsible pet ownership and companion animal adoption, as well as reducing irresponsible breeding are the most effective ways of addressing pet overpopulation and reducing the burden on SPCAs, humane societies and municipal animal services.

CFHS supports the use of only humane methods of euthanasia carried out by trained personnel to ensure the animal experiences no more than minimal discomfort, fear or anxiety.

Background:

Humane societies, SPCAs, rescue groups and municipal animal control services all play an important role in providing a safe haven for animals in their communities to be reunited with their owners or to find new homes. CFHS applauds these groups and joins them in promoting companion animal adoption and responsible pet ownership, which includes spay/neuter, permanent identification, lifetime veterinary care, appropriate nutrition, grooming, and shelter, and adequate human/animal socialization.

When shelters reach the point of overcrowding, it threatens the welfare of all animals in a facility due to stress, weakened immune systems and increased risk of disease transmission. In such cases, euthanasia decisions are made in the best interests of the overall population as well as the individual animals.

In concert with humane organizations and veterinary associations across North America, CFHS considers euthanasia by injection of sodium pentobarbital to be the preferred method. CFHS acknowledges that for reasons of limited financial resources and lack of access to drugs or to veterinarians, many shelters are unable to use this controlled substance. There are other methods that are acceptable when performed according to strict standards and protocols. No matter what method is used, euthanasia must only be performed by properly trained and certified personnel.

Position statement:

CFHS is opposed to surgical alterations of companion animals for cosmetic reasons (i.e.: tail docking, ear cropping, etc.) and supports the abolition of such practices.

Background:

Such procedures do not benefit the animal in any way and may be detrimental to the animal’s health and welfare. These cosmetic procedures expose the animal to the risk of anaesthetic and possible complications. CFHS encourages breed associations and the Canadian Kennel Club to change their breed standards so that cosmetic procedures are not required.

Position Statement:

CFHS is opposed to the selective breeding of animals that produce changes in bodily form and/or function that are detrimental to their health or quality of life.

Position statement: 

CFHS is opposed to the trade or keeping of wild or exotic animals as pets.

Definitions

A wild or exotic animal is any animal, native or non-native to Canada, that has not been subject to domestication through many generations of selective and controlled breeding and thereby adapted to living in close association with humans.

Background/Rationale

  • Domestic animal species have been selectively bred and managed for hundreds and thousands of years based on preferred attributes such as temperament and behaviour. Nondomestic animal species are often unpredictable, potentially dangerous and, by reason of these factors as well as by reason of their own needs, are unsuitable to keep as pets.
  • Wild or exotic animals are often acquired without full knowledge of the specific physiological, psychological, social, environmental, behavioural and exercise needs of the species. Many of these needs cannot be met when these animals are kept as pets.
  • The trade or keeping of wild or exotic animals as pets causes suffering and death through capture, transport, abandonment and improper care.
  • Escape, release or abandonment of wild or exotic animals may threaten animal and human health and the viability of native wildlife.

Position Statement:

CFHS condemns the mass breeding of companion animals for commercial sale and urges the public to learn how to recognize and avoid these profitable but uncaring and unscrupulous operations, which have little regard for the welfare of the animals, as evidenced by the suffering and exploitation involved. CFHS further opposes the sale of animals in pet stores because of the contribution to an already tragic overpopulation of pets and encourages pet stores to support satellite adoptions with humane societies, SPCAs and rescue groups. CFHS recommends adoption from local humane societies, SPCAs and rescues as a reputable source of companion animals.

Definition

Puppies are the most commonly known species involved in mass breeding. As a member of the National Companion Animal Coalition, CFHS accepts the NCAC definition of a puppy mill:

The term Puppy Mill generally refers to a high-volume, sub-standard dog breeding operation, which sells purebred or mixed breed dogs, directly or indirectly, to unsuspecting buyers.

Some of the characteristics common to puppy mills are:

  • sub-standard health and/or environmental conditions;
  • sub-standard animal care, treatment and/or socialization;
  • sub-standard breeding practices which lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders;
  • erroneous or falsified certificates of registration, pedigrees and/or genetic background

These conditions may also exist in small volume or single-breed establishments.

NOTE: There is currently no recognized definition of commercial breeding operations for other species; however the CFHS believes the characteristics would be similar for kittens, rabbits, hamsters, birds or any other mass produced animal.

Background

Mass breeding operations thrive because animal breeding is not adequately regulated, allowing breeders to profit from their operations with no accountability for the well-being of the animals in their care. Further, people continue to buy pets on impulse without doing enough research. Mass breeders generally sell their animals to pet stores, often through brokers, as well as directly to consumers through classified advertisements in newspapers and on the internet through “buy and sell” websites.

When people buy these animals, they are supporting proliferation of unscrupulous and inhumane operations. The CFHS urges those looking for a pet to do plenty of research, visit breeding facilities, viewing of the bitch and/or sire and screen sellers by asking questions about their animals, including breeding practices, health and genetic issues, temperament, etc.

Position Statement:

CFHS strongly advocates the adoption of animals from reputable shelters, rescue organizations or their satellite adoption centres. CFHS also accepts the acquisition of animals from responsible breeders (see definition).

CFHS condemns puppy mills (see definition) and opposes the sale of cats and dogs in markets or pet stores other than satellite adoption centres and also disapproves of large-scale commercial breeders and ‘backyard breeders’.

CFHS strongly cautions against using the internet as the source of a companion animal without carrying out reference checks, extensive telephone interviews and other methods of ensuring the source is a responsible breeder or shelter.

Background:

CFHS urges all shelters and breeders to fully screen potential adopters/buyers and carry out temperament assessments of the animals to ensure the placement of animals into appropriate and caring homes. CFHS also strongly urges prospective companion animal owners to fully research the species and breed of choice (or mix of breeds) to ensure they are well informed about and prepared to meet the needs of their chosen companion animal. Prospective companion animal owners interested in purchasing from a breeder should also carefully screen breeders and their facilities to ensure they purchase only from responsible breeders (see definition).

CFHS advocates that companion animal stores restrict their sale of live animals to domesticated and captive-bred birds, fish and small mammals other than cats and dogs. CFHS believes that the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores (other than shelter adoption centres) promotes impulse buying and is an outlet for puppy and kitten mill animals. In addition, the environment in a retail store is not appropriate to properly meet the needs of young animals.

The internet can be a good source of information for prospective companion animal owners to research breeds, breeders, etc. However, it also provides a perfect forum for unscrupulous breeders or brokers to operate virtually anonymously with little fear of exposure. The responsible purchase or adoption of a companion animal involves a great deal of personal interaction between the seller or shelter and the animal’s potential owner. In addition, it is important for the potential owner to see the facilities where the animals are housed and to meet the animals. Without this interaction, it is difficult for prospective companion animal owners to determine the type of breeder or shelter with which they are dealing.

Definition of a Responsible Breeder:

Responsible breeders are individuals who have focused their efforts on one or a select few breeds and, through breeding, historical research and ongoing study, mentoring relationships, club memberships, showing, raising and training of these breeds, have become knowledgeable about their health, heritable defects, temperament and behaviour. Responsible breeders are well suited to educate and screen potential buyers/adopters and provide follow-up support after purchase or adoption. Responsible breeders take lifetime responsibility for the animals they have bred.

How to recognize a responsible breeder:

  • Breeds purebred dogs or cats of only one or two breeds and does not have more animals than they can provide with good care
  • Gladly shows you their entire facility where dogs or cats are kept and introduces you to all their dogs or cats – both adults and puppies or kittens
  • Their breeding dogs or cats and offspring are healthy, well socialized and appear to be receiving good care
  • Screens and counsels potential purchasers, discussing positive and negative aspects of the animal/breed
  • Has working knowledge of genetics and will talk to potential purchasers about heritable disorders in the breed and how they are working to prevent them. (Every breed has tendencies toward certain heritable disorders.)
  • Screens all breeding stock for heritable diseases and removes affected animals from breeding program. Affected animals are spayed/neutered and may be placed as companion animals as long as health issues are disclosed to buyers/adopters
  • Provides puppy or kitten buyers with proper paperwork, including Canadian Kennel Club registration papers (for dogs), pedigree information, vaccination certificates and copies of health clearances for the sire and dam of the litter
  • Bases breeding frequency on mother’s health, age, condition and recuperative abilities and does not breed extremely young or old animals
  • Raises their puppies or kittens in their home where they are provided with plenty of care and socialization to people, household noises, etc.
  • Ensures neonates are kept clean, warm, fed, vetted and with the mother until weaned; puppies or kittens don’t go to new homes before 8 weeks of age
  • Complies with all applicable laws regulating breeders in their jurisdiction
  • Never sells puppies or kittens to a companion animal dealer or pet store
  • Offers guidance and support to puppy or kitten buyers and will take back any animal of their breeding, at any time and for any reason
  • Provides an adoption/purchase contract in plain language that spells out breeder’s responsibilities, purchaser’s responsibilities, health guarantees and return policy
  • Provides accurate and reliable health, vaccination and pedigree information for the puppy or kitten

Definition of a Puppy Mill:

Definition as Agreed by the National Companion Animal Coalition April 24, 2002

The term Puppy Mill generally refers to a high-volume, sub-standard dog breeding operation, which sells purebred or mixed breed dogs, directly or indirectly, to unsuspecting buyers. Some of the characteristics common to puppy mills are:

  • sub-standard health and/or environmental conditions;
  • sub-standard animal care, treatment and/or socialization;
  • sub-standard breeding practices which lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders;
  • erroneous or falsified certificates of registration, pedigrees and/or genetic background

 Note: These conditions may also exist in small volume or single-breed establishments.

Definition of a Satellite Adoption Centre:

A satellite adoption centre is a pet store or other location that does not sell cats and dogs, but instead has cats and dogs from a humane society, SPCA or rescue organization available for adoption. Interested adopters must be approved under the same adoption screening process that the society has in place for all animals adopted from the society.

Position Statement:

CFHS supports the proper identification of all companion animals with visible methods such as licenses or tags, as well as permanent identification such as microchips or humanely applied tattoos. CFHS supports microchipping as the preferred method of permanent identification.

Background:

Lack of proper identification prevents the majority of companion animals from being reunited with their owners. Identification of companion animals is a necessary requirement for the successful return of lost companion animals. CFHS recommends that the implantation of microchips only be carried out by veterinarians or qualified persons knowledgeable regarding the procedure and this system of identification. The CFHS supports ISO technology for microchips as established by the National Companion Animal Coalition.

Position Statement:

CFHS believes that the acquisition of an animal should be a deliberate and conscious decision to influence the future well-being of the animal. CFHS is therefore opposed to the awarding of any live animal as a prize or unsolicited present.

Position statement:

CFHS is opposed to the declawing of cats, but reluctantly accepts declawing if it is the only alternative to having the cat euthanized. CFHS believes it is the responsibility of cat owners to become educated on the subject of declawing and its alternatives. The declawing of cats should be a last resort when behaviour modification has been ineffective and euthanasia or abandonment will result if the behaviour does not cease. CFHS strongly supports the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s position statement on Onychectomy (Declawing) of the Domestic Feline.

Background:

  • Declawing is an unnecessary procedure that may involve a painful recovery for the animal – as with any surgical procedure, there are inherent risks involved such as anesthetic complications, hemorrhaging, and pain.
  • Scratching is a normal feline behaviour – owners are therefore responsible for providing suitable items for normal scratching behaviour such as scratching posts, cardboard boxes etc. and reward good scratching behaviour with positive reinforcement
  • Too often, cats are declawed before owners educate themselves and research humane alternatives – destructive clawing behaviour can often be curbed
  • Declawed cats should be housed indoors at all times
  • Appropriate claw care (trimming the claws every 1-2 weeks) should be provided to prevent injury or damage to household items
  • Scientific data does indicate that cats that have destructive clawing behavior are more likely to be euthanized, released, or abandoned, thereby contributing to the homeless cat population. When scratching behavior is an issue as to whether or not a particular cat can remain as an acceptable household pet in a particular home, declawing may be considered

Position statement: 

CFHS recognizes that feral cats cannot be defined as ‘wildlife’ in that they are not a naturally-occurring wild species. Rather, feral cats are descended from domestic animals that, due to human neglect, have been forced to live as wild animals. As such, their care is society’s responsibility.

Given the poor quality of life that feral cats typically lead, as well as broader concerns such as environmental impact and public health, the goal of feral cat management programs should be to gradually eliminate feral cat colonies by a process of "aging out" their members. In this scenario, colonies would be maintained in a healthy state and prevented from reproducing, leading to the eventual attrition of members.

CFHS supports a multi-faceted approach to dealing with feral cats, including: a TNVR (trap, spay/neuter, vaccinate and release) program, including, where appropriate, subsequent monitoring and the euthanasia of diseased animals whose health is deemed unrecoverable or whose illness poses immediate jeopardy to other cats (specifically, felines that test positive for infectious FELEUK and FIV and/or who exhibit definitive behaviour consistent with rabies).

CFHS is convinced that, to be effective, any feral cat management program must address the underlying cause(s) of feral cat colonies. This can be accomplished by an ongoing public awareness and education initiative that would emphasize, among other things, the consequences of allowing cats to roam freely. The goal of such an initiative would be to lower the incidence of stray/feral cats, thereby preventing new colonies and also the re-population of existing groups.

Definition:
A feral cat is an unowned, free-roaming cat that has never lived with humans.

Position Statement:

Owners of any breed of dog must understand that any dog can bite, that no dog is completely trustworthy and that close supervision is essential when children are in the presence of a dog. Owners who choose breeds or mixes of breeds that have been historically used for guarding, fighting or chasing prey must understand and appropriately manage the potential risks associated with these dogs.

There are many contributing factors to most dog bite incidents, including poor breeding practices, inadequate socialization and training, health or behavioural issues, inadequate supervision and/or control of the dog.

CFHS does not support laws banning individual breeds. Apart from the issues noted above, consistent and fair enforcement of such laws can be difficult due to the challenge of reliably identifying the breed or breed mix. Breed specific legislation cannot take into account the issue of developing or newly introduced breeds or breed mixes. In any event, determination of a dog’s breed or breed mix is not necessarily indicative or determinative of an individual dog’s temperament or propensity to aggression.

CFHS supports legislation and programs that encourage informed, responsible dog ownership including spay/neuter, licensing, permanent identification, leash laws, socializing and humane obedience training. CFHS believes dog owners should be held accountable for any harm or damage their pets do to people, property or other animals.

Position Statement
CFHS is opposed to compounds for the training and trialing of hunting dogs because they cause significant stress, injury and sometimes death to the prey and dogs.

Definition of compounds for the training and trialing of hunting dogs
Fenced compounds are stocked with wildlife for the purpose of training or trialing hunting dogs. The wildlife species most often used are coyote, fox and rabbit.

Background/Rationale

  • CFHS is opposed to any hunting of animals with the help of dogs to harry captive animals.
  • CFHS is concerned that the wild animals, confined to the compound with no way of escape, are subjected to extreme stress, injury and sometimes death caused when chased by dogs.
  • CFHS is concerned that captive-bred wild animals are used to stock these compounds 
    Such animals have reduced flight response and instincts with which to defend themselves.
  • CFHS is concerned that there is no way for animals to escape from these compounds.

Position

CFHS accepts that euthanasia of companion animals is a necessary and humane means to end the lives of animals that are in severe or incurable physical distress or for animals with severe behavioural problems, such as aggression, that pose a threat to humans or other animals. CFHS also acknowledges that open admission shelters and animal control agencies are too often faced with the difficult decision of euthanizing healthy, adoptable animals rather than turning animals away when they have no more space for all the animals in need in their community.

Promoting responsible pet ownership and companion animal adoption, as well as reducing irresponsible breeding are the most effective ways of addressing pet overpopulation and reducing the burden on SPCAs, humane societies and municipal animal services.

CFHS supports the use of only humane methods of euthanasia carried out by trained personnel to ensure the animal experiences no more than minimal discomfort, fear or anxiety.

Background

Humane societies, SPCAs, rescue groups and municipal animal control services all play an important role in providing a safe haven for animals in their communities to be reunited with their owners or to find new homes. CFHS applauds these groups and joins them in promoting companion animal adoption and responsible pet ownership, which includes spay/neuter, permanent identification, lifetime veterinary care, appropriate nutrition, grooming, and shelter, and adequate human/animal socialization.

When shelters reach the point of overcrowding, it threatens the welfare of all animals in a facility due to stress, weakened immune systems and increased risk of disease transmission. In such cases, euthanasia decisions are made in the best interests of the overall population as well as the individual animals.

In concert with humane organizations and veterinary associations across North America, CFHS considers euthanasia by injection of sodium pentobarbital to be the preferred method. CFHS acknowledges that for reasons of limited financial resources and lack of access to drugs or to veterinarians, many shelters are unable to use this controlled substance. There are other methods that are acceptable when performed according to strict standards and protocols. No matter what method is used, euthanasia must only be performed by properly trained and certified personnel.

CFHS accepts only those practices for care, management and use of farm animals which provide high levels of care for the animals, protect them from suffering at all stages of their lives, respect the welfare of individual animals and provide for the animals’ physical and psychological well-being and behavioural needs.

Position Statement

CFHS accepts the raising and marketing of animals for food and other products where there is a standard of care that ensures the welfare of the animals and believes that the standards set out in the Recommended Codes of Practice for Farm Animals are the minimum levels of acceptable care and handling of all livestock.

The position of the Federation is that while it recognizes that literally millions of animals are slaughtered for food each year, that it should be done as humanely as possible, with no pain to the animal. The Meat Inspections Act requires every operator and every person engaged in the handling and slaughtering of a food animal in a registered establishment shall comply with Sections 61.1 to 80 of the Meat Inspection Regulations.

CFHS has great concern about animal welfare in illegal slaughterhouse operations, provincially licensed abattoirs and animal transportation operations.

CFHS is thus opposed to inhumane methods of slaughter.

(Sources: Meat Inspection Act, 1990; BC SPCA; Alberta Humane Society; Ontario SPCA)

Position Statement

The CFHS recognizes that horses are slaughtered in Canada for the meat market. The CFHS defines a humane death as one that occurs when an animal is killed in a manner whereby it dies instantly without panic or pain or whereby it is rendered instantly unconscious with inevitable subsidence into death without regaining consciousness. In order for horse slaughter to be considered humane, slaughter plants and government regulators must provide evidence that the facilities and methods used are appropriate for horses, causing at most, a minimal amount of momentary pain or stress, as measured by legitimate monitoring of welfare indicators such as vocalizations, instances of slipping or falling, and stun efficacy.

The CFHS believes it is irresponsible for a horse owner who acquires an animal for recreational purposes to indiscriminately send such an animal to auction or slaughter, rather than placing it with another suitable recreational owner or having it euthanized on-farm.

Position Statement

The CFHS advocates only those farming practices that provide good welfare for the animals raised. The Society strongly encourages farmers to strive to meet the Five Freedoms by employing management practices and housing systems that meet both the physiological and psychological needs of the animals.

In particular, the CFHS supports the replacement of all farming practices that cause pain, injury, stress, and negative emotional states such as fear and frustration, with practices that minimize these effects, and provide farm animals with opportunities to express behaviours that promote well-being.

BACKGROUND
The CFHS is opposed to any farming practice that leads to injury, stress or any form of suffering in the farmed animals. This would include:

  • raising animals of any species at high stocking densities, which compromise animal welfare;
  • breeding animals of any species to accentuate certain physical characteristics when the outcome compromises animal welfare;
  • housing any animal in an environment with flooring, penning or lack of bedding that might lead to injury, or with poor ventilation, inadequate temperature control or poor sanitation that might lead to reduced health;
  • housing any animal in an environment that does not allow the expression of strongly motivated behaviour, or under poor lighting that does not allow normal vision;
  • feeding diets that are inappropriate for the species and may therefore compromise the animals’ welfare or using drugs routinely to support an inappropriate husbandry system.

It therefore follows that specific practices to which the CFHS is opposed include:

  • confining egg-laying hens in battery cages;
  • raising veal calves entirely in individual crates that restrict freedom of movement;
  • keeping dairy cows continuously tethered in tie-stalls without regular daily periods of exercise;
  • keeping sows tethered or in crates for the duration of gestation;
  • force-feeding waterfowl for the production of foie gras.

For specific guidelines regarding which management and housing practices are deemed acceptable by CFHS, please consult the SPCA Certified Standards.

The Five Freedoms:
The Five Freedoms describe conditions that must be fulfilled in order to prevent the suffering of domesticated animals in human care. We acknowledge that absolute provision of these freedoms may not be possible, but we expect all animal guardians to strive to provide them.

The Five Freedoms are:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst;
  2. Freedom from pain, injury, and disease;
  3. Freedom from distress;
  4. Freedom from discomfort;
  5. Freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being.

Position Statement

CFHS is opposed to the pain and suffering in the raising and killing of animals for the production of fur. If fur farming continues, CFHS insists that all fur farming must at least comply with existing codes of practice, and calls for the immediate upgrading of these codes. Fur farms must provide adequately for the animals’ needs in keeping with the nature of the species. For example, cage characteristics must be improved to meet the needs of the animal.

CFHS recommends formal training and education based on national standards of all fur farmers and employees with the expectation that the greater the knowledge of the breeding cycles, ethology and nutritional needs of the animals being raised, the greater the consideration for them.

The methods of killing must be appropriate to the species, in all cases producing immediate unconsciousness without pain or panic and inevitable subsidence to death without the regaining of consciousness.

Position Statement
CFHS believes wild animals should be free to live naturally in the wild and therefore is opposed to game farming and game ranching.

Definition
Game farming and game ranching involve the raising of native and non-native animals such as deer, elk, caribou, reindeer, moose, bison, emus and ostriches for a variety of products, including meat, hides, feathers and antlers. Game farming involves intensive, small-pasture production of wild animals; game ranching involves extensive, wide-ranging production.

Background/Rationale

  • Wild animals should not be concentrated into unnatural densities in confined areas. Furthermore, the handling and restraint of these animals increase the stress already inherent in existing intensive farming practices.
  • Wild animals should not be deprived of basic ethological needs or normal sensory stimulation, as results from de-antlering.
  • De-antlering causes undue pain and stress, particularly if done without anaesthetic, veterinary supervision, appropriate restraint and appropriate post-operative pain relief, and is therefore inhumane. De-antlering is the annual process of cutting off the antlers of restrained cervid males, such as deer and elk, for their velvet. Velvet antlers consist of living tissue with a dense concentration of blood vessels and highly sensitive nerves.
  • Transportation of game animals between sites or for slaughter (which typically does not occur on site) causes stress and may cause injury or mortality. Problems occur for several reasons including: inappropriate assembling, loading and unloading; improper footing; motion; rough or prolonged travel; over-crowding or carrying animals too loosely. Inexperienced handlers and vehicles inappropriate to the species are major contributing factors to these problems. Transporting animals between regions also poses a potential disease hazard for local wild populations. CFHS recommends that if game animals are to be slaughtered, that they be killed humanely on site.
  • CFHS opposes all imports of non-native game animals as they pose an ongoing hazard to native wildlife, domestic animals and humans. For example, certain diseases and parasites cannot be readily detected in live animals. As well, animals that escape may interbreed with native wild animals, denigrating the purity of the wild gene pool.
  • Game farming and game ranching, whether of native or non-native species, pose several other problems among which CFHS is concerned that:
    • Poaching may increase, giving rise to uncontrollable killing of wild native species because of the market value of game farm and game ranch animals.
    • Official sanction of trade in wild animal parts may increase the demand for parts from other species, including those already threatened or endangered.
    • Overgrazing and overbrowsing may occur because of confinement.
    • Soil may become contaminated by disease organisms.
    • The migration of native wild animals may be disrupted by large farm ranches.
    • Large tracts of public lands may become privatized or become shooting reserves, thus depriving native wildlife of their natural habitat.
    • Competing and predatory species may be eliminated from the habitat

Position Statement

Whereas genetic engineering has profound effects on humans, animals, plants and the environment:

  • CFHS is deeply concerned about the rapid increase in the ability to manipulate living organisms through genetic engineering, and its concomitant ethical implications.
  • CFHS believes that transgenic manipulation denies the intrinsic value, nature and meaning of each species of living thing and is therefore strongly opposed to the manipulation and patenting of such animals.
  • CFHS supports stringent regulatory controls on the biotechnology industry and urgently seeks national and international debate by government, industry, animal protection organizations and the public on the ethical, environmental, economic and social implications of genetic engineering.
  1. Marine Mammal Protection
  2. Protection of Marine Environment
  3. Marine Mammal Harassment
  4. Commercial Seal Hunt
  • CFHS opposes any confinement of animals that causes them physical or mental pain or suffering, or fails to meet their health, behavioural and environmental needs;
  • CFHS believes the capture and confinement of large marine mammals does not meet these needs and accordingly causes them to suffer. CFHS is working to prevent the capture of these animals for exhibition in aquaria and similar public displays;
  • CFHS supports all steps, including the passage of appropriate legislation, which afford greater protection for marine mammals in their natural habitat.
  • CFHS supports and encourages public education about large marine mammals, provided such efforts do not involve removing these animals from, or disturbing them in, their natural environment or family groups.

CFHS supports and encourages efforts, both domestically and internationally, to eliminate the discarding and loss at sea of netting and non-biodegradable materials. CFHS supports and encourages modifications to fishing gear which will reduce the hazard to marine life caused by lost nets.

CFHS recognizes and supports the activity of watching whales, including dolphins and other marine mammals in their natural habitat. Such observation develops understanding and concern for these highly developed creatures.

CFHS also recognizes the potential threat of harassment from excessive or uncontrolled marine mammal watching. Where appropriate, CFHS promotes land based whale watching as an alternative to ocean going tours.

CFHS supports the development of regulations, guidelines, and codes of conduct for the observation of marine mammals, as well as public education on behaviours of these species and their sensitivity to disturbance.

CFHS supports the creation of marine life sanctuaries wherein no activity (such as commercial activity, harvesting, tours, sport fishing, recreational boating) is allowed. Such sanctuaries would provide marine mammals and other aquatic life with places which preclude activities detrimental to such life.

January 1994

CFHS is opposed to the commercial hunting of seals because it is impossible to ensure humane killing due to the methods used and the unstable environment in which the killing is performed.

The current standard methods of killing seals, by hakapik or rifle, have not been proven to consistently result in a quick death with minimal suffering. Videotape observations collected by seal hunt observers indicate that between 7% and 30% (Daoust et al and IFAW, respectively) of attempts to kill seals by shooting and clubbing were not successful in achieving unconsciousness on the first attempt. CFHS considers this to be an unacceptable margin of error. Furthermore, CFHS has concerns regarding the suffering of seals not killed instantly on the first shot by a firearm. Some of the seals that are not killed on the first shot escape into the water and die painfully from their injuries.

The killing of the animals happens on floating ice pans in the ocean which creates a highly mobile and unpredictable environment unlike a slaughter house where the environment can be controlled and monitored. When rifles are shot from moving boats at escaping seals or when the animals are chased across moving ice pans it is unlikely a seal will be stunned effectively with a single blow or shot – a necessary measure of humane slaughter.

CFHS recognizes the importance of biology studies within the elementary and secondary school curricula. Such studies should be designed to instill in students an interest in and respect for all living things, as well as an appreciation for the uniqueness, complexity and inherent dignity of each individual organism. To meet those objectives, biology studies at the pre-college level should focus on animals as living, sentient creatures with intrinsic value, stressing their behaviour, life patterns, and relationship with the environment.

CFHS opposes the use of animals in school-sponsored or approved experiments, lessons, or projects that: interfere with the normal health or development of the animals; constitute major manipulation of the animals’ behaviour or environment; or cause pain, fear, anxiety, or discomfort.

CFHS believes that experiments and activities involving live animals should be limited to observations of the normal living patterns, behaviour, growth, and development of domestic animals, or wild animals in the free living state or in those zoos or aquaria which maintain animals in suitable naturalistic environments which meet the health, emotional and behavioural needs of each species of animal.

CFHS believes that under certain conditions, where significant educational benefits can be derived, the presence of animals in schools can be beneficial to students while providing for the well-being of the animals. Where small animals whose habitat can be easily and properly simulated in a classroom setting are brought into the classroom for observation over a brief period of time, proper provision must be made for their physical and mental well-being. The necessary requirements for their physical and mental well-being include:

  • that a responsible adult is required to provide for the welfare and husbandry of the animals;
  • that a suitable environment is provided;
  • that provision can be made for suitable housing, husbandry and veterinary care at all times including weekends and during holidays;
  • that any contact between pupils and animals is a supervised and controlled activity;
  • that the animals are given adequate “rest” periods away from disturbance;
  • that any animals kept are prevented from breeding;
  • that when they leave the school, the animals’ continued well-being is ensured.

CFHS believes that vivisection and dissection are unnecessary and inconsistent with the development of a general appreciation and respect for living organisms and is, therefore, unacceptable at the pre-college level. Where dissection does take place, the animal should have been previously humanely slaughtered for human consumption or other valid purpose. CFHS is opposed to the sacrifice of animals solely for the purpose of dissection in elementary or secondary schools. CFHS encourages the use of alternatives to vivisection and dissection, such as computer simulations, models and other resources.

Position Statement

CFHS opposes the surgical mutilation of animals, except procedures performed by a licensed veterinarian to alleviate suffering, or for reasons of injury or health. Unnecessary surgical procedures done purely for cosmetic purposes such as tail docking or ear cropping in pets or to disguise natural imperfections of any animal, which are painful, distressful, or restrictive of the function of the body part involved, cannot be condoned. The latter does not include the neutering of dogs and cats by a veterinarian as a pet population control measure.

Some procedures that are presently utilized in livestock husbandry, such as castration of cattle, swine, sheep and goats; tail docking of swine and sheep; dehorning of cattle and goats should be performed in a humane fashion in the first few weeks of life. A licensed veterinarian should perform all castrations of horses with suitable chemical anesthesia and restraint. Dehorning of adult animals should be performed by a Veterinarian using local anesthetic (corneal nerve block) and possibly sedation.

CFHS is committed to the elimination of painful invasive practices and urges the agricultural community to search for acceptable alternatives. We oppose the tail docking of dairy cattle. Such a procedure violates the standard of care which is acceptable in animal management practices.

The declawing of cats and debarking of dogs can only be condoned if done after consultation as to other options with a licensed veterinarian in circumstances when the animal would otherwise be denied a home or face euthanasia.

(Sources: BC SPCA; Saskatchewan SPCA; American Veterinary Medicine Association and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Committee Position Statements)

Position Statement:

Where trapping is carried out for any reason, CFHS accepts only the use of trapping devices that cause prompt irreversible loss of consciousness leading to death, or cage/box-type traps which work on the principle of live capture that causes the least pain, suffering, stress or injury to the trapped animal. CFHS opposes restraining traps that are designed to hold an animal by a limb or other body part. Only the most humane trap for a particular species should be used.

CFHS acknowledges the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) for specific fur-bearing species, and encourages its application, enforcement and continued improvement. Trapping of all species not included in the AIHTS, as a minimum, should be subject to the same trapping criteria. The AIHTS and the ISO Standards for Killing and Restraining Traps must be upgraded every five years to reflect improved criteria applicable to humane trapping devices and sets.

Background:

CFHS acknowledges that animals — wild or domestic — are trapped for a number of reasons, including for their fur, to control animals in conflict with humans (including an activity commonly referred to as “pest control”) and as a population management strategy.

Notwithstanding the improvements resulting from the application of AIHTS and ISO trapping criteria, many trapped animals will continue to suffer from injury, pain, trauma and suffering in existing restraining and killing traps, reflecting the need for concerted efforts to develop and implement the use of improved and species-specific killing traps that cause instant death or rapid, irreversible loss of consciousness and insensibility before death.

Recommendations:

CFHS urges trapping organizations and government officials in Canada to:

  • Exercise responsible leadership and to enact and enforce all appropriate humane trapping legislation, regulations and Trappers’ Code of Ethics;
  • Provide comprehensive education of new trappers in humane trapping practices, and to provide regular mandatory upgrading programs;
  • Require that:
    • set traps be inspected at least once every 24 hours, and at least once every 6 hours in urbanized areas between dawn and dusk;
    • only cage/box-type traps be used within 1,000 meters of a residence in urbanized areas,
    • all persons commercially engaged in the resolution of human/wildlife conflict concerns be licenced and be required to complete appropriate educational requirements equivalent to those applicable to licensed trappers;
    • all traps, except cage/box-type traps and instant-kill rodent traps, only be available from authorized outlets to licenced trappers;
    • the sale and use of glue boards or similar devices be prohibited;
    • the sale of restraining traps be gradually phased out as killing traps to replace them are developed and approved;
    • clear instructions be provided with all traps explaining legal requirements, proper setting, use, location, environmental predator protection, visitation periods and release or dispatch of trapped animals;
    • trappers regularly check and maintain their traps in good working order to ensure proper functioning and to minimize injury to animals in the traps.
  • Provide the resources to develop and test traps that:
    • improve the welfare of trapped animals, particularly of animals captured in “restraining traps”, taking into account adequate standards of care, such as shelter and water for animals in live traps;
    • will replace live-holding traps (which are not cage or box-type traps) with traps that produce instant death or rapid onset of irreversible loss of consciousness leading to death ;
    • minimize the capture of non-targeted species;
    • provide for user safety

Position Statement:

CFHS supports all steps, including the passage of appropriate legislation, which afford a greater degree of protection for wild animals and their habitat, and reduce the infliction of pain and suffering upon them. CFHS deplores inordinate destruction of wildlife habitat and ecosystems, as well as pollution of the environment.

CFHS is opposed to the use of controlling agents that cause animal suffering (e.g., poisons, chemical agents, certain traps, etc.), and accepts only those methods of capture or killing which cause minimal pain, suffering or distress to the animals.

CFHS supports wildlife management systems designed to maintain sustainable wildlife populations.

Position Statement:

CFHS accepts the hunting of non-endangered or threatened wild animals only if carried out in a humane, responsible and sustainable manner by qualified and experienced hunters, abiding by applicable laws and regulations, and with minimal infliction of pain, suffering or distress. CFHS believes hunting should only be carried out for the purposes of individual consumption or well-reasoned purposes.

CFHS strongly opposes any animal hunt in which the target animal is confined or tame or in which the hunter fires on an animal with a remotely-controlled device.

In addition, CFHS is opposed to the use of lead shot, since the spent pellets are likely to be ingested by waterfowl and raptors, resulting in acute and chronic lead poisoning. CFHS also opposes the hunting of animals with dogs where the dogs are used to harass wild animals.

Background:
CFHS encourages the implementation of stringent regulations for hunting, including mandatory training, a minimum age in line with firearms regulations, proper storage of weapons and other provisions. CFHS also advocates the conservation of wildlife habitat and the implementation of special measures to preserve species that are endangered, threatened or rare.

Penned or "canned" hunting involves stocking a confined area with animals for the purpose of being shot by hunters. This practice involves no sport and no skill on the part of the hunter. The animals have no chance of escape and are often tame. Furthermore, penned hunts may use exotic animals that can present ecological and disease risks to native wildlife.

Internet hunting allows hunters to track and shoot animals remotely, by way of a camera and rifle controlled by computer.

Position Statement:

CFHS opposes and seeks to eliminate the trade in wildlife parts due to the individual animal suffering, the threat to species and to established populations.

Background:

The trade in wildlife parts is occurring around the world for products such as remedies, charms, trinkets and trophies. Such trade encourages the indiscriminate slaughter of wildlife; invites illegal trafficking in endangered species; risks inhumane consequences including the slow death of orphaned offspring; and results in wide-spread poaching.

CFHS supports the establishment and enforcement of legislation prohibiting the trade or possession of wildlife parts, such as bear gall bladders and paws, elephant tusks and seal penises. CFHS also encourages the education of consumers about the suffering caused by the trade in wildlife parts.

Position Statement

CFHS is opposed to the keeping and breeding of wolf-dog hybrids.

Definition of a Wolf-dog Hybrid

A wolf-dog hybrid is an animal produced by breeding a domestic dog to a wolf or the subsequent breeding of these wolf-dog hybrids either to domestic dogs or to other wolf-dog hybrids. This includes any animal that is advertised, registered or otherwise described or presented as a wolf-dog hybrid by the owner.

Definition of a Domesticated Dog

A domesticated dog is one which tends to possess reliability of temperament, tractability, docility, predictability and trainability and which has adapted to life in intimate with humans. Animals achieve domesticated status through many generations of selective breeding for preferred attributes.

Background/Rationale

CFHS believes that wolf-dog hybrids:

  • cannot be successfully and safely integrated into a human environment because they must be confined at all times. This confinement does not meet the physical, social and psychological needs of the animal.
  • pose a threat to native wolf populations by diluting the gene pool, and the potential for introducing diseases and defects not currently found in the wild.
  • are not domesticated animals and as a result, can be dangerously unpredictable. They cannot be trusted with people, especially children, or other animals whose actions may trigger the predatory instincts of the wolf hybrid often with tragic consequences for all involved. Such behaviour in the wolf hybrid is genetically encoded and cannot be eliminated by socialization and training.

CFHS acknowledges that some wolf hybrids are kept as pets. In those cases CFHS recommends that they be permitted to live out their lives provided that:

  • they are kept in suitable conditions that, to the extent possible, meet the animals’ physical, social and psychological needs.
  • they are spayed or neutered and permanently identified with a microchip implant.
  • they receive proper veterinary care at all times, including preventive.
  • if they are presented to a humane society or animal control agency it is recommended that they not be placed elsewhere.

Position Statement

CFHS is deeply concerned about the moral and humane implications of xenografting, which is the transplanting of body parts between species. CFHS strongly advocates the promotion of other alternatives over the development of animal donor programs.

CFHS has grave concerns about xenografting. However, CFHS recognizes that the practice of xenografting is ongoing. Therefore, to ensure the physical, social and psychological well-being of these animals, CFHS insists that they be provided with at least the following:

  • appropriate food, water, housing and veterinary care to meet the species’ biological requirements.
  • appropriate levels of environmental complexity necessary to prevent deprivation, boredom or fear.

When animals are killed, CFHS accepts only those methods and procedures that cause minimal distress to the animals.

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