Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The thing about Canada Day

Today  is Canada Day. VOMD wants to take me to see some fireworks, but given the impact that fireworks have on animals, I'm not very excited to be part of it. Not only that, but I feel a little bit strange celebrating my belonging to a country that believes that immigrant citizens are second class, and who treat animals like property and food. I love it that I get to live in  Canada.  I love the scenery, the seasons, the people...well, lots of the people. Beyond the obvious stuff (like the right to vote, the freedom to marry who we please and all those things that are obviously excellent) I just don't feel like we have that much to celebrate.

Animal cruelty is incredibly common in Canada. Factory Farming in Canada is just as violent and cruel as it is in the United States - even though we regularly compare ourselves to the US to make ourselves feel better. In Canada, more than 95% of the animals raised for food are raised in factory farms, and disturbingly, approximately 20% of chickens in Canadian factory farms die of stress and malnutrition before they are even ready for slaughter.

Our meat consumption in Canada is among the highest in the world - around 95 kg per person per year. That's about 1/2 a pound of meat a day. Given that our population is around 35 million, that means in Canada we consume around three billion three hundred twenty-five million kilograms of meat across the country.

Can I just say that this totally disturbs me and breaks my heart completely to pieces?

Don't even get me started on pipelines and the oil sands, which threaten millions of migratory birds, have killed hundreds of black bears in Alberta, and have displaced far too many other species of animals to count, or the annual "cull" (read: murder) of seals...

So, even though I am happy that I live in Canada, unless Canada and Canadians make some major changes in terms of how they treat animals I will not ever really be able to say that I am proud to be Canadian. I love this country, but I do not love what it does to animals.

So, this Canada day I am going to celebrate with my friends and my boyfriend. But it will be a celebration that is darkened by the image of what Canada and Canadians do to animals and the planet. I will not be carrying around helium balloons (which animals mistake for food, causing intense pain and even death) and I will not be munching on beaver tails (named after one animal yet made of the stolen eggs and milk of another) and I will not be singing the national anthem, because "Glorious and Free" doesn't really describe the experience of all that live within these borders.

Enjoy your Canada Day, everyone.


For more information on Canada's treatment of domestic, farmed and wild animals:
Canada's criminal code and animals:


Factory Farming:

Migratory Birds:

Black Bears:

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