Humane Society International / Canada


Canada must stop participating in the cruel elephant ivory trade.

COVID-19 Animal Response Program helps Toronto’s most vulnerable communities and individuals care for animals during this crisis

Humane Society International / Canada


Woman with dog
HSI/Canada

TORONTO–Humane Society International/Canada (HSI/Canada) and Friends of HSI (FHSI) are partnering with Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) to support residents with companion animals in the GTA’s most underserved communities, which have been particularily hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

HSI/Canada and Friends of HSI launched the COVID-19 Animal Response Program in April 2020 to provide critical support to individuals, groups and communities in the Canadian epicenters of this crisis. Through a large network of community organizations, HSI/Canada has provided more than 40,000 kg of pet food,supplies and animal care support that have helped thousands of animals since this pandemic began. The program will now work with TCHC to ensure that pet owners impacted by the pandemic, living in some 2,000 buildings across the GTA, receive the support they need to keep their animals healthy and at home.

Larysa Struk, Ontario Coordinator, COVID-19 Animal Response Program for HSI/Canada said: “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, our animal response team has been working tirelessly to help people who are struggling to provide for their animals and who have nowhere else to look for help. By partnering with TCHC, we are able to reach many more individuals that have urgent needs when it comes to their companion animals. Our program is helping to keep dogs and cats with their families throughout this pandemic.”

“During the COVID-19 emergency, our frontline staff have focused on delivering essential services and working alongside our many partners to connect tenants to needed supports arising from the pandemic. Humane Society International Canada’s generous donation of pet food and supplies will go a long way to supporting tenants during this challenging time,” said TCHC Chief Operating Officer Sheila Penny.

If you or someone you know needs assistance caring for a pet because of the impacts of COVID-19, please contact the program team at:  onresponse@hsicanada.ca or 647-215-5082

HSI/Canada and Friends of HSI are grateful for the generous support of the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, which has made this program possible, and PetSmart Charities® of Canada, for allowing us to continue to increase our impact and reach across the GTA during this challenging time for individuals and their animals.

ENDS

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HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program will support Sodexo’s foodservice operations in introducing delicious and sustainable menu items

Humane Society International / Canada


Chat Photography/HSI Vegan macaroni and cheese

MONTRÉAL—Sodexo Canada and Humane Society International/Canada are excited to announce a new national partnership that will elevate plant-based menu options in Sodexo’s accounts across the country. As part of the partnership, HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program will train Sodexo chefs on plant-based cooking techniques and work with Sodexo leadership to develop new, custom plant-based recipes. Select Sodexo accounts will transition at least 20% of their current menu items to be plant-based with support from HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program, which has already worked with numerous institutions and businesses in Canada to enhance their plant-based offerings.

“Understanding the impacts of our services on the environment, communities we serve, wellness we provide and people we employ is on the forefront for Sodexo Canada’s sustainable living initiatives. Together with Humane Society International we have refreshed our strategy to bring our teams the tools they need through training and engagement, data analysis and responsible sourcing strategies to achieve our commitment to reducing emissions and providing increased healthy and delicious plant based menu offerings,” says Davide Del Brocco, sustainability manager at Sodexo Canada.

Riana Topan, campaign manager for HSI/Canada says, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Sodexo to support their sustainability and plant-based menu goals. Sodexo has set ambitious targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and serving more plant-based meals is critical to achieving those targets and to improving animal welfare. We look forward to supporting Sodexo’s higher education, corporate, energy and resource accounts across Canada to ensure that their customers always have access to sustainable and satisfying plant-based food options.”

“The Sodexo Innovation Challenge incorporates the creativity of our chefs and the resources of our Corporate Responsibility team directly into the menu development process. This synergy with HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program enables us to achieve our mutual goals of creating menus that speak to the needs of Canadians and drive sustainable business practices,” says Kyle Mason, Sodexo Canada’s senior manager of culinary development.

In November, Sodexo and HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program will host the country’s first virtual, national plant-based culinary training session for 12 of Sodexo’s higher education accounts. The training session will give Sodexo chefs from across Canada the opportunity to learn a variety of plant-based recipes, experiment with new ingredients and cooking techniques, and explore ways to integrate more options into Sodexo’s menus. Following the training, each Sodexo account will significantly increase its offering of plant-based items that are better for animals, the environment and human health, as part of the HSI/Canada’s Forward Food Pledge.

The partnership is officially launching this month, with Sodexo Canada’s participation in HSI/Canada’s annual Forward Food Leadership Summit. Del Brocco will speak about Sodexo’s corporate social responsibility initiatives and commitment to serving more sustainable plant-based dishes. The summit will bring together food service professionals from the higher education, retail, restaurant, manufacturing and other sectors, and will discuss how to use plant-based foods to create healthier, more sustainable menus in the wake of COVID-19.

Sodexo and Humane Society International intend to co-host additional events in 2021. HSI and Sodexo are also working together on similar initiatives in other countries around the world, including in Southeast Asia, that will improve sustainability, public health and animal welfare.

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Humane Society International/Canada urges companies to improve welfare of chickens raised for meat

Humane Society International / Canada


studiodr/iStock.com 

OTTAWA—The largest study ever conducted on the welfare of chickens raised for meat confirms that fast-growing breeds, which make up the majority of chickens raised for commercial meat production, suffer immensely. Around the world, a staggering 60 billion broiler chickens are bred for meat each year.

The University of Guelph, Canada, study included 7,500 chickens from 16 different strains and took two years to complete. While previous studies have also indicated that chickens raised for meat are prone to health and welfare problems, this new research demonstrates that, despite recent breeding objectives, selection for rapid growth and breast-meat yield continues to leave conventional chicken strains with significant welfare issues such as reduced mobility, foot pad lesions, muscle damage and disproportionate heart and lung development. Slower growing chickens tested in the same research trial had consistently better health and behavioural outcomes.

Most commercial chicken meat production around the world currently utilizes rapidly growing breeds, selectively bred over generations to grow unusually fast. These chickens grow from hatch to slaughter weight in just six weeks, the vast majority intensively reared in overcrowded sheds on factory farms devoid of environmental enrichment or natural sunlight.

As stated in the research summary report: “While this high productivity means affordable, consistent product, it has come at a cost to broiler welfare.”

Riana Topan, HSI/Canada’s campaign manager for farm animal welfare, says: “More than 750 million chickens were raised and slaughtered for meat in Canada last year. This study confirms what we already suspected: that the fast growth and tremendous weight these animals have been bred to reach results in very poor welfare, and a life of pain. Responsible food companies across the country must work quickly to move away from these rapid-growth birds and implement reforms – outlined in the Better Chicken Commitment – to reduce the needless suffering of millions of animals. Retailers, restaurants and consumers must also make more responsible purchasing choices, including reducing and replacing chicken altogether with plant-based proteins and meat-free chicken alternatives.”

The University of Guelph worked independently but accepted input and advice from chicken breeding companies, who provided the animals for the study and advised on their needs. However, even when tested under the carefully controlled environmental conditions specified by the breeders, the welfare of the fastest growing commercial strains was poor. Rapidly growing broiler chickens reared without carefully controlled ventilation, nutrition or temperature controls may suffer even further.

Based on the study’s results, Global Animal Partnership (G.A.P.), a leading farm animal welfare certification and labeling program, will revise its standard on the welfare of chickens to account for this important new science, and Humane Society International urges other welfare assurance schemes to  do the same. As hundreds of large food and hospitality companies have pledged to address animal welfare as part of their corporate social responsibility commitments, G.A.P. certification is a good path toward meeting those promises. The updated broiler chicken requirements in the G.A.P. program will help ensure companies are meeting science-based welfare standards.

The newly released summary report disseminates the initial results, with further analysis expected by the end of the year and more in 2021. The data is expected to be published in peer-reviewed journals, making a key contribution to the scientific literature.

ENDS

Media contact: Riana Topan, campaign manager, HSI/Canada: 613-315-0775, rtopan@hsi.org.

“There is no future in this dog meat industry,” says farmer Kim

Humane Society International / Global


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

SEOUL—More than 70 dogs found languishing on a South Korean dog meat farm by animal charity Humane Society International have been given a second chance by the farmer’s decision to quit the dog meat industry once and for all. Mr. Nakseon Kim has been breeding dogs for nearly 40 years, but he jumped at the chance to leave dog farming behind when HSI offered to help him start a new life growing cabbages and other vegetables instead.

Amid growing South Korean opposition to eating dogs and a series of new regulations and court rulings cracking down on the industry, farmers like Mr. Kim are increasingly looking for an exit strategy but with one request – to save their dogs. After years of sending the animals to slaughter, Mr. Kim is not the first farmer to be relieved to learn that HSI rescues, rehabilitates and seeks happy homes for all the dogs.

“It may sound odd but I started dog farming because I like dogs,” said Mr. Kim, “I’ve never actually been a big fan of dog meat myself. I had a few dogs so I began breeding them and when I had 20 or 30 I started to sell them because I thought it would be good money but it hasn’t really worked out that way. I earn nothing from this dog farm, and pressure from the government is increasing and it’s not a good business at all.”

On his property in Hongseong, Mr. Kim breeds tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers for two abusive industries – the meat trade and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs are destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade. Despite Korea’s dog meat industry attempting to claim a difference between pet dogs and “meat dogs”, the reality is they are all just dogs whose fate ultimately depends on where greatest profits can be made.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, said: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more. As Koreans we need to be their voice and call for an end to the dog farming and dog meat industries.”

Marking the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its farmer transition program began in 2015, all the dogs will eventually be flown to partner shelters in Canada and the United States to seek adoptive homes. First, they are being relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea while the organization waits for COVID-19 travel restrictions to relax. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

HSI hopes its model for change will hasten an end to the controversial and cruel industry by demonstrating to the Korean government that a farmer-supported phase out of farms can work.

Mr. Kim said: “It’s too much work and I’ve got too old to be doing this for no profit. I just want to get some rest from all of this now. I’ve had enough, especially now that I have to pay for dog food since the local school decided to stop giving me free kitchen waste. I don’t think there are many people in South Korea who are willing to run dog meat farms anymore. There is no future in this dog meat industry. Once HSI helps me close my dog farm, I think I will start to grow crops instead like lettuce, cabbage, or other greens to sell to restaurants. That’s a business with a future.”

Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. In 2018 both Indonesia and Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi pledged an end to the dog meat trade, and most recently in April 2020 the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai banned dog and cat meat consumption following a public statement by the Chinese government that dogs are considered companions and not livestock. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

Facts:   

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 survey by Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.

Download broll video and photos of the rescue.

ENDS

Media contacts
United Kingdom and international media: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423
United States: Nancy Hwa, nhwa@hsi.org, 1-202-596-0808
South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

Rescued dogs to be temporarily sheltered in Seoul

Humane Society International / Canada


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, February 8, 2020.

MONTREAL –More than 70 dogs found suffering by HSI on a hybrid dog meat farm and puppy mill in South Korea have been rescued and relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

Many of the dogs will eventually be flown to HSI/Canada’s Montreal emergency shelter, where over 450 dogs from the dog meat trade have been successfully rehabilitated before being placed in forever homes. This marks the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its pioneering dog meat farm transition program began in 2015.

Several breeds were found on this facility, including tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers. The facility supplied two abusive industries: the meat trade, and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs were destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade.

Émilie-Lune Sauvé, senior campaign manager for HSI/Canada, stated: “We are so relieved to know that these dogs, who have endured such misery, are safe at last. But millions more are still confined on dog meat farms in South Korea and this industry needs to be shut down for good. We urge South Korea to follow the example of the two cities in China that have recently banned dog meat trade, and end this suffering forever.”

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, added: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more.”

Opposition to eating dogs is growing steadily in South Korea, and a series of new regulations and court rulings are cracking down on this cruel industry.

To download broll video and photos of the rescue, click here.

Facts:

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 surveyby Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.
  • Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

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Media contact: Christopher Paré, Director of Communications, HSI/Canada – Cell: 438-402-0643, email: cpare@hsi.org

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its affiliates, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide and on the web at hsicanada.ca.

Program provides urgent support for companion animals and their families

Humane Society International / Canada


HSI HSI/Canada is helping animals and people caring for animals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MONTREAL—As COVID-19 continues to severely impact peoples’ lives, Humane Society International/Canada and Friends of HSI have launched the COVID-19 Animal Response Program in Quebec in collaboration with the City of Montreal, with the generous support of PetSmart Charities of Canada. The program will provide critical assistance to families and individuals in urgent need of help in caring for their companion animals during this crisis. Specifically, the program will:

  • Deliver companion animal food and supplies to seniors, people with limited mobility and individuals dealing with illness or reduced income.
  • Provide emergency sheltering and care for animals temporarily separated from their caregivers as a result of the pandemic. This includes people who are experiencing homelessness or facing precarious housing situations, as well as individuals dealing with health complications or hospitalization.
  • Provide emergency animal transportation to veterinary clinics and help to source life-saving medication and treatments for animals living with health issues.
  • Provide cages, food and bowls for animals of people who are experiencing homelessness and displaced people who are quarantined in hotels as they await the results of their COVID-19 testing.

Émilie Sauvé, senior campaign manager for HSI/Canada, stated: “This pandemic will have profound and far reaching impacts on animal welfare, such as projected increases in abandonment and street animal populations. More than half of homes in Quebec include a companion animal and—as people face lost incomes, illness and restrictions on movement—many of those animals will be at risk. Our COVID-19 Animal Response Program will help keep people and their companion animals together during these challenging times.”

“As an organization dedicated to supporting pets and the people who love them, PetSmart Charities of Canada remains committed to the health and wellness of pets during this unprecedented time, and our hearts go out to those impacted by COVID-19,” said Dani LaGiglia, regional relationship manager at the national charity. “As needs continue to evolve, we are proud to support HSI/Canada in providing much needed resources to those in need in Montreal and communities throughout Quebec during this pandemic.”

HSI/Canada and Friends of HSI are grateful for the incredible generosity of Rolf C. Hagen Inc., Kane Veterinary Supplies, The Great Canadian Dog Food and True Pure Choice companies, whose donations of pet food will help countless animals in the coming weeks.

Members of the Quebec/Montreal public impacted by COVID-19 and in need of urgent assistance in caring for their companion animals are encouraged to reach out by email at qcresponse@hsicanada.ca or by phone at 438-680-3425.

The HSI/Canada and Friends of HSI COVID-19 Animal Response Program will provide similar services in Ontario as well as support to Quebec First Nations communities. To download photos of our COVID-19 Animal Response team in action, click here.

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Media contact: Christopher Paré, Director of Communications, HSI/Canada – Cell: 438-402-0643, email: cpare@hsi.org

 Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its affiliates, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide and on the web at hsicanada.ca.

Friends of HSI is a registered charitable organization working to protect animals through public education and awareness, rescue, sheltering, provision of veterinary services and other direct care programs. We are proud to be part of the Humane Society International family of global affiliates, which together comprise one of the largest and most effective animal protection groups in the world. On the Web at friendsofhsi.ca

Humane Society International welcomes move but urges the company to commit to a ‘cleaner and clearer’ no fur policy

Humane Society International / Global


Nathan Hobbs/iStock.com

WASHINGTON—Canada Goose has announced in a new report that from 2022 it will no longer buy fur from trappers and instead will use reclaimed fur in its products. Animal protection organisation Humane Society International welcomes the announcement as ‘another nail in the coffin for the fur trade’ but hopes for a ‘cleaner and clearer’ no-fur policy from the company in the near future.

PJ Smith, director of fashion policy at the Humane Society of the United States, said, “While we congratulate Canada Goose for taking this step, and are happy to see yet another nail in the coffin for the fur trade, switching to ‘reclaimed fur’ feels like an unnecessarily long-goodbye for this company’s outdated relationship with fur; ultimately their future must be fur-free. We urge Canada Goose to make a cleaner and clearer commitment to sustainability by switching to bio-fake-furs, and closed-loop recycling of faux fur materials. We hope in the near future to see Canada Goose following the vast majority of top designers in cutting all ties with cruel and outdated fur.”

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, said, “Fur trapping results in prolonged animal suffering, amputation and death for target and non-target wild and companion animals. Notably, the traps used throughout North America are banned in many other countries for animal welfare reasons. Canada Goose’s announcement that it will shift from new to reclaimed coyote fur is a partial victory for animals. However, significant clarification is required about the company’s definition of ‘reclaimed fur,’ its certification methods and its timeline for implementation. Consumers must carefully scrutinize the implementation of this new policy but ultimately we urge Canada Goose to stop using animal fur entirely in favour of humane and environmentally friendly alternatives.”

Canada Goose is infamous for selling garments trimmed with coyote fur from animals caught in cruel leg-hold traps. The company’s continued use of fur has led to global criticism and protests from leading animal groups over the last decade.

Wild animals such as coyotes and wolves who are trapped for their fur, can languish in agony in cruel traps for hours or even days before dying from dehydration, starvation, attacks by predators or being killed when the trapper returns. Animals on fur farms fare no better; in addition to the physical and psychological torment of being confined in small, barren cages for their entire lives, the killing methods typically used on fur farms are equally distressing. Mink are killed by gassing, and fox and raccoon dogs are killed by electrocution.

Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States have long fought the global fur trade, eliminating the demand for fur products around the world by working closely with top designers and retailers to go fur-free and banning fur sales in cities and states. In the UK, HSI leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign to ban fur sales countrywide.

Since the beginning of 2017 alone Burberry, Versace, Gucci, Chanel, Coach, Donna Karan, Prada, Miu Miu, Church’s, Michael Kors/Jimmy Choo, Diane von Furstenberg, Columbia Sportswear, Farfetch, Yoox Net-a-Porter, Burlington, VF Corporation (Timberland/The North Face) Furla and Bottega Veneta, have all stopped using fur in their collections.

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Media contact: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International/Canada is urging pet owners to continue keeping animal friends safe by following science-based recommendations

Humane Society International / Canada


MONTREAL – In the wake of the unfolding crisis, Humane Society International/Canada is echoing the guidance of public health organizations – including the World Organisation for Animal Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control — that state there is no evidence at this time that companion animals, such as dogs and cats, contribute to the spread of COVID-19. For example, authorities are advising that it is still perfectly safe to continue taking your dog(s) for a walk outside so long as you practice safe social distancing.

Coronaviruses (CoV), including COVID-19, are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases. While suspected to have originated from a wild animal source, it is now a human disease spread from person to person. The canine coronavirus we’ve known for years does not affect humans, cannot be transmitted to humans, and is not COVID-19.

Émilie-Lune Sauvé, HSI/Canada senior campaign manager for companion animals, stated: “We are urging pet owners to stay properly informed and to continue caring for their animal friends. Science tells us that our animals are not at risk and should be kept safe with us, their families.”

Dr. Gail Hansen, DVM, MPH of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, added, “At this time we do not have evidence that pets can get or spread COVID-19, although it is always good for people to practice careful hand-washing after handling your pet and after picking up and disposing pet waste. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick, so you and your pet can get the best care.”

HSI/Canada is also urging those with the means to do so to contact their local animal shelters by phone or online and consider adopting or fostering animals to help reduce the potential strain on shelters during this difficult time.

For further information, please consult this COVID-19 and companion animals FAQ from HSI/Canada’s partner organization, the Humane Society of the United States, and help spread the facts. This FAQ exists to counter potentially harmful misinformation while giving human-animal families the means to stay safe and informed.

Companion animals are precious members of our families and a source of great comfort during difficult times. Please keep them safe with you at home!

To arrange an interview, please call or email the media contact below.

 

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Media contact: Christopher Paré, Director of Communications, HSI/Canada – office: 514-395-2914 x 206, cell: 438-402-0643, email: cpare@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Canada