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” ʻPound seizureʼ is a term commonly used to describe the practice of using lost, homeless and abandoned dogs and cats from animal control facilities or pounds for use in experimentation (research, teaching and testing).
Animal Alliance of Canadaʼs (AAC) opposition to pound seizure is shared by all Canadian humane societies and animal protection organizations throughout Canada. Ontario is the only province left in Canada where pound seizure is the law. Quebec remains one of the few jurisdictions that remains silent on the issue of pound contractors supplying lost pet animals to research in the absence of any legal requirement to do so. “
In 2007, 9,175 lost and abandoned dogs an the 2007 statistics from the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), of the 4,243 cats used in experiments, 3,170 came from pounds, a staggering 75%. For the same year, 6,005 or 52% of the 11,483 dogs came from pounds. See the Animals for Research Act Ontario
Thereʼs a part of Ontario that you may not know well, but let me introduce you. We are one of two provinces left in Canada that still allows shelter animals to be sold for research and product testing. Not only is it allowed, but itʼs the law. Shelters are legally required to hand over abandoned pets when approached by registered research facilities.
Itʼs called “pound seizure” and it means that any cat or dog that is lost, homeless, or abandoned can be sold for experimentation, whether it is teaching, testing or research.
This likely comes as a shock to you. Were you aware that animals who are not claimed at shelters in Ontario can be sold for research? This was news to me until recently when I heard about a wonderful organization here in Toronto, called Project Jessie.
They are a part of Animal Alliance of Canada (AAC) and they rescue over 300 dogs and cats per year from shelters where they are at risk of being sold for research. They take older animals, medically needy animals, and animals that need socialization or have other challenges. They work in cooperation with many groups and dedicated volunteers to rescue the animals, get them appropriate veterinary care, shelter them and then find them permanent, loving homes.
Some good news amidst this sadness – the University of Guelph and the Ontario Veterinary College have made three significant decisions:
While this is a great start, it also goes to show that Ontarioʼs animal laws are desperately in need of revision.
What can you do? Itʼs simple. Send a letter to Ontarioʼs Premier and let him know how you feel. You can also send a letter to the Premier of Quebec while youʼre it. What else? Educate. Let people know. Pass along this article to friends, family, coworkers and ask them to do the same.
If we all stand up and speak up, something is bound to change. Until then, our lost and abandoned pets are left vulnerable and at risk for being sold for research.
Please donʼt pass this by – it only takes a moment.