Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Elephant in the Room

You may receive a call in the next few days from a telemarketer asking you to buy tickets to the circus for underprivileged kids. Faced with a drop in ticket sales from paying customers no longer willing to show their children the results of cruel training on wild animals, this new business model preys on our concern for children. 

This new business model supports an outdated and cruel industry. In August, once again, the circus will be dragging elephants along. As every year, they’ll be telling our community that the elephants love performing, are trained humanely, and are treated like kings. They will tell you these are “domestic elephants”. Don’t believe it.

There is no such thing as a domestic elephant. Domestic animals have been bred over thousands of generations to enhance physical or behavioural attributes such as docility, reliability and predictability. Circus animals have been trained to do tricks, but they still remain wild and are inherently unpredictable.

The principal training “tool” for elephants is an ankah. It is used in two ways: The sharp pointed hook is used to inflict pain or to pull on the delicate areas of the elephant’s skin. The blunt end is used to beat uncooperative elephants. In addition to the ankah, other “tools” are employed, including whips, electrical prods, baseball bats and metal pipes.

After training, animals in entertainment can look forward to lives trapped in unnaturally small spaces. Between shows, animals that would naturally migrate tens of kilometres a day, wait in leg irons for their next performance.

The circus will tell you that the OHS inspects them. This, at least, is true. However, our inspection is limited to immediate distress as defined by current highly inadequate legislation. 

Some have argued that these acts teach us about the natural world. There is nothing natural about an elephant in a skirt trying to balance on a ball. It merely demonstrates, to children especially, that dominating and exploiting animals is acceptable.

The time of exotic animal circuses is over. Please take a small step to end animal suffering by saying no to supporting them. If you wouldn't go, and you wouldn't take your children, don't send others.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director
Bruce Roney
Executive Director
Bruce Roney
Executive Director
Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Thursday, June 18, 2015

(Some) Good News for (Some) Whales in Ontario

In the wake of accusations of inadequate care by former employees and a government investigation of Marineland in Niagara Falls, on May 28, 2015, the Ontario legislature passed the Ontario SPCA Act, to prohibit the acquisition or breeding of Orcas ("Killer" whales) in Ontario. The amendments also bring some degree of oversight to the much-criticized facility.

All of us who care about animals are celebrating—a bit. Orcas should not be in captivity. They  are highly social; some populations are composed of matrilineal family groups which are the most stable of any animal species.  

There is a catch: there is only one Orca in Ontario—Kiska, Marineland's resident Orca. And she lives alone, in isolation and has no opportunity to socialize and interact with members of her own species.

There is another catch: while Kiska is the only Orca in Ontario, she is not the only cetacean (whale) in Ontario, or even in captivity at Marineland. The facility also houses beluga whales—several dozen, in fact.

Some people have told me that Marineland and its sister facilities help marine mammals by educating children and adults about the animals. I don't buy it. In the end, it is about cold hard cash. The acclaimed movie Blackfish did more to increase understanding and awareness of the species than 54 years of Marineland. You can vote with your dollars and not visit Marineland or any place like it.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Price is Right at the OHS

Adopting a pet like Joey from the OHS is a great deal.
Last December, a Good Samaritan found a dog wandering the streets alone and brought him to the Ottawa Humane Society for help. It was a cold, blustery winter afternoon and the dog, now named Joey, was shivering and very hungry. Despite this, his sweet doggy nature shone through — Joey enthusiastically gave everyone he met a big, sloppy kiss!

When an owner did not come forward for Joey, the OHS made sure he received all the care he needed, including sterilization, vaccinations, six weeks of pet insurance, a health guarantee, and a microchip to ensure that if he ever became lost again, he’d be returned to his future forever family.
Just like Joey, every dog and cat adopted from the OHS gets this amount of care before curling up on your windowsill or playing fetch in your backyard — an astonishing value packed into one adoption fee.

Spin the wheel in the Adoption Centre.
This month, in an effort to raise awareness about the amazing deal in adopting from the OHS, everyone who finds their new best cat or dog friend at the OHS will be entered to win a grand prize of two tickets to the Summer Harvest Garden Party! Adopters will get a chance to spin the big wheel in the lobby for even more prizes for their pets!

Come and meet Joey and all his friends at the OHS to learn more at 245 West Hunt Club Rd. Visit the website at for more details.

Tyler Goddard
Supervisor: Customer Service 

Check out this video of Joey having fun in the pool during his swimming lesson. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

I'm Sorry to Remind You

I don't know about you, but I am already getting a bit of anxiety that the summer is going to disappear before I know it.

You know the feeling: you feel like you go to bed in June and you wake up and its Labour Day.

All to say, fall comes quickly. It almost hurts to think to September. But in September comes the most important event of the year for Ottawa's animals: the Wiggle Waggle Walkathon. To ensure that the OHS can be here for the more than 10,000 animals that will need our care this year, abused, neglected, sick and injured animals need you to think of September now.

So much of what we do for the animals is possible only with the proceeds of the Wiggle Waggle Walkathon. Please register now. Start collecting pledges. Put together you team. And especially help us get the word out.

And thank you for spending a few minutes this spring thinking about this fall.

Tell all your friends about the Wiggle Waggle Walkathon on social media!

Bruce Roney
OHS Executive Director

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