Nestlé has adopted higher standards of animal welfare, supporting the humane treatment of animals at it's suppliers.
I have attached the CVMA position on keeping exotic pets. The lead author of this position is on our animal welfare committee and is a zoo veterinarian at a well-respected zoo in Canada.
Many welfare advocates familiar with zoos/aquariums feel that roadside zoos can be a risk to welfare. The idea of mandating that these zoos meet accreditation standards set out by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) is something that many advocates feel would address many of the concerns that surround such zoos. Having roadside zoos (CAZA accredited or not) or even legitimate zoos become sanctuaries for unwanted, unacceptable or relinquished exotic pets can be problematic also. Typically legitimate zoos will not accept such animals because of responsible collection planning requirements/legislation. Animal ‘sanctuaries’ often have very limited space or resources to accept such animals and care for them in a way that meets their physical and mental needs.
"I definitely agree with the ban on the carriages. Walking on the hard pavement, especially for so many hours per day really puts them at higher risk for laminitis which can be fatal and extremely chronically painful if they survive. It can also cause stress on the joints and long bones. I'm not sure about in the carriage horses, but at least in race horses for comparison, stress fractures from repetitive motion is a big problem and can lead to catastrophic failure of the long bones eventually, forcing them to be euthanized. Stress to the body in general is a huge factor since it is known that it can cause gastric ulcers in horses. These are painful and can become even more so when they eat. If they don't want to eat regularly due to the stress and pain, colic can be a secondary complication. Their GI tract really is designed to be grazing throughout the day. Obviously in the conditions they are in, that's not possible, again predisposing them to colic, some of them deadly. All six platforms you listed and really important issues and I'm glad there's people finally doing something about it! I also have concern for their mental well being since they don't really get a break to socialize, graze and just be horses. I've seen a lot of horses like that develop vices like weaving or cribbing ect. They can become aggressive and lash out at people or their stablemates as well.
I think laws and regulations could be put in place to help solve the problems, but I find in animal welfare the enforcement of these laws is always questionable. Finding the funding and man power to monitor, charge and prosecute people seems to be almost impossible. A lot of times the punishment is lenient as well so people don't take the laws seriously."
Thank you Dr. Macdonald for your input and expertise!
I wrote this article last November for Guelph's newspaper The Ontarion:
Graduate team places first overall; Veterinary Medicine team second
On the weekend of Nov. 22, the University of Guelph participated in and hosted the thirteenth annual Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest (AWJAC).
Universities across North America and the U.K. sent teams of up to five participants to compete in three divisions of students at undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary levels. The competition required students to analyze various species of animals, presented in comparative scenarios, to determine which scenario had the better welfare for the species. Students were then given limited time to prepare and orally present their rationale to a judge.
Guelph did well in the overall scoring. Melissa Speirs took fifth place for the undergraduate team, Meagan King won first place for the graduates, and Chris Hauser received first place for the veterinary student division. Guelph also scored highest in the graduate student team assessment exercise, second in overall team placing for veterinary students, and first in overall team placing for graduate students.
First time participant in the undergrad division, Becca Feddema, said: “Being a part of [AWJAC] has been an invaluable experience for me. Not only did I learn a lot about the field of animal welfare, I was able to meet and gain knowledge from many influential people, such as upper year students, faculty, and experts in the field of veterinary medicine.”
The AWJAC began in 2001 when, in a presentation to the International Society for Applied Ethology, the idea of promoting interest in animal welfare science to university students, especially undergrads, in combination with traditional livestock judging, was proposed.
The first contest was held in 2002 at Michigan State University, which Guelph participated in along with three other universities. By 2011, twelve schools were involved with around 84 participants. This year, the species being judged were donkeys, turkeys and mink, and the live-assessment scenario was dry dairy cattle.
With its expansion, the AWJAC has transitioned from having just undergraduate divisions, to now having divisions for graduate and veterinary medicine. It also now covers production, companion, laboratory, and exotic animals, as opposed to just livestock species.
Teams often prepare for months in advance. Guelph delegates met weekly over the last two months with coaches to perform research, run practice scenarios, discuss current animal care practices, and the welfare concerns involved in a variety of housing, husbandry, and transportation issues.
The U of G’s undergraduate coach, Jacqueline Jacobs, said: “The [contest] is a wonderful opportunity and educational experience for students. Evidence-based reasoning and oral communication skills are vital to success at this contest, and more importantly, any future career the students plan to pursue. As a past participant of the contest, I was able to advance my own knowledge of animal welfare science as well as my reasoning and oral communication skills; as a coach I am happy to share and teach the information and help develop the skills in the next generation of students.”
In a survey presented at the end of each contest, over 95 per cent of participants found the contest to be a valuable exercise, noting that here they learn how to integrate ethics into scientifically-grounded knowledge for interdisciplinary problem solving.
I recommend you check out this amazing taxidermy shop with some friends! Almost all the animals are for sale, if you're looking to spend a buck.