Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on October 2 is observed by countries around the globe as World Farm Animals Day. In honour of the man who promoted peace, harmony and the humane treatment of all living things, World Farm Animals Day is a time for us to reflect on how we treat the animals with whom we share our planet.
To mark this occasion, the BC SPCA urges individuals to take action this month to help improve the lives of the millions of farm animals raised in Canada each year:
• Choose SPCA Certified products. Not only are you taking the animals’ well-being into consideration, you are supporting local farmers who make animal welfare a priority. A product with an SPCA Certified label comes from a farm that follows welfare standards set out by the BC SPCA and is assessed by a third-party inspector. More than two million farm animals have been raised according to SPCA Certified standards since the program’s launch in 2002. A list of SPCA Certified producers and retailers is available at spcacertified.ca;
• Buy cage-free eggs – ideally SPCA Certified. Types of cage-free eggs include certified organic, free run and free range. Download the SPCA’s fact-sheet on hen-laying eggs to learn more about how hens are raised in Canada;
• Request humane products. If your local grocer doesn’t currently stock SPCA Certified products, download a customer request form (spcacertified.ca) to give to the store’s manager;
• Sign up for FarmSense, the BC SPCA’s bi-monthly email newsletter about farm animal welfare news, events and research;
• Help us speak for the animals by adding your voice to one or more of the SPCA’s farm animal campaigns;
• Support farm animal welfare initiatives. The BC SPCA is the only SPCA in Canada with a department specializing in farm animal welfare and is a national leader in programs that promote better lives for millions of farm animals. Your support can help us save lives.
October is also the month when witches, ghosts and goblins make an appearance at your door. While Halloween is fun for trick or treaters, the constant ringing of the doorbell, the unfamiliar sight of strangers in costume and loud noises from fireworks can be extremely stressful for many pets. Be sure to keep your pets inside, preferably in a quiet room as far away from the front door as possible and check to make sure that your pet’s identification is up to date in the event that they become spooked and somehow escape. Also, be sure to keep candy away from your pets, especially chocolate, which contains theobromine, an ingredient which is toxic to dogs and cats.
For full details on World Farm Animal Day, SPCA farm welfare initiatives, Halloween safety tips and other SPCA programs, visit spca.bc.ca.
– Columnis Lorie Chortyk is general manager, community relations for the BC SPCA.