Friday, February 22, 2008

KFC Demo in Niagara Falls

WHY: To raise public awareness of the horrific conditions KFC chickens live and die in.

WHERE: 6566 Lundy's Lane in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

WHEN: Saturday, March 1st, 2008 from 11:00am to noon.

KFC suppliers cram birds into huge waste-filled factories, breed and drug them to grow so large that they can’t even walk, and often break their wings and legs.

At slaughter, the birds’ throats are slit and they are dropped into tanks of scalding-hot water—often while they are still conscious. It would be illegal for KFC or its suppliers to abuse dogs, cats, pigs, or cows in these ways.

More than 850 million chickens are killed each year for KFC’s buckets. The birds are crammed by the tens of thousands into excrement-filled sheds that stink of ammonia fumes.

Chickens’ throats are slit and the animals are dropped into tanks of scalding-hot water to remove their feathers, often while they are still conscious and able to feel pain.

At a KFC "Supplier of the Year" slaughterhouse in West Virginia, workers were documented tearing the heads off live birds, spitting tobacco into their eyes, spray-painting their faces, and violently stomping on them.

A whistleblower at a Tyson slaughterhouse testified that birds intentionally were scalded to death, blown apart by makeshift firecrackers and had their legs broken by workers to fit them into slaughter-line shackles. Tyson is KFC’s number one supplier.

Here in Canada, two former employees of Brian’s Poultry Services, Ltd., based in Mildmay, Ontario, came forward with shocking eyewitness accounts of cruelty that took place during “catching” efforts on two farms where thousands of birds were violently gathered manually by workers and carried upside-down to the truck that would take them to the slaughterhouse.

The former chicken-catchers saw chickens crushed to death by heavy objects, bashed in the head, stepped on and kicked while others had their legs and wings broken and their joints dislocated. Many were left to suffer slow and agonizing deaths next to the truck.

For more information on the KFC Demo, please contact John at

Why have animal meat on fundraiser menu?

Letters to the Editor - Niagara This Week - February 22, 2008

I recently learned that the Welland and District Humane Society is holding a dinner and dance called "For The Love Of Animals" to raise funds to help renovate their cat facility.

While I certainly commend the organization for the important work they do to help many animals in the community, considering the role of the humane society and their work to protect and care for animals I was disappointed to learn that there will be animals on the dinner menu for the event.

The centre's website states: "We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves." Webster's dictionary defines the word humane as: marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals.

Why is it that the humane society's compassion, sympathy and consideration only extends to those animals we call pets? Why aren't they speaking for the animals who are raised on factory farms and are killed by the billions to become food?

Isn't it time that we all stop and think about the double standard we live with every day?

We love our companion animals, we love to teach our children about animals and we write countless books and movies about animals, but we completely detach ourselves when we pick up a fork.

I had occasion to attend another fundraising event in Welland in 2007, the "Party For The Paws" organized by Niagara Action For Animals.

On the buffet table, there was a sign that stated "Out of respect for all animals, no animals or animal by-products were used to prepare this meal." While it's likely that not many attending the event were vegetarian, I know that the food was enjoyed by all.

Perhaps the Welland and District Humane Society - and other organizations - will take this into consideration for future events and become a better example of what it truly means to be "humane."

Kim Ansell
St. Catharines

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Owner of roadside zoo fined for keeping game without a licence

The Globe and Mail - Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Tyson, the red kangaroo who lived a lonely existence at a roadside zoo before mysteriously disappearing last fall, is likely dead, animal-rights activists say, and a fine levied against the zoo's owner yesterday is not enough to remedy that.

Shirley McElroy, who operated the Lickety Split Ranch and Zoo in London, Ont., was fined $4,000 for having live game in captivity without a licence.

Ms. McElroy, 66, had refused to renew her Ministry of Natural Resources licence last year, court heard yesterday, but continued operating the zoo where Tyson lived in a cage the size of a garage, sheltered during the winter season by just a tin roof.

Ms. McElroy was not in court yesterday, but during her trial in December, she delivered a defiant speech about God and her own "dominion over the animals."

Calls to her London home were not returned yesterday.

Melissa Tkachyk, programs officer for the Toronto office of the World Society for the Protection of Animals, which spearheaded a long and ultimately successful campaign for Ontario's more than 40 privately run menageries to be scrutinized and policed, said this was the first time someone had failed to renew the licence to keep native wildlife in captivity.

"Unfortunately this fine had nothing to do with how the animals were housed at the zoo, and it has nothing to do with the fact that many cages were not safe for the public either," she said.

"I think it's quite telling that if she wasn't able to follow Ontario's minimum basic regulations to renew her licence, she's not likely to follow future regulations that the province is interested in bringing forward."

Tyson's plight last year caught the attention of the news media in Australia, where headlines rebuked Canada's "abysmal exotic animal laws" and called for reform. The Lickety Split Ranch and Zoo did not reopen last summer, after a blizzard of negative publicity.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Welland Humane Society to Serve Up Dead Animals for Charity

On Saturday, February 16th, 2008, the Welland & District Humane Society (WDHS) will be holding their "For the Love of Animals" Valentine Dinner & Dance to raise money to help the animals at their shelter.

Unfortunately, the WDHS does not extend their compassion to all animals, as they will be serving, among other dishes, Sirloin beef and stuffed chicken.

While the organization claims to "... speak for those who cannot speak for themselves," this apparently doesn't include cows or chickens.

It seems that the Welland Humane Society only cares about certain animals (cats and dogs), otherwise they wouldn't be cooking up and eating other ones.

How You Can Help

Please call, write or email the Welland & District Humane Society and urge them to consider all animals when fundraising. Suggest that they serve vegetarian and/or vegan meals to reduce the suffering that farmed animals endure.

The Welland & District Humane Society
60 Provincial Street
Welland , ON
L3B 5W7
Phone: (905) 735-1552
Fax: (905) 735-7414

You can also write to your local newspaper so the public is aware of the shelter's 'double standard' when it comes to protecting animals.

Niagara This Week:

The Welland Tribune:

If you'd like, send a copy of your letter to us in the comments section below.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Marineland's Nootka should have lived free

Niagara This Week - February 1, 2008

By Doug Draper, Reporter's View

Winter, with its short days and long nights, has never been my time of year. Spring and summer, when the days are long and warm, and the world is alive in vibrant colour, have always hit the spot for me.

So in the cold gray of January, when darkness is still bearing down on us at seven in the morning, my mind sometimes takes me on a therapeutic journey back to a moment my family and I enjoyed the previous summer.

This January, one of those journeys included a morning late last August when we drove out to Provincetown, Mass., on the sandy tip of Cape Cod, and boarded one of the vessels of the Dolphin Fleet - a company that has been partnering with marine mammal experts from the Centre for Coastal Studies for more than 30 years to provide some of the finest whale-watching excursions in the coastal waters off New England.

On that journey, which took us to Stellwagen Bank - a fertile feeding ground for fish and marine mammals north of the Cape - we stood on deck in silent awe as humpback whales, one of the largest and most mysterious animals on this Earth, glided by us and as pods of dolphins danced, in synchrony, in our wake.

There was no one there hunting down these magnificent mammals, either as a source of food or as a subject of entertainment for a circus or a zoo. Stellwagen Bank is a U.S. protected marine mammal sanctuary, and it was made clear to us from the moment we left shore that we were passive guests in a sanctuary for some of the greatest creatures we have the privilege of sharing this earth with.

I thought about this journey again last week when I learned that a marine mammal, living entirely out of her natural element died on Jan. 8 at the popular Marineland amusement park in Niagara Falls.

That marine mammal was an orca, known more popularly by we humans, who have a tendency to stigmatize any wild creature we don't understand as unpredictable or dangerous, as a killer whale.

Her name was Nootka, who'd been captured for a life in show business off the shores of Iceland in 1979, and had spent many of her 40 or so years on this Earth performing tricks and splashing countless thousands of onlookers, clicking their point-and-shoot cameras in the front rows of Marineland's King Waldorf Theatre.

Nootka's passing triggered enough emotion to make the blogs.

"I am so saddened by this," said one blog writer. "I remember Nootka and she was the whale I stood in line to touch and feed over at (Marineland's) Friendship Cove."

"This sucks," added another. "That whale kicked butt! Splash sessions were amazing when she was in them."

Marineland marked Nootka's passing with remarks that were a little more sedate.

"We were heartbroken," Marineland spokeswoman Ann Marie Rondinelli was quoted as saying. "We don't like to play favourites, but (Nootka) was definitely loved by everybody."

Dan Wilson, a Niagara-on-the-Lake resident who has worked for years with the Niagara Centre for Animal Rights Awareness and Toronto-based Zoocheck to raise public awareness about what he feels is the cruelty of keeping these great mammals in captivity, says he's feeling heartbroken too.

"I'm surprised when Marineland staff say they're upset each and every time a whale dies at the park," Wilson told me following Nootka's passing. "Don't they realize that the reason the animals keep dying is the very captivity they've forced upon them?"

"If Marineland really cared about the animals' well-being," said Wilson, "it would stop taking them out of the wild, cease its captive breeding program and, instead of replacing dead whales with new ones, it would replace them with more amusement park rides. People would still come and the bottom line would be the same - lots of money for Marineland. Only the animals' suffering would end."

John Holer, Marineland's founder, once told me told me he never wanted to build a park like Wonderland where "there is strictly rides, rides, rides." A close encounter with wild animals, he said, is also a big attraction for people.

Holer is right in the sense that countless thousands of people flock to Marineland each year for the amusement of watching whales and dolphins perform tricks for them in pools holding a spit of water compared to the seas they would otherwise live out their lives in.

Orcas can live 50 to 80 years in the wild but, unfortunately, Nootka could not "kick butt" enough to escape capture from the pod she was plucked away from in open seas, where she could have been left to live out a natural life - a world away from a cement tub full of chlorinated water, and free.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The entree tonight? 'Ice swine'; Feeding pigs icewine a sweet experiment

The St. Catharines Standard, Thursday, January 31, 2008


As a premier chef at one of Niagara's top wineries, Frank Dodd routinely braises pork in fine wine.

Recently, two pigs arrived at Niagara-on-the-Lake's Hillebrand restaurant already soused.

For more than 40 days, the pair of Berkshire pigs reared at an Ingersoll, Ont.-area farm were fed a barley soybean mixture doused in 200 mL of icewine per day.

Starting in December, farmer Kevin Rivers religiously poured his young pampered pigs a serving of a 2006 Trius Vidal icewine, which sells for $49.95 per 375 mL bottle.

Not a cheap food source.

Hillebrand donated two cases (12 bottles per case) of the sweet dessert wine, made from naturally frozen grapes, in the spirit of an experiment.

The idea came to Rivers' wife, Allyson MacDonald, a wine aficionado and veterinarian who read about Australian beef cattle producers who fed red wine to their stock to satisfy the whim of the "white table cloth" Japanese market.

The couple decided to pitch the plan to Dodd, who saw it as a chance to jazz up his restaurant's luxurious icewine dinner, which was held on Saturday.

Rare Berkshire pigs, which originated in Britain, have a reputation for taking longer to fatten, but produce juicy, flavourful meat.

How You Can Help

Pigs are very intelligent animals and form complex social bonds with each other. They should be treated with dignity and respect, not slaughtered because their flesh tastes good.

Please write to The Standard about this story and call or write to Hillebrand and let them know how you feel about their "experiment."

Hillebrand Estates Winery
1249 Niagara Stone Road
Niagara On The Lake, ON
L0S 1J0
Phone: (905) 468-7123
Toll free: (800) 582-8412
Fax: (905) 468-4789

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