Archive Page 2

Shelter dogs

National poll finds 43 per cent of Canadians buy dogs from breeders, and most don’t know how many homeless dogs we’ve got.

The largest proportion of the poll’s 1,008 telephone respondents — 11 per cent — put the number of unwanted dogs brought to shelters in Canada every year at 10,000.

According to the survey’s statistics, the actual number of dogs admitted to shelters annually is over three times that, at more than 36,000. Many of these animals are destroyed when homes cannot be found for them.


Tipping point

Biologists predict Manitoba’s polar bears will disappear within thirty years.

The increasing length of the ice-free season on Hudson Bay will soon reach a tipping point where 20 to 30 per cent of Manitoba’s polar bears will begin dying off every year, according to a mathematical analysis released by Stirling’s colleague, University of Alberta biologist Andrew Derocher, who has studied polar bears for 28 years.

The predictions mean the province that calls itself the polar bear capital of the world may no longer be able to count the iconic Arctic animal as a resident species within a generation.

Desperate situation

Coombs’ World Parrot Refuge reeling from loss of gaming grants.

The Coombs sanctuary remains open and refuge co-founder Wendy Huntbatch hopes a tourist boom later this month will allow her to hire back employees. For now, the sanctuary is struggling to care for more than 800 birds, more than 100 extra compared to the same time last year, as more continue to arrive.

Huntbatch has been using her own credit card for the last five months to help care for the parrots, many of whom require expensive veterinary care. A thrift shop on the Coombs property opened last month to help alleviate some of the pressure but it is a desperate situation, said Huntbatch.

“We’ll keep on struggling,” said Huntbatch. “I spend every penny I’ve got supporting them.”


This year’s BC SPCA Awards Program Honourees.

Keeping Nikki MacKenzie busy are her letter-writing campaigns. She keeps a thick file of newspaper clippings about animal cruelty investigations, and refers to their horrific details as she appeals in writing to provincial and federal politicians for tougher animal cruelty legislation.

Any other meat

When in Korea . . .

I ordered a plate of shredded dog meat along with a dog-meat stew. Once the food arrived and I looked down at what I ordered, thoughts of my grandmother’s incredibly cute shih tzu (named Geegee) starting dancing in my head and I began to feel nauseous.

A slight panic then took over because I couldn’t think of a way I could leave the packed restaurant with a legitimate excuse. I also didn’t want to look like a big wimp to my friends and relatives who would later be asking me how it was.

So I kept telling myself that I got this far and this would be a one-time experience. It also helped, somewhat, that the shredded meat looked like a Peking duck dish that you could order at a local Chinese restaurant back home in Canada and the stew just looked like any other meat-based stew.

Bears threatened

Alberta designates grizzlies a threatened species.

Critics rightly point out the threatened tag might not even protect them from being hunted again. The province will reassess the hunting ban next year from the point of view of individual management areas and Knight admits the designation doesn’t mean a threatened species can’t be hunted.

The Alberta Wildlife Act was previously changed to permit the minister to authorize hunting of a threatened species.

But it’s not hunting that’s the biggest threat to grizzlies; the bigger threat is when oil and gas and forestry development encroaches into bear country and the public uses their roads for access into the sensitive habitat.

Cyborg cows

At a high-tech dairy farm in Moncton.

The day begins with the first milking at 4:30 a.m. As each cow is led into the “milking parlour” a computer reads a microchip in her ear, relaying information about milk output to a screen attached to the milking machine.

This information allows farm workers to keep track of how much milk each cow is producing. If a cow produces below her average, it’s a signal she may be sick.

A computer monitor attached to the wall provides detailed information on each cow. The flat screen looks out of place on the manure-splattered wall.



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Don LePan's Animals


Justine Pimlott's Cat City


Erika Ritter's The Dog by the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath