Authored by James Videle
Economic Transition Team Leader
The Humane Party of the United States
With interest in veganism and plant based eating on the rise, it is surprising to learn that animal agriculture in Canada is a huge industry that is expected to continue growing. Farm Credit Canada expects all major sectors of Canadian Agriculture to become even more robust in 2018.
Hog Sector – 12%
Beef Sector – 8%
Poultry Sector – 7% by July 2018
Dairy Sector – 11% in the next 18 months & may surpass projections with recent news about production growth
So, where does that leave the efforts of animal rights activists in Canada? Unfortunately, this recent upsurge seems to indicate that our efforts as vegans and animal liberation activists are somewhat falling on deaf ears within the industry itself, as well as in the government.
Stats indicate that in 2016, the entire industry exploited and/or killed 743,241,300 farmed animals. This includes cows and goats for their milk, calves, pigs, cows, turkeys, ducks, sheep, chickens for their flesh and chickens for their eggs. Farmed fish certainly belongs in the category of exploited animals, but presently the industry is quite small and numbers are difficult to find. For the purposes of this article, animals farmed for their fur are not included, even though they, like farmed animals raised for food, are exploited for profit. Below I have outlined numbers of animals for each distinct species and the two provinces that are the worst offenders. Verification of stats can be found at Statistics Canada.
TOP TWO EXPLOITING PROVINCES ACCOUNTING FOR 62% OF ALL ANIMALS RAISED:
|Animal Use for Food
|Cows for Beef||6,526,100||3,061,200||1,477,600|
|Cows For Milk||1,384,600||480,400||492,800|
|Calves (Beef & Dairy)||3,939,300||1,703,700||771,200|
|Hens for Eggs||29,437,000||11,060,000||5,532,000|
With the population of Canada estimated at 36.29 million, logistically speaking, our nation exploits and/or kills over 20 animals annually for every man, woman and child. This consumption of animals for what passes as food is neither natural, nor necessary even though it has been normalized in our society by both farmed animal agriculture and our governments for the sole purpose of making a profit and propping up the economy.
9,052,395,000 farmed land animals exploited and/or killed annually
28 animals for each man, woman and child
Collectively, Canada and the United States kill 9.8 billion farmed animals annually. These animals are routinely and systematically exploited for their flesh, their milk and their eggs. Chickens and cows who are confined for their eggs and milk are slaughtered when their production decreases, having been labelled as “spent”. On average, cows are slaughtered at 4-5 years of age and chickens at two years of age, well before the end of their natural life spans.
Canada and the United States actively trade products within the borders of North America. This trading includes live animals as well as the “products” of these animals We, as Canadians and Americans are without a doubt, “in bed with each other” when it comes to intentionally causing animal suffering.
As activists what are we to do?
Never stop fighting till the fight is done.
If we stop advocating, there will be a meteoric rise in animal exploitation. Every time we are out in front of the slaughterhouses or marching to close them down, an undeniable message is sent. Every time we write an article to be shared with the world at large or contact our governmental representatives, we help to back further into a corner those individuals and corporations causing the most suffering. History show us that the rights of women would never have been realized if the Suffragettes had not persevered. Rights for people of color would never have been realized if the civil rights activists curtailed their message. We must keep pushing forward.
But marching and protesting is not enough. We must take the next most important step and award rights to all animal species. Their voices must be heard within the human community and the only way to do that is to be the human representative for them. We need to learn what their exact needs and desires are and advocate explicitly for them. To this end, the Humane Party of the United States has launched Zoocracy, a system of government and representation.
Zoocracy is a representative form of government in which members of all sentient species—not just homo sapiens—hold permanent political power of equal dignity. The term zoocracy derives from the Greek zoion, meaning “animal” (as in zoology), and kratos, meaning “rule” (as in democracy).
Zoocracy is akin to democracy, in that decisions are made by vote of an enfranchised population. But democracy—in theory, in practice, and in etymology (the Greek demos means “common people,” i.e., humans—pertains to an enfranchised population that is limited to humans, whereas zoocracy extends the franchise to all species.
While the idea of giving the vote to animals is in its infant stages, it is the new future for a compassionate world. It is avant-garde, being both ahead of our time as well as needed for the future of us all. Let’s make the time for it now.
1) Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights, written by Canadian authors Sue Donaldson & Will Kymlicka
Annie’s Vegan View
I support the The Humane Party of the United States for bringing to light this basic need and for working to make it a reality.
May all beings be happy and free.