Thursday, October 11, 2012

The LAST Thing That Will Help Animal Welfare In Ontario Is Giving MORE Power To The OSPCA

Three-point plan
• Amend OSPCA Act to improve enforcement, increase its powers
• Create new regulations to protect marine mammals in captivity
• Explore options for licensing of zoos, aquariums

Yesterday as a result of recent outrage over the treatment of animals at Marineland, the provincial government unveiled its new plan to protect the safety and health of animals kept in zoos and aquariums. Two words come to mind when reading the statements made by Community Safety Minister Madelaine Meilleur :

Lip service.

If you have not already done so please take a minute to read the letter I sent on behalf of concerned Ontarians to the Premier, MPP Frank Klees, Minister Meilleur, and OSPCA CEO Kate Macdonald. I have yet to receive a response from Kate Macdonald or Madelaine Meilleur. I expected to not receive a reply from the CEO, but to not hear from the Minister in charge of overseeing the organization? That tells me she really does not seem to consider any problems within the organization, rather thinks appeasing a few will offset the concerns of many.

It appears the issue of abuse at the hands of the OSPCA have fallen on deaf ears. I'm beginning to wonder if the government has even been made aware of the internal OSPCA memo detailing the need to hide salaries from the public and the government.

"A report released Wednesday by the province's Animal Welfare Task Force recommended changes to clarify the organization's powers and ensure its own shelters are inspected by an independent party."

We can only hope the government ACTS on the recommended changes as the OSPCA has proven itself to outright defy any previous recommendations made by the Lesage/Meek report, an act that can be seen as nothing less than a slap to the face of Ontario citizens and donors. The government better realize Ontarians will not turn the other cheek to be slapped again. We have long grown tired of the lip service. Prove us wrong.

What gives the OSPCA the right to break the law whenever it sees fit?

The OSPCA has stated that they were unable to examine all animals at Marineland because “It is important that the public understands that any animal found to be under the care of a licensed veterinarian is exempt under the OSPCA Act . . . and therefore is removed from the society’s investigation.” Riddle me this OSPCA. Why two years back when you raided the Toronto Humane Society did you not afford that organization the same courtesy UNDER THE LAW that you have Marineland? That must be just one of the reasons the OSPCA was found in breach (yet again) of charter violations.

What gives the OSPCA the right to consistently hide information from the public?

Yesterday OSPCA Chair Rob Godfrey stated he would welcome government oversight of the organization

“There is nothing hidden and there shouldn’t be anything hidden”

Okay, let's roll.....

- What are the salaries at the OSPCA? Remember the internal memo stating the need to HIDE these figures? I guess not.

-  Just what percentage of donations and government funds given to the OSPCA goes to the care of animals? What percentage goes to salaries? What percentage goes to legal costs and out of court settlements? What percentage goes to company retreats and conferences?

- How many veterinarians are on staff at the OSPCA? Does anyone other than the veterinarians perform euthanasia?

- What training do volunteers receive?

- What system is used for basic record keeping so animals can be properly cared for?

- What bio-security protocols are in place to ensure the safety of animals?

Minister Meullier please prove Ontarians wrong by ACTING on investigating these concerns. To not do so before granting the OSPCA even more power would be unforgivable.

***Do you have any further concerns you'd like to see addressed when it comes tothe OSPCA? Feel free to comment ad if ever I do hear from Minister Meilleur I'll be sure to pass them along.