Libraries’ role in helping to reduce cruelty to animals.

The British Columbia SPCA discusses how public libraries can be used to expose children to feeling empathy for animals which can, in turn, result in reduced incidences of animal abuse and cruelty. The Vancouver Public Library (VPL) has created an excellent list of children’s resources that features works about animals and their care. The BC SPCA has a list of resources that it is happy to share with public libraries. The society asks people to contact their local library with this message:

A sincere thank you for the work you do to promote literacy and child development. I am disturbed in learning about the link between domestic violence and animal abuse (learn more from I believe we can make a difference in people’s attitudes towards each other and animals if we help them develop empathy from a young age. I am writing to ask: will you order the books on this list and promote them in our library? By doing so, I am confident that your actions will help make a difference in an at risk child’s life.

This is such a wonderful initiative, and kudos to VPL. I think this would be a splendid course of action across public libraries in Canada.


Greyhound racing ban in New South Wales

The New South Wales government has passed a bill to ban greyhound racing, in a country where this sport – a term I use very loosely – is still mostly legal. Greyhound racing is problematic for a number of reasons:

  • It can lead to overbreeding of dogs
  • High euthanasia rates for dogs who are injured, or who are no longer suitable for racing
  • Injuries to thousands of dogs
  • Racing dogs live very solitary lives, deprived of human contact and socialization
  • Live baits, in the form of rabbits. piglets, or possums, are sometimes used to train the dogs, who are sighthounds.

Although there are several societies that rescue former racing dogs and put them in foster homes, and, eventually, in permanent homes, not all of these dogs can be accommodated by the societies. In most cases, the greyhound industry regulates itself, which is hardly a reassurance that animals will be treated well.

Greyhound racing is not, unfortunately, illegal in Canada; rather, betting is allowed on only horse racing. This means that amateur greyhound racing can occur in Canada, e.g., the Calida Greyhound Race Track in Red Deer, Alberta. Lure coursing is practised also in Canada. There isn’t much information about the treatment and fate of racing greyhounds in Canada, unfortunately.

Information about greyhound rescue groups in Canada may be found here.