The Canadian government should spend more on protecting animals than killing them

Most Canadians care about animals and can assume that our governments fund animal welfare. One of the key roles of government is to spend public funds to fund socially useful organizations and provide services that benefit our communities, our environment, our economy and our lives. Governments spend money on animals. But in Canada, more of the funds go to killing animals, not protecting them.

The Federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change protects certain wildlife habitats, species and, sometimes, individual animals. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency officially oversees the welfare of animals destined for slaughter, at least for part of the process. But the lion’s share of federal money allocated to animal-related activities in Canada is shoveled to the private, for-profit industries that kill them.

The federal Liberal Party proudly points out that $2.7 billion in public funds has been made available to dairy, chicken and egg farmers since 2015 to mitigate the impact of new trade deals — $2.7 billion . This is in addition to the various multi-million dollar federal grants and subsidies regularly given to cattle ranching and even fur farming.

In contrast, even though animal abuse is prohibited by the Criminal Code, there is no infrastructure or federal investment dedicated to animal protection. There are no federal animal cruelty investigators. There is no national hotline to report suspected cruelty. There are no transfer payments to the provinces for humane law enforcement, cruelty prevention or humane education. And there is no minister of animal welfare or federal watchdog empowered to represent the interests of animals.

There are signs that the federal government is beginning to recognize that Canadians care about animal welfare. There is growing talk of banning the testing of cosmetics on animals, and the new Jane Goodall Act, if passed, would dramatically curb the trade and commercial display of wild animals in captivity. The federal government has also pledged to end the export of live horses sent overseas for slaughter, although this has yet to be achieved.

However, at the same time, the Canadian government continues to support factory farms and slaughterhouses where hundreds of millions of animals experience suffering that we would never accept for dogs, cats or parakeets.

One could say that factory farming and slaughterhouses should benefit from public subsidies, because they create jobs and food. However, these two important goals can and should be pursued without so much suffering and death. And the sad truth is that logging work is so physically and psychologically damaging that few Canadians want to do it. Slaughterhouses are increasingly occupied by poor people from other countries who desperately seek a path to citizenship.

Moreover, industrial animal farming is one of the major contributors to climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, biodiversity loss, ocean degradation and to soil depletion – yet our government continues to spend billions to keep it afloat.

Farmers who want to create foods that don’t fuel climate change and involve endless suffering and killing are forced to try and compete with heavily subsidized animal agribusinesses. Meanwhile, a global race to grow meat and dairy without killing animals is underway, and Canada should seize this important opportunity to modernize our food system and create new, good jobs, including in communities. rural.

A food system that is animal-friendly, eco-friendly and fair to humans deserves strategic government support, as does front-line animal protection. In fact, the two should work hand in hand.

If the Canadian government promoted humane and ethical economic growth and invested even half of our money to protect other species that it offers to corporations that kill them, so many innocent animals victimized by illegal and legal cruelty would be saved.

Kendra Coulter is Professor of Management and Organizational Studies at Huron University College at Western University and a Fellow of the Oxford Center for Animal Ethics. Jessica Scott-Reid is a freelance writer and animal advocate.