This election, Canadians want action on animal issues

When we think about election issues, animal welfare is rarely top-of-mind. 

The economy, foreign policy, and the latest scandal receive far more media coverage and attention.

Still, a survey conducted by Environics Research Group1 for the International Fund for Animal Welfare has found that a majority of Canadians (55%) said that animal issues will affect for whom they vote on October 19th.

Canadians clearly want to see a change in how our government deals with animal issues. The new poll shows near-unanimous support for improving protection for both endangered species and domestic animals.

Some results: 

  • 60% of Canadians with an opinion said that government financial support for the commercial seal hunt should end, and the hunt should be left to survive or fail on its own merits.  Even in the Atlantic Provinces — traditionally the strongest supporters of the seal hunt — only 51% felt the commercial sealing industry should continue to be supported with tax dollars. 
  • A large majority (84%) said they supported regulatory changes that would require commercial seal hunters to land both the pelts and the meat from animals killed.  Unlike most other hunts, the commercial seal harvest does not require the meat from an animal to be landed or used, and statistics from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans indicate that an average of 92% of meat currently goes unused.
  • Canadians believe that the federal government has not been adequately protecting species at risk; 93% think we need to do more to protect species at risk. This comes at a time when the government has been criticized for lagging in recovery plans for 180 endangered species, violating its own legislation.
  • Further, 88% of respondents said they want to see the government close loopholes to stop endangered species from being transported through our country. Last year, Environment Canada claimed they were powerless to stop meat from endangered fin whales from being shipped across Canada. Originating in Iceland and bound for Japan, the $2.8 million “transshipment” was widely criticized as being contrary to our international commitments to protect endangered species. NDP candidate Don Davies has launched a petition to stop Canada’s role in the trade in endangered whales.  
  • There is near unanimous (95%) support for Canada to live up to its international obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and update national legislation to protect endangered species within 90 days of the addition of new species at CITES. The most recent update to Canada’s legislation came after almost a two year delay.
  • 87% of Canadians say they want to see a ban on international trade in polar bear parts. Canada is currently the only country participating in a commercial hunt of these majestic and threatened animals.

IFAW is actively campaigning to ensure that animal-friendly candidates are elected to Parliament in the upcoming election. One way Canadians can get involved is to ask candidates to “Stand up for Animals” using our online tool. You can also see where candidates stand on important animal issues, and volunteer for your preferred candidate.

No matter if you are a pet owner, wildlife lover, or both - if animals are important to you, it’s time to let your election candidates know. Together we can put animal protection back on the election agenda.


1 The survey was conducted June 3-8 by Environics Research Group via telephone as part of a national omnibus poll with 2,003 Canadians aged 18 and over. It is accurate plus or minus 2.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20.



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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Pauline Verheij, Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Country Representative, Germany
Country Representative, Germany
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy