This Election, Canadians Want Action on Animal Issues

This Election, Canadians Want Action on Animal Issues
Wednesday, 16 September, 2015

The International Fund for Animal Welfare released the results of a survey today showing that animal issues will affect how the majority of Canadians cast their ballot on October 19th. It also shows near unanimous support for improving protection for both endangered species and domestic animals.

“The Government of Canada has been failing animals across the board, and Canadians know it,” said Sheryl Fink, Director of Wildlife Programs for IFAW Canada. “The question is, how will the new government elected on October 19th meet the demands being made by Canadians, and stand up for animals? Canadians want a government that will take direct action to protect endangered species. We need revisions to the criminal code to make it easier to convict on animal cruelty charges. And there is tremendous support for ending financial support to continue the commercial seal hunt. We should instead support a license buyout or some other measure that helps transition the few remaining sealers out of this unnecessary industry.”

IFAW is actively campaigning to ensure that animal-friendly candidates are elected to Parliament. One way Canadians can get involved is to visit to find out which federal election candidate in their riding has committed to “Stand up for Animals.”

The survey asked Canadians a variety of questions related to federal jurisdiction over animals. It found that Canadians want to see change in how the government deals with animal issues.

Results of the Survey:

  • The commercial seal hunt should not continue to receive government subsidies, and should be required to use the entire animal.
    • A majority of Canadians (54%) believe that government support for the commercial seal hunt should end, and the hunt should be left to survive or fail on its own.
    • A large majority (84%) want to see an end to the massive waste of meat perpetrated by the commercial seal hunt which, unlike most other hunts, does not require the meat from an animal to be landed or used. Statistics from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans indicate that an average of 92% of meat from the East coast commercial hunt is unused.
  • 92% of respondents agree that we need to update the Criminal Code to make it easier to convict on charges of animal cruelty.
  • 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.
  • 88% 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.
  • 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.

The survey was conducted June 3-18, 2015, 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.

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at

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Sheryl Fink (IFAW CA)
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519 830 0046
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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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