Friday, February 26, 2010

We need another kind of champion

What a thrill to see Canadian women doing so wonderfully at the Olympics! To be perfectly honest, its just as lovely to see more sports available for all women to compete in ... bearing in mind that sixteen years ago in 1994, the women's program for the winter Olympics only included four sports - biathlon, luge, skating and skiing.
Its easy to overlook how immediate history is. I'm only fifty five, and in the space of my adult life have seen so many real shifts in what we as a society view as acceptable behavior.
I'm old enough to remember my mother being paid less to do the same job as her male counterparts. Thirty six years ago, the recruiting officers put on quite a show trying to convince me to select a 'ladylike' trade .... when the truth was they were trying to sabotage steps to open up more trades for women. I can still remember my shock in northern Alberta to find that the local hotel where my coworkers had invited me for a drink had separate entrances and areas labelled "white" and "Indian".
Fifteen years ago, the first No Kill "retreat" was a one day event with 75 attending. This summers No Kill Conference in Washington has been sold out practically since the dates were listed.
So it also made me pretty happy to read this article on the Best Friend's website this morning Petworld closes its doors . Like the people in the article, I have nothing against Pet Stores per se ... only the inappropriate practice of peddling animals from puppy mills.
Which is why I wish that more Nova Scotia pet stores were engaged in the more animal and consumer friendly practice of having satellite adoption centers, such as the SPCA satellite adoption center re-opens at Petcetera!
But I'm wandering afield here. The point that I'm making in my wandering way is that the issues that see such opposition from politicians in general and the pet industry in particular are no different than any other change.
The bloom has definitely faded on the rose that was the brave new NDP government. If they are seeking a meaningful way to improve their faltering image, support for better legislation for the animals would be a dandy place to start.
Most of the legislation that would better the lot of the animals does double duty to protect consumers or improve public safety. If the public is entitled peace of mind of publicly posted kitchen inspections, so that the relatively smallish sums they spend for dinner .... doesn't it just make sense to protect those who spend ever so much more on their new family pet?
If the animals, or their advocates, had a union rep ... they would be negotiating with the province for mandatory breeder registration and minimum housing laws. For anti tethering legislation. For legislation to ban the sale of living breathing sentient beings in the dreaded free online ad sites.
What time is it? Its time to remember that most of "today's families" are pet owning animal lovers who would support better laws for the animals. It is the one thing that all our MLA's could support that would paint a better picture for posterity than the current cartoon fodder.

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