BtC: Actions Speak Louder (Calgary)
April 15, 2011 16 Comments
I do apologise in advance if I come across as a bit of a broken record for those who stop by quarterly during the Blog the Change for Animals campaign, but, while the cause is the same, I am happy to provide some exciting new updates from the front lines!
I first participated in BtC4Animals in October 2010 as a new blogger, inspired by Richmond, B.C.’s movement for a ban on the sale of dogs in pet stores. And I really have to give BtC some credit for igniting the fire when I look back on the path that I have since travelled.
In January my BtC entry was a tale of continued commitment to the cause in spite of little to no recognition, alluding to a forthcoming bigger movement regarding the elimination of retail pet sales.
And now, I am happy to write to you all today about the Actions Speak Louder (Calgary) campaign!
Actions Speak Louder (Calgary) (ASLC) was founded by a group of us who were sick of sitting around and just talking about how change in the pet industry needs to be made – we wanted to do something about it. And so ASLC was born and officially launched in early March 2011.
The first priority and focus of ASLC is retail pet sales, and we are currently in the process of obtaining petition signatures that ask the City of Calgary to implement a bylaw that will ban the sale of dogs and cats on all commercial and public properties. Adoptions through legitimate rescue organizations, of course, are exempt, and we would be thrilled to see those retail stores that do currently sell dogs and cats retrofit themselves to enable collaboration with a rescue organization instead. So no, we are not saying you will not be able to see a dog or cat in a pet store. Instead, we would like to see an end to the breeding of these animals purely for profit and the treatment of these animals as a commodity to be bought and sold on a whim.
Do we think this is going to solve all animal welfare problems? No, certainly not. But it is an important – and very visible – first step, and has so far successfully got many Calgarians thinking more about the issues.
Sure, when we initially sat down we wanted to target pet stores, puppy mills, backyard breeders, online pet sales… you name it. But in order to avoid being bogged down in the details or spread too thin among several issues, we decided to focus; one step at a time. And the most visible, effective way for ASLC to start the movement here is at the municipal level. Then, if enough municipalities follow suit (and the movement is growing), as in the past, that is when provincial – or even federal – governments begin to take notice.
While pet stores may indeed be a small part of the bigger overall problem concerning responsible pet procurement and guardianship, to suggest a municipal pet sale ban is entirely the wrong approach is to write them off as an non-issue altogether, which is inaccurate. This is a good first step – emphasis on “first”.
And when I say ASLC has started to get Calgarians thinking more about where their pets come from, I am not kidding. A full list of the our media coverage can be found here on our website. Highlights include:
The Calgary Herald, March 21, 2011: Petition calls on Calgary council to ban selling of companion pets
CTV Calgary, March 26, 2011, article & video: Local animal group not allowed to petition at Pet Expo
Calgary Herald, March 28, 2011: Calgary Petland stores fight petition against selling dogs, cats
And most recently, this televised debate between an ASLC founder, a Petland store owner, and a veterinarian:
Alberta Primetime, April 7, 2011, discussion: Selling Pets in Alberta (video)
As you can tell from the many comments to the online news articles, this is an issue many in our city are very passionate about.
In addition to media coverage, we have also received overwhelming and very encouraging public support.
The list of businesses and rescue organizations that hope to see ASLC successful is growing regularly, and include rescue organizations such as the Edmonton Humane Society, The Meow Foundation, and Pound Rescue; ethical pet retailers such as Pet Planet, No Bowndaries Pet World, Pet Valu, and Rocky Mountain Tails Pet Shop & Spa; and dog training companies such as Clever Canines and Dogma. Not to mention those on the list outside of the pet community that have endorsed ASLC and helped to spread the word!
ASLC also currently has 39 locations around the city – and we add more to the list regularly – that have opened their doors to the cause and allowed us to have our petition available for their clients and customers.
So what can you do?
Spreading the word is key – we want to get Calgary (and everyone, really) talking and thinking!
If you’re from Calgary, of course sign the petition! While upwards of 60,000 signatures in a 60 day period would be required for a plebiscite (forced bylaw), ASLC would simply like to petition through the summer and obtain as many signatures as possible and continue to educate Calgarians about the issues. It is Council’s job to address issues important to the City, so change can and will still come about if Calgary shows it cares and would like to see change – which is exactly why the City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services is also supporting the ASLC petition. So, say we obtain the 60,000 signature target, but it takes longer than 60 days? Or even just 20,000 signatures? Those numbers are enough of a representation that City Council will raise its collective eyebrows and undertake a consideration of the issue.
If you would like to volunteer your time at an event, become a petition host, or have your company included as a supporter, contact us at email@example.com and we will make it happen.
We also have ASLC t-shirts and bandanas for sale and hope to add additional merchandise locations in the near future. Or just pop by one of our events advertised on Facebook, sign the petition, and pick up a sticker or two.
If you’re not from Calgary, but would like to initiate Actions Speak Louder (YourCityHere), get together with a group of committed and like-minded individuals and drop us a line – we would love to assist from here in any way that we can!
To read about more causes from more bloggers, visit the Blog the Change for Animals link list here.