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 with Rob Miskosky

A Time to Fight Back

They call themselves Animal Justice Canada Legislative Fund, better known as just “Animal Justice”. Their website claims they are a “Federally incorporated not-for-profit dedicated to advocating for the humane treatment of animals.”

Which sounds rosy, if in fact “advocating for the humane treatment of animals” is actually all they are doing. You know, don’t kick the dog kind of stuff.

Looking through their website, it becomes quite clear that there is some muscle behind this group, as almost all of their “people in position” are lawyers holding various degrees in animal law.

Their founder, Nicholas dePencier Wright, is a “Toronto based lawyer and political campaigner”, so I would guess he has connections in government too.

“We love to celebrate our trophies, but are we prepared to fight to keep trophy hunting?”

Another lawyer and the Executive Director of Animal Justice, Camille Labchuk, has written under her bio, “Camille’s work includes documenting the commercial seal kill on Canada’s East Coast, exposing cruelty in farming, and campaigns against trophy hunting, circuses, zoos, aquariums, shark finning, puppy mills, and more.” Camille also defends “animal advocates”, better known to hunters, anglers and trappers as animal-rights activists, of which she is surely one.

Animal Justice have their hands in many places too, fighting against wolf and grizzly bear hunting to defending an animal-rights activist that has been plaguing a Vancouver-based furrier, Snowflake Furs, to calling on the Calgary Humane Society to Prosecute Rodeo Cruelty at the Calgary Stampede.

Animal Justice were also the group that started the online petition in Toronto to stop the African Hunting Events show at the Holiday Inn, who, of course, buckled like a cheap tent on a windy slope.

Next to fold was the Borgata Wedding and Event Venue in Vaughan, Ontario but not until after the African Hunting Events show was actually setting up. Borgata cited concerns over damage to their property from the animal-rights protesters outside as being the reason.

Finally, the show was given a venue at the Premier Place Banquet Hall in Vaughan despite protesters screaming profanities and chanting “there’s no excuse for animal abuse” outside the hall.

Now, Animal Justice is the proud owner of the online petition to stop the African Hunting Events show from appearing at Calgary’s Coast Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre January 30-31. We won’t know the outcome of this petition when this magazine goes to print but as of January 18, the show was still scheduled to go on despite nearly 3,500 virtual signatures against it.

But hunters aren’t lying down and several are fighting back, including SCI Canada’s Operations Manager Jason St. Michael who sent out a “Hunting in Canada Needs Your Help” alert after the Borgata fiasco saying, “We need your help to let these people know that we are hunters and we, too, have rights.”

The alert was posted on many outdoors forums including the Alberta Outdoorsmen Forum on the hunting page.

In never ceases to amaze me how many of these so-called “not-for-profit” groups there are out there trying to bilk money from city-dwelling folk that have lost their connection to the outdoors. And of course, just like all the rest of them, Animal Justice has a big “donate” button front and center on their website.

But perhaps most concerning about this group is their political activism, establishing “Humane Voters Canada” with a goal for engagement in the political process to ultimately influence the legislative process by electing candidates supporting animal protection issues and by working to defeat candidates who have demonstrated a disregard for animal protection.

Ultimately, outdoorsmen and women will lose at the political level lest we let our voices be heard. Contact your MLA today and let them know how you feel. ■

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