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To start this episode, there has been so much happening lately in the animal rights movement, where hundreds of animal advocates have converged together at conferences such as the National Animal Rights Conference in Washington, DC, and last weekend’s Animal Liberation Toronto Conference.
The number of organized disruptions of places in public, or at businesses that conduct animal exploitation, is on the rise. As author Jessica Scott-Reid wrote in her recent article this week: “Were you annoyed by animal rights activists at some point over the last few days?” If so, the animal rights movement succeeded.
But while confrontational (yet peaceful) activism is on the rise, the situation remains to be urgent. The Amazon rainforest is currently being burnt down to make room for ranching land for the animal agriculture industry, and we are a planet in crisis. In our opening discussion for this show, we share our thoughts of the convergence of a global crisis and activism for the planet in an effort to swiftly make change before it’s too late. And we discuss the reactions of the animal exploitation industries that we see at play.
Jenny McQueen on the Toronto Maple Leaf Foods Slaughter House Lock Down
For our first interview, we welcome back fearless animal activist Jenny McQueen, who is based in Toronto, Canada, and a member of Direct Action Everywhere Toronto as well as all the other Toronto animal activism groups.
It’s always great to check in what is happening in the dynamic and well-organized Toronto animal activism scene. There is always something taking place, and this past week, it was the Animal Liberation Toronto Conference that was hosted over the course of 4 days from last Friday until this Monday, with attendees coming from all around – even from Vancouver and the U.S.
There were many actions planned for participants, such as The Official Animal Rights March of 1000 activists stopping traffic in downtown Toronto, and a visit to the home of the CEO of Fearman’s Pork, now known as “The Palace That Dead Pigs Built”.
Jenny is an instrumental part of the Toronto activism scene, and joins us in this interview to speak about this Monday’s lockdown of a Maple Leaf slaughterhouse near Toronto, where the intention was to disrupt business for a day – but they also saved some lives as well.
A 9 minute video summary of this action can be seen on Facebook here:
Bryce Casavant, Former BC Conservation Officer Speaks up for the Bears
For our feature interview, we have Bryce Casavant, the former BC conservation officer who, in 2015, was suspended after he refused to kill two black bear cubs near Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. The bear cubs’ mother was killed by Bryce after she repeatedly raided a freezer full of meat and salmon. But despite an order to kill the cubs as well, Bryce took them to a veterinary hospital instead, believing they could be rehabilitated.
Bryce followed the law and stood up for BC’s wildlife. His actions inspired a dialogue about the sustainable conservation and safe treatment of animals in British Columbia.
The cubs he saved were released back into the wild in 2016 where they continue to grow and thrive.
Bryce began working as a Natural Resource Officer with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, where his unique combination of skills, education, and frontline experience have proved invaluable.
In the BC provincial election of 2017, Bryce was asked to run as the NDP candidate in the riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head against Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. Though he ran a strong campaign, earning the support of many in the community and building the NDP support base, he did not win the election.
Today, Bryce is focusing on his doctoral studies at Royal Roads University, being an advocate for the environment in his community, and, most importantly of all, being a father to his young daughter, Athena.
This year has seen numerous killings of bears by the Conservation Officer Service already, with over 50 so far. On July 30th 2019, a Conservation Officer was chasing a mother bear and her two baby cubs through an urban residential neighbourhood in Coquitlam, BC. Three neighbourhood citizens tried to intervene by begging the officer not to shoot the bears.
The officer shot the entire family of bears. He then called the RCMP to intervene with the neighourhood individuals, where they arrested the individuals, but them let them go, after it was decided that this was not a policing matter. The Conservation Officer then issued the three citizens notices to appear in court for criminal charges of obstruction of the Wildlife Act.
In this interview, we hear more from Bryce about this case, and the GoFund Me campaign he has created to help pay the legal fees that the 3 Coquitlam residents will now be facing in court, all because they felt mercy for the animals and plead for them to be dealt with in a compassionate way. We also learn the truth about why the public sighting “counts” of BC have drastically increased since last year, and why our human residents must take on the responsibility to support safety for the wild life in Beautiful British Columbia.