The End of Chick Culling, and An Inquisitive Look At Rodeo Culture

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July 1st is Sanctuary Day! To honour this special day, and those who rescue animals and take them into sanctuaries to live out the rest of their lives in peace, we speak about the importance of animal sanctuaries. We share some of our own experiences of visiting sanctuaries ourselves, both near and far.

An Inquisitive Look At Rodeo Culture

rodeo1-VHSIt’s rodeo season here in Canada with the biggest annual rodeo event, the Calgary Stampede, coming up soon from July 8th to 17th. It attracts one million visitors each year, and this ten day festival has been happening since 1912. It’s dubbed “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. So how great exactly is this show, especially for the animals who are featured in it in various demonstrations that supposedly represent the work in animal ag? And who are the people who take part in this rodeo culture?

As individuals who don’t partake in nor identify with the rodeo “culture”, it is beyond astonishing to take a glimpse into the lives of the people who do participate in this lifestyle as part of their longstanding tradition. In the CBC documentary “Cowboy Up“, we are taken on an exploration through the lives of young men and women (in Canada) who are trained in rodeo events and give it their utmost effort to be “successful” in this “sport”. (Watch the documentary to see for yourself!)

The truth is that many rodeo events use fear, stress or pain to make the animals perform. And these methods are used in events such as calf roping, bull riding, and the chuckwagon horse races. These events are dangerous, both for the people and the animals. At the Calgary Stampede itself, there have been numerous deaths of horses, for example, in the chuckwagon races, with over 60 deaths since 1986 alone.

In this segment, we speak about our impressions of the rodeo culture in our society, plus discuss singer and self-proclaimed animal advocate Jann Arden’s dire intent to participate in the Calgary Stampede parade this year, despite the cruelty the Stampede represents.

You can see some of the realities of the rodeo here:

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David Coman-Hidy, The Humane League, on the End of Chick Culling

chick1For our feature interview, we have David Coman-Hidy on the show. He is the Executive Director of The Humane League, a non-profit organization in the U.S. whose mission it is to reduce animal suffering by inspiring change at all levels. They advocate for reform at the corporate and institutional level through hard-hitting animal welfare campaigns targeting specific companies.

In early June, the United Egg Producers in the U.S. announced that it will be eliminating the practice of culling male chicks at egg laying hen hatcheries by the year 2020 or as soon as it is commercially available and economically feasible. The Egg Farmers of Ontario has also announced that the end of this cruel practise will be coming in Canada within 2 to 3 years. The impact of ending chick culling in America — the second largest egg producing country in the world — is calculated to eradicate the suffering of approximately 260 million chicks and remove nearly 1 million hens from egg production each year.

The Humane League played a large role in the negotiations of this decision, and in this interview, David tells us about what this significant change in the egg industry will mean for people and for the chickens. He addresses the question as to whether or not this more efficient process will thereby increase the number of layer eggs being produced, and explains what will happen to the eggs that are sexed as male. We also discuss the decrease in consumer demand for eggs as it currently stands, and the potential for the future.

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