In praise of the only thing that has ever worked!

From the Nova Scotia SPCA Facebook Page

The Nova Scotia SPCA is very concerned that this weekend’s planned activities may very well have a negative effect on our growing partnership with government.  We are at a delicate time, building trust and laying the foundation for strong future collaboration. Though not ill-intended, a march or rally might send the wrong signal to our policy makers which would be a disservice to animals. We are e…xceptionally grateful for the funding we have received and fully confident that government is prioritizing animal protection. We are equally grateful for the support of our community, who made this possible and who spoke up for animals. The Society is very concerned however, that the efforts of advocates on the heels of this success might very well have unintended negative results. We are also certain that our advocates would be equally troubled by this. We are therefore respectfully requesting that planned activities be curbed or stopped if possible. Thank you!

Well, then!    I am a middle-aged grandmother who wears trfocals, so I had to go back and read this little nugget twice to be absolutely certain that I actually had the right end of the stick!   Sadly, it was true!  Now that the money is on the bedstand, the society would just like the advocates to steal away quietly in the night!

We should not be surprised!   In the six years since the Society started down their brave new path, what have they actually accomplished?   Have better regulations been written to make our Animal Protection Act more meaningful?

Nope!     While “housekeeping” regulations were written to enhance the powers of the inspectors, nothing has actually changed for the animals!    Indeed, once the initial enthusiasm for the new Act had waned, the society actually allowed it to sit on the shelf, unproclaimed and therefore impotent, long after it had passed the third reading!

Indeed, as of this writing, the clauses in the Act that would have established the well needed Appeals Board are still waiting to be proclaimed!  In the interim, are we to assume that the same provincial board that circles the wagons around its inspectors and submits animal advocates names to the Dept of Agriculture will suffice as a last resort for conflict resolution?

Now here is the really interesting bit!   On the “About Us” page of the society, we are led to believe that “advocacy and engagement and collaboration with stakeholders.” is part and parcel of their Mission.  Huh!

Advocacy?     The Society ED has gone on public record as being unwilling or unable to risk the society’s CRA status with any of that darned advocacy work that makes them so uncomfortable!

Engagement?   The Society was undoubtedly surprised to find that, in spite of being repeatedly shut out, those darned pesky animal advocates were quick to rise to the occasion and graciously lend their public support to the showdown at the funding corral!

Collaboration?    How did the society repay that generous show of support?     They went from thanking folks on the fourth of March to asking them to “stand down” on the sixth!   And how did they do that?   Why on Facebook of course!

This morning, I spoke to well known animal activist, Scott Saunders on the subject, and this is what he had to say

  “I don’t really feel the Facebook post by the NS SPCA was the most appropriate way for them to communicate their feelings surrounding the planned rally.

Although the NS SPCA may have been concerned about the continuum of public outcry against the government, they must realize that they quite possibly could have been the igniter of something much larger by declaring their intentions to yank cruelty investigations across the province.

I personally believe the NS SPCA received the 100K due to the enormous amount of public outcry; people came together to tell the government that it was unacceptable for them not to financially invest in combating animal cruelty in the province.

In September 2012,  People For Dogs requested a meeting with the executive director of the NS SPCA to discuss possible challenges surrounding current legislation and the closing of any gaps which may be causing enforcement difficulties . Kristin Williams outright rejected the meeting request and stated,  ” I do not believe a conversation is necessary at this time. “

So, what is the bottom line here?   Can the society tell the animal advocates to shut up?   Of course not!   One of the best bits about living in a democracy is the liberty for anyone to speak freely on matters of concern!

Now, Annette Armitage has been speaking up for the animals as long as I have known her!    If you missed the last snippet on CBC on chained dogs, you can hear Annette’s latest interviews   HERE  …. and also    HERE

This afternoon, Shelly Hipson will be on the Rick Howe show at 3:45pm today to discuss changes in legislation to protect animals in Nova Scotia. Should this be an election issue? You can tune in online at www.news957.com

What will she be speaking of?   When I spoke to Shelly this morning, she told me that ‘

We need to move forward so that chancges to the legislation are made, and regulations are written so that no more dogs die at the end of a chain and that animal abusers have conditions.   Our voice is important.   We need to take a stand and realize that our vice is for those who are silent in all of this.   Awareness about the issues can be created in a positive way through a march.    We would support this whole heartedly as it shows that the way things are now is not acceptable.

What time is it?     It is time to remember three important facts!    That here in the real world:

  • the society openly admits that it believes 48% all all cruelty complaints last year were unfounded !
  • the society keeps giving the cold shoulder to the animal advocates who ARE willing and able to do meaningful advocacy work!
  • and where the society has made absolutely NO progress with any legislation in six years !

In other words, here in the real world, it may be time to recognize that it is actually those darned pesky animal advocates who are doing the heavy lifting … who are making animal welfare an election issue… and who are actually speaking for the animals in the media.

In other words, they understand what the society does not …. that it is time to lead, follow or get ouf of the way!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

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