Position Statement Regarding Exotic Pets:
Approved by the WHS Board of Directors in October 2021
The Winnipeg Humane Society supports limitations on the number and type of exotic animals that can be kept as pets. Further, the Winnipeg Humane Society strongly opposes the taking of animals from the wild into captivity, for entertainment or companionship purposes. Our organization continues to advocate for the highest of welfare standards possible for all animals kept as pets regardless of species. As many exotic animals have complex and highly specific husbandry needs, we encourage prospective owners to seek companionship from animals who have proven to thrive when under human care.
Position Statement Regarding Ag-Gag Legislation:
Approved by the WHS Board of Directors in 2020
The Winnipeg Humane Society opposes legislation that is intended to make it more difficult to enforce animal protection laws, which decreases the welfare of farmed animals by targeting those advocating on their behalf. The Winnipeg Humane Society calls on all levels of government to instead strengthen animal protection laws and take meaningful steps to increase enforcement of those laws.
Position Statement Regarding Zoos and Aquariums:
Approved by the WHS Board of Directors on: December 11, 2019
The Winnipeg Humane Society understands the dire need for local and international conservation efforts to be employed by accredited organizations, in order to mitigate habitat destruction and species extinction. As such, the WHS acknowledges that accredited non-profit zoological facilities and aquariums do have a role to play in conservation and public education initiatives.
The WHS applauds facilities that hold a primary focus on the following mandates:
- Preserve and restore endangered species populations through captive breeding and release programs;
- Support the investigation of cruelty cases involving exotic animals requiring specialized care;
- Financially support and partner with global conservation programs;
- Educate the public on the needs of wild animals, their ecosystems, and how to help.
The Winnipeg Humane Society strongly encourages existing accredited zoological facilities to shift their focus away from displaying live animal species as a means of public education. Rather, the WHS encourages such facilities focus on launching local and global animal conservation initiatives, while simultaneously acting as refuges and sanctuaries for un-releasable wildlife and confiscated exotic pets.
Specifically, the WHS encourages accredited zoological facilities to transition by:
- Only breeding species classified as endangered, according to their Species Survival Program, including a plan to reintroduce offspring back into the wild;
- Provide larger public education displays that stress the themes of climate change, habitat destruction and appropriate courses of action that the public can take;
- Take into account the complex and lasting maternal and social relationships various animals form, and the psychological impact that occurs when separating and shipping animals to other facilities;
- Exceed currently accepted industry standards as they relate to the training and husbandry of all animals within zoological facilities, including the ability to allow all housed species to carry out their most basic natural instincts like flying, migrating, burrowing, foraging, etc;
- Act as sanctuaries for un-releasable wild animals and refuges for the thousands of inappropriate exotic pets (caimen, tigers, kinkajous, etc) that can be found across Canada;
- Pledge to stop transporting display animals (including reptiles) off-site to use them as live props while conducting educational programs.
The Winnipeg Humane Society strongly opposes facilities that display wild animals and the primary business is to profit from public interaction and viewing of the displayed animals. These type of activities have no place in a humane and respectful community.
The following WHS Position Statements were approved by the WHS Board of Directors on May 01, 2021
Animal Abuse Registry:
Animal abuse registries are an increasingly important law enforcement tool and screening mechanism to protect animals from harm. The Winnipeg Humane Society supports the creation of a national animal abuse registry and calls on all levels of government to work together to create a comprehensive registry accessible by law enforcement and those organizations that sell or adopt animals to the general public (such as animal shelters and pet stores).
The Winnipeg Humane Society opposes the cropping of a dog’s ears for aesthetic and showing purposes. The Winnipeg Humane Society does not oppose the cropping of a dog’s ear(s) when deemed medically necessary by a certified Veterinarian.
The Winnipeg Humane Society opposes the amputation of tails on canines for aesthetic and showing purposes. The Winnipeg Humane Society does not oppose the docking of a dog’s tail when deemed medically necessary by a certified Veterinarian.
The Winnipeg Humane Society supports the practice of tattooing the ears of canines and felines as a means of permanent identification, only when done by a certified veterinary professional, using proper anesthesia and analgesia. The Winnipeg Humane Society does not support the use of clamp tattoos as a means of identification.
The Winnipeg Humane Society supports the practice of microchipping canines and felines subcutaneously, as a means of permanent identification, only when done by a certified veterinary professional, with the recommendation of using proper anesthesia and analgesia methods.
The Winnipeg Humane Society opposes the live exportation of purposely bred draft horses to international destinations like Japan for human consumption.
The Winnipeg Humane Society opposes the purchasing of horses from auction for the purpose of sending them to slaughter within Canada. Compromised, geriatric and companion horses are among those purchased, and go on to travel vast distances to one of Canada’s federally approved horse slaughterhouses. The Winnipeg Humane Society feels that this industry is not regulated strongly enough, and therefor has potential to cause severe human health risks and severe equine welfare concerns.
The Winnipeg Humane Society opposes the practice of keeping a mare pregnant and confined within a stall during her entire pregnancy, in order to collect her urine (Pregnant Mare Urine) for pharmaceutical use.
The Winnipeg Humane Society opposes the use of carriage horses for entertainment purposes. Numerous reports have surfaced nationally showing carriage horses succumbing to their exhaustion, as well as retired carriage horses being bid on by meat buyers at horse auctions.
Animal Training Methods:
The WHS supports training methods that revolve around how each individual animal processes and learns about their environment. As such, the WHS utilizes humane teaching methods in an environment that promotes kindness and respect for the welfare of the animal.
When training, the WHS supports the use of positive reinforcement methods such as treats and play rewards and does not support methods of handling that evoke fear or inflict pain.
The WHS is opposed to any training equipment that causes an animal to experience physical discomfort or undue fear or anxiety. Such examples include pinch collars, shock collars, water spraying, electric fences, and more.
The Winnipeg Humane Society opposes the breeding of pets solely for profit and without proper regard for the health and safety of the animals. Such examples range from backyard breeders to large scale puppy mills, who seek financial gain over the well-being of the individual animals.
The Winnipeg Humane Society supports the use of service animals such as guide dogs and therapy dogs as well as emotional support animals when positive reinforcement methods are used to train them and their use as service animals does not harm them. The Winnipeg Humane Society acknowledges the pivotal role these animals can play in maintaining a person’s overall well-being and calls on all levels of government to further regulate and protect these animals and those that rely upon them.
The Winnipeg Humane Society opposes the use of euthanasia as a method for population control. The Winnipeg Humane Society makes every effort to avoid euthanizing animals and only employs accepted humane methods to do so.
The Winnipeg Humane Society is a strong supporter of surgical sterilization of dogs, cats and rabbits by experienced veterinarians using appropriate anesthesia and analgesia. The Winnipeg Humane Society believes that spaying and neutering is an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. All dogs, cats and rabbits adopted from the Winnipeg Humane Society are sterilized prior to being adopted out to a new home.
Exotic Pet Displays and Presentations:
The Winnipeg Humane Society does not support the transportation and use of exotic animals in traveling displays, educational presentations or for entertainment purposes. Exotic animals not only pose a public safety risk during interactions, they also force non-domesticated species to be displayed in unnatural, stress-inducing environments. The Winnipeg Humane Society feels that the handling and parading of exotics in unconventional settings promotes ownership, rather than conservation, of complex, misunderstood, and sometimes dangerous animals.