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Canadian Projects

Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA's Canadian Representative


Barry is an artist, both with words and with paint. He has been associated with our organization for nearly three decades and is our go-to guy for any wildlife question. He knows his animals — especially birds — and the issues that affect them. His blogs will give you just the tip of his wildlife-knowledge iceberg, so be sure to stay and delve deeper into his Canadian Project articles. If you like wildlife and reading, Barry's your man. (And we're happy to have him as part of our team, too!)

NBD Special (Part IV): Help Birds By Being a Squeaky Wheel

Published 12/20/11

(Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Monica writes:

Many people mistakenly believe that all animals sold in pet shops are protected by laws. But while the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) mandates that certain animal facilities comply with licensing, inspection and care requirements, retail pet stores (with the exception of those that sell "wild and exotic" animals) are not regulated under the act.

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NBD Special (Part III): Birding's Challenge

You Don't Have to be a Genius to be a Birder, But It Helps

Published 12/13/11

(Editor’s note: This is the third in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Barry writes:

While I won’t embarrass him by naming him (he’s well-known in certain animal protection and environmental circles) I have a friend who, at about the age I am (we won’t go into details, but let’s just say we both qualify as boomers) has discovered the joys of birding.

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NBD Special (Part II): Captive Birds Need Protection Now!

Published 12/06/11

(Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Monica writes:

Most people are surprised to learn that captive exotic birds commonly sold in the pet trade or used for other entertainment purposes do not have specific protections under the Federal Animal Welfare Act, which mandates that certain animal facilities comply with licensing, inspection and care requirements.

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NBD Special: What, Exactly, Is This Thing Called Birding?

Millions Enjoy Animals Without Hurting Them?

Published 11/29/11

(Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Barry writes:

It used to be called “bird watching,” which was misleading. Now it is called “birding,” a bit better, perhaps, but also not a term that conveys much. “It” is an activity (that part is certain) that may or may not be considered a sport or a hobby, may or may not be competitive, and is usually but not necessarily harmless. It can become, for some people, an obsession bordering on, and maybe crossing into, the realm of the absurd.

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Two Great Victories in Toronto for Animals — at Just One Council Meeting!

Published 10/26/11

Tuesday was a memorable date for me and for Born Free USA.

I had helped work on a proposal by Toronto City Hall Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker to ban the ownership, sale or consumption of shark in Toronto. Shark fin, considered to be an expensive delicacy used in traditional Chinese cuisine for special occasions, too often derives from the cruel practice called “finning” — cutting the fins off sharks and dumping the bodies, at times still alive, back into the ocean.

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Toronto Councillor Needs Your Help in Bringing Shark Fin Ban to the Finish Line

Published 10/19/11

As I shared in my previous blog, "Shark Fin Ban for Toronto: So Far, So Good," Toronto is closing in on a ban of shark fins. Below is a letter from Councillor Glenn De Baermaeker, who is working all out on behalf of the proposed ban. Please help him in his efforts by heeding his call to e-mail the lawmakers he cites in his letter. The deadline is Monday, Oct. 24. Thank you! — Barry

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Shark Fin Ban for Toronto: So Far, So Good

Committee Votes to Save the Sharks

Published 10/17/11

On Thursday, Oct. 13, I was one of many speakers who addressed the Licensing and Standards Committee at Toronto’s City Hall, on whether Toronto should ban the sale, possession or consumption of shark fin. The ban was promoted by indefatigable city councillor Glenn De Baermaeker, a staunch conservationist and animal protectionist. On Oct. 7, the entire state of California passed just such a ban and the council of the city of Mississauga, adjacent to Toronto, had unanimously passed its ban on Oct. 12. On May 17 the city of Brantford became the first Canadian jurisdiction to ban shark fin.

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Sealers and Politicians; Apples and Oranges

Why Inuit Challenge to EU Seal Product Ban Makes So Little Sense

Published 09/30/11

Sometimes in a dispute the two sides are so far apart, so ensconced in such different worlds that resolution of the conflict not only will not happen, it seems it cannot happen.

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