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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!)

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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Vancouver, the New Capital for Smuggling Wildlife into Canada

We’re Number Two, Here in the Greater Toronto

Published 09/23/11

It was about 15 or more years ago that my mother, the late Phyllis E. MacKay, was joined by myself and our friend, Liz White, for what turned into an unlikely but ultimately successful preliminary criminal investigation.

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The Greatest Threat?

Ignorance and Stupidity, the Unbeatable Combination

Published 08/29/11

There are many ways to answer, “What is the greatest threat to animals?” That’s also true if you substitute “the environment” or even “humanity” for “animals.” But I think the list may well be topped by the answer: Ignorance and stupidity.

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I Believe the Polar Bear is Doomed

I Hope I’m Wrong, But Here Is Why I Am Depressed

Published 08/16/11

The young woman was intense as she cornered the professor who had just spoken, and made her case. She passionately argued that polar bears could survive the loss of sea ice that has been so well documented over the past few decades. Sure the animals were losing weight, cubs were dying or not being born, adults were drowning at sea. But she had been up north, had seen polar bears eat things other than seals. They would survive.

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Goodbye Mechtka, and You, Bella, a Miracle on Four Legs

Letting Them Go: A Story of Two Black Bears

Published 08/08/11

Last week I picked up my friend, Liz White, and drove north into the southern fringe of boreal forests that are, among other things, home to the world’s richest concentration of bears. We met up with film-maker Stephen Best, and the next day we drove the short distance further to Bear With Us, the bear sanctuary quietly run by our friend, Mike McIntosh.

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