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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!)

Must Zoos Hurt Animals?

Is an Elephant-Free Zoo Desirable, or Even Possible?

Published 03/15/11

A dark confession was contained in the opening sentence of my last blog, where I said, “Unlike some of my respected colleagues and friends I don’t automatically and irrevocably oppose zoos, or to be more accurate, I think there can be grounds for keeping animals captive that can be defended on moral, conservation and educational grounds."

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Thika, Iringa and Toka Deserve Better

It’s Time for Toronto to be Elephantless

Published 03/01/11

Unlike some of my respected colleagues and friends I don’t automatically and irrevocably oppose zoos, or to be more accurate, I think there can be grounds for keeping animals captive that can be defended on moral, conservation and educational grounds. And I believe that a zoo, properly constituted, can serve the better interests of the environment and of the animals it contains. But I also believe that while claiming to do so, most zoo exhibits fail on all counts, succeeding only in being a source of entertainment, and perhaps profits.

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You Want Dumb? Read This.

Seal-Hunt-Supporting Senator Struts Her Ignorance

Published 02/14/11

OK, before I tell you just how ignorant Sen. Hervieux-Payette is on a wildlife slaughter she strongly supports, some non-Canadian readers will require a brief word of explanation. Lest you think Canada is a full democracy, well, no — there are some vestiges of imperialistic elitism, most particularly including the Senate.

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Is This Politician Really That Dumb?

Coyotes, Bounties and Bill Murdoch

Published 01/24/11

On the CBC there is a phone-in radio show called “Ontario Today” that is on over the noon hour. Last week it asked the question of whether there should be a bounty on coyotes. What one provincial member of Parliament (MPP) said was just so dumb that I ... well ... I’ll get to that in a moment, but first a bit of background.

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Two Species, Two Sets of Criteria

Narwhals and Seals — a Profound Difference

Published 01/20/11

Canada’s Northwest Territories’ government is angry at the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Why? Well, it’s complicated, but put simply the irritation stems from the DFO’s unwillingness to rubber-stamp permits that would allow the export of narwhal tusks. The narwhal is a small, arctic whale with one tooth (rarely two teeth) extending through the upper lip in a long, slender, spiraling tusk. About 120 of these ivory tusks are exported each year.

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The Night the Birds Fell From the Sky

A Mystery, Yes, But What else?

Published 01/13/11

All animals are equal, but in my personal, subjective life birds are more so — they are my passion, my lifelong obsession. So when news broke on New Year’s Day that birds were falling from the sky in a place called Beebe, Arkansas, I began to receive queries. Everyone wanted to know the same thing: What happened? What was my opinion?

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Define Conservation

Kill the Geese to Save the Planet?

Published 01/06/11

A colleague suggested I try to write a blog about defining “conservation.” It can’t be done. The word is so broadly applied that it is essentially meaningless.

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Do Polar Bears Have Value?

Just How Dumb the Canadian Government Can Be!

Published 12/27/10

While I’m used to the current federal government of Canada doing bad or stupid things, I suppose it could be argued that I’m not qualified to comment on most of them beyond saying that they bother or worry me.

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