“What right had they to make me suffer like that?”

What kid didn’t love horses? This is my all-time favourite children’s book, and is one of the biggest-selling novels of all time.

It also talks about a subject that is dear to my heart: animal welfare. In a world where toddlers’ bodies wash up on beaches, it can seem gratuitous to speak out for the well-being of animals, but it seems to me that a society that mistreats pets and livestock is likely to do the same to its children. And for me, an animal’s life has value, in and of itself. We value human lives because we’re human, but to the planet and the universe, an animal’s life is of equal value in the equation. Humanity is doing a pretty lousy job in it’s role of responsible steward of all things furred, feathered and gilled.

There are some easy things we can all do to improve the situation of animals in this country, including never buying anything from a store that sells animals, getting our pets from registered responsible breeders or adopting a homeless pet from a rescue organization. You can also look into buying beef, pork and poultry from local farmers: they tend to treat their animals a lot better than the mass-produced meat industry that sells to most grocery stores, and the product is much tastier. One huge change: avoid fast-food. Fast-food chains are the number one consumers of the big beef and poultry industry’s products, so if we all cut our consumption by half or cut it out altogether, imagine the decrease in the number of animals living under the horrendous conditions our government condones.

Most importantly… have your pets spayed. There’s no excuse for letting your pets have babies: there are already enough homeless animals. Over 1 million cats and dogs are euthanized in Canada every year, and this isn’t counting the ones that die of neglect or abuse. In the US, the numbers are estimated to be between 3 and 8 million per year. And to all the idiots who say that they want their child to witness the miracle of newborn life: all you’re doing is teaching them that an animal’s life has no value, no matter how miraculous. Take your kid to visit a working farm instead. They can learn all about the miracle of life and about where their food comes from at the same time.

Listen to Danny Michel’s great song, Feather, Fur and Fin:

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