Animal rights groups said growing more aggressive

When it comes to inspiring change, there are different schools of thought as to how to make it happen.
 | File photo

A recent tactic across the country has been for activists to enter livestock barns without permission and refuse to leave

When it comes to inspiring change, there are different schools of thought as to how to make it happen.

One option is marching around with signs and screaming at those who disagree with you.

Another option is working with people who may have a different point of view, and talking about potential solutions.

World Animal Protection Canada, an animal welfare group, has chosen option two.

When it comes to livestock, it partners with producers and retailers to improve the lives of farm animals in Canada.

“Because, often times, having those dialogues are really important for moving the issues forward and making those positive changes,” said Lynn Kavanagh a campaign manager with World Animal Protection, with offices in Toronto.

It seems like the approach of World Animal Protection is currently the exception.

In 2019, animal rights groups have adopted more aggressive tactics.

In March, a group of protestors showed up at a dairy near Waterloo, Ont. They barged onto the farm, even after the producer told them to stop, and removed a dead calf from the barn.

“The farmer said, ‘you’re not allowed to come on my property,’ and they said, ‘yes, we are,’ ” said Kelly Daynard, Farm and Food Care Ontario executive director.

Then in late April, a large group of activists marched into a hog farm in Abbotsford, B.C., and occupied the farm for several hours.

The difference between those protesters and World Animal Protection are different concepts of animal rights vs. animal welfare.

Most animal rights activists oppose using livestock to produce meat. Animal welfare organizations typically accept the idea that farmers raise livestock and people eat meat.

World Animal Protection is in the latter category. That’s why it’s a member of the National Farm Animal Care Council — a coalition of commodity groups like the Canadian Pork Council, Dairy Farmers of Canada and other parties trying to advance farm animal welfare.

World Animal Protection is one of two animal welfare groups in NFACC. The other is Humane Canada. It didn’t respond to a Western Producer request for an interview.

World Animal Protection joined NFACC in 2015 and group leaders regularly talk to livestock producers. But conversations at NFACC meetings can still be tense.

“All the groups don’t necessarily agree … when they’re at the table,” Kavanaugh said. “But building the trust, that we are all in it to make positive headway for animals … is what is important.”

That’s much different language than that used by Anita Krajnc, an animal rights activist. A couple of years ago, she gave water to pigs that were being transported to a slaughter plant in Ontario.

“The public has a lot of power,” Krajnc told CTV News earlier in May.

“If they start eating plant-based foods then they’re not contributing to the suffering.”

World Animal Protection may try to help farm animals through co-operation with industry, but it isn’t willing to slam activists who oppose meat consumption or invade farms in Canada.

“We don’t want to get into a conversation where we’re coming out against another animal group. It’s just not productive and (not) where we want to spend our energy,” Kavanaugh said.

“There is room for all kinds of approaches to activism, whether it’s human or animal rights. Obviously, if something is illegal, there could be repercussions…. What I can say is it’s not World Animal Protection’s approach.”

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