Defender Radio and The Switch
Episode 306: The reindeer revolt

While recording this year’s special Christmas episode, a surprising phone call came in on the Defender Radio hotline. A reindeer named Agnes (yes, reindeer are Scottish, more on that in the episode) had reached out from the North Pole – with a threat to bring Christmas in Canada to a crashing halt due to how much fur she’d seen this year.

Will Christmas be cancelled this week? Will children and adults alike wake up to find no presents? You’ll have to tune in to this week’s Defender Radio to find out!

Direct download: 2015-12-21_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 03 -- posted at: 8:50am EDT

Episode 305: #banshockcollars

Shock collars are inherently inhumane and potentially traumatizing devices used to illicit specific reactions from dogs. For a long time, their use was supported by trainers and veterinarians. But science and the massive combined experience of top trainers have shown them for what they really are – and revealed more effective, humane methods of training.

The Ban Shock Collars movement was introduced to you in an episode last season, but there are some pretty exciting updates to share – not the least of which is that their ePetition is the first to be formally recognized in Canadian history. Any Canadian resident can sign this petition and you just need to follow the links on this week’s blog or hit up banshockcollars.ca to find it.

The group has also gained the support of Olympic figure skater Meagan Duhamel and iconic Canadian environmentalist and activist David Suzuki.

On this week’s episode, we’re talking with Ban Shock Collars.ca spokesperson Lucas Solowey about the movement, the petition, and why Canadians need to get involved. We’re also hearing from renowned dog behavior expert, trainer, and best-selling author Jean Donaldson, about the pitfalls of shock collars and what alternatives exist.

Direct download: 2015-12-14_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 03 -- posted at: 4:36pm EDT

Episode 304: Meet the #MammothMovement

I’m a bit late with this week’s episode but I have a good excuse – last week I had surgery on my sinuses, a procedure that will help me breathe – and talk – without complications for the first time in several years. You’ll be hearing a whole lot more of me – whether you like it or not. On top of that solid excuse, I’ve also got some incredible news that makes the wait worthwhile: we’re going to bring an end to coyote fur trim.

This week we launched an exciting new partnership with a company that’s offering something so many of us have waited so long for: a totally animal-free, deep cold jacket. Mammoth Outerwear, founded by CFL football player James Yurichuk, is offering these incredible made-in-Canada coats that will directly compete with the fur-trimmed jackets we’ve seen too often around our neighbourhoods.

And what puts Mammoth Outerwear even further over the top is the simple fact that a portion of proceeds from every animal-free jacket sold will be donated to The Fur-Bearers. I KNOW! Right now the jackets are exclusively available on Kickstarter with early bird pricing, so while you listen to this episode head on over and order yours before they’re gone! Let’s get into it with our very special guest, Founder of Mammoth Outerwear and professional football player James Yurichuk.

Direct download: 2015-11-26_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 03 -- posted at: 5:06pm EDT

Episode 303: Spring killing returns to Ontario

It’s hard to describe the frustration I felt when I saw the announcement from the Ministry of Natural Resources here in Ontario – the spring bear hunt will be extended, expanded across the province. A little over two years ago I felt a similar level of frustration as the government said they would introduce a two-year pilot project of a spring hunt, which was cancelled in 1999, to try and curb human-bear conflicts.

At the time, government research indicates that it wouldn’t help curb the conflict; now, two years later, more evidence shows that not only did the hunt not help, but it will continue to not help. Everyone from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario to wildlife protection groups to the government’s own scientists have come to this conclusion – yet years of fear mongering and politicking continue to push the agenda.

To discuss the proposal put forth by the ministry and provide context, science, and a helping of practical experience, Defender Radio was joined by Mike McIntosh of Bear With Us Sanctuary and Rehabilitation.

Direct download: 2015-11-16-DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 03 -- posted at: 6:28pm EDT

Episode 302: The political wilderness

We have a new Prime Minister, new Members of Parliament, and a new cabinet. What does it all mean for the animals?

It’s hard to make a clear distinction. On one hand, we have a PMO that already seems more open and transparent than it has for the past 10 years; on the other, we have a Prime Minister who’s a little too fond of his Canada Goose coyote fur-trimmed parka. We have gender equality in the cabinet for the first time, and cabinet members who wore seal skin to their swearing-in ceremonies.

To help us break down what some of this means now, and over the next four years, we connected with political powerhouse Camille Labchuk. A former Green Party candidate and now the freshly minted executive director for Animal Justice Canada, Camille’s experience, education, and compassion gives her the unique perspective we need to help figure out what a red Canada means for the animals.

Direct download: 2015-11-09_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 03 -- posted at: 6:14pm EDT

Episode 301: Whistler faces feeding crisis

Following our break for the 2015 Living With Wildlife Conference, we’re getting back into it with a tough situation facing bears – and those who want to protect them – in Whistler, British Columbia.

An unprecedented food shortage has affected the behaviour of the bears, who through September and October are looking for calories anywhere they can be found. As a result of this unique situation, Sylvia Dolson and the Get Bear Smart Society proposed a provincially-operated diversionary feeding program – effectively, they wanted to put natural foodstuffs into the wild areas to prevent the bears from pushing closer to human settled areas and the subsequent conflict that would arise.

The province ultimately rejected this plan and, despite Whistler’s reputation of being a Bear Smart community, several bears have been killed following conflict scenarios.

To discuss this difficult situation, potential solutions, and what the real cost of the consequences will be, Sylvia recently joined Defender Radio.

Direct download: 2015-11-02_Complete.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 5:47pm EDT

Episode 249: Living With Wildlife Preview

Thanksgiving has passed and we know what we’re thankful for: Living With Wildlife 2015 is finally here! This Friday, October 16, we’re bringing together some of the top experts on wildlife, conservation, and co-existence in Vancouver for our fifth annual conference.

I was lucky enough to catch time with two of our presenters prior to the event: the BC SPCA’s top scientist Dr. Sara Dubois, as well as Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s postdoctoral researcher Dr. Heather Bryan.

There are still a few seats available for this great event, so if you’re in the Vancouver area, make sure you register today at furbearerdefenders.com or by calling 604-435-1850.

Direct download: 2015-10-12_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 3:29pm EDT

Episode 248: Special Report: Wolf Week

Wolf week begins on October 12, and this year, the wolves could certainly use your help. Two massive culling programs are underway in western Canada, horrific traps remain legal, and many people still have a culturally-instilled fear of these keystone canids.

But these beautiful, family-oriented creatures play an integral role in our ecosystems, and there is much we can do to help them. To help discuss some of the ways we can get involved, as well as tell us more about a series of events taking place in BC, Alberta, and Ontario during wolf week, we were joined by Sadie Parr of Wolf Awareness Incorporated.

Direct download: 2015-10-09_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 2:51pm EDT

Episode 247: Asher Jay: Hear her roar

She’s travelled the world under the National Geographic Explorer banner; she’s created paintings that have defined movements for animal welfare; she’s designed Fabergé eggs that helped support anti-poaching efforts; and she’s coming to the 2015 Living With Wildlife conference in Vancouver.

Asher Jay is a designer, artist, writer, and activist who uses creative concepts and design to advance animal welfare, sustainable development, and humanitarian causes around the world. From laying in tent surrounded by lions to photographing the busy streets of New York City, her experiences have given her a unique perspective on all of these issues.

Asher joined Defender Radio recently to talk about her past, her passion and why she’s excited to be speaking at the 2015 Living With Wildlife conference on October 16.

Direct download: 2015-10-05_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 10:26am EDT

Episode 246: BC's Environment Advocate

We’re officially four weeks out from the election today and the excitement is getting… well, it’s pretty much the same as it was. But we’re excited here at The Fur-Bearers because MLA for Vancouver West-End Spencer Chandra Herbert recently sat down with our executive director Lesley Fox to talk about issues facing fur-bearing animals in BC.

As the official opposition’s critic to the Minister of the Environment, Chandra Herbert has his finger on the pulse of many subjects surrounding the environment and wildlife in British Columbia. And that made him the perfect person to join Defender Radio and talk about such issues, as well as the upcoming federal election, why the environment should be top of mind for every Canadian, and why we need to get up and do something about it.

Direct download: 2015-09-28_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 4:04pm EDT

Episode 245: Special Report - Miley Cyrus and the BC wolves

International pop star Miley Cyrus visited the Great Bear Rainforest in BC with her brother to learn more about the controversial wolf cull and trophy hunting of grizzly bears. Her weekend sojourn was spent with advocates from the Kitasoo/Xais’Xai First Nation, scientists, and staffers from Pacific Wild.

Cyrus spoke to media extensively following her visit, noting that her previous passion to end the wolf cull for moral reasons now had science behind it.

When asked about the international attention being brought to the notorious cull and trophy hunts, Premier Christy Clark merely laughed away concern, and made a remark about Cyrus’s performance-based fashion choices.

Joining us to talk more about the visit of Cyrus, the surprising response of the Premier, and the science behind the #SaveBCWolves movement is Pacific Wild’s April Bencze.

Direct download: 2015-09-23_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 7:44pm EDT

Episode 244: Voting is your voice

We’re another week closer to the general election in Canada and the rhetoric is flying fast and furious. But despite the ongoing coverage of the election, subjects relating to the environment and particularly to wildlife has been somewhere between minimal and non-existent.

Does this mean that wildlife and the environment aren’t going to be campaign issues, or that the electorate doesn’t care? It’s quite the opposite, according to some new polling released last week by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The data was released in conjunction with IFAW’s election website, which helps voters identify their local candidates’ views on wildlife and the environment.

To share more with about this program and what Canadians had to say about wildlife and the 2015 election, we were joined by IFAW’s Sheryl Fink, Director of Canadian Wildlife Issues.

Direct download: 2015-09-21_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 8:40pm EDT

Episode 243: The shocking truth

Millions of our homes – at least half of all those in Canada – are shared with a four-legged friend. As a nation we spend billions of dollars on our pets, and most of us consider our larger pets – dogs and cats – to be members of the family. Despite this, there are a lot of gaps in legislation protecting our pets, including how we train them.

One highly controversial method of dog training includes e-collars, more commonly known as shock collars. Though there is no existing legislation or even consensus among retailers and trainers, there is strong opposition to the use of shock collars from some heavy hitters – and this week we got to hear what they had to say.

The couple behind BanShockCollars.ca, Gwendy and Alfie Williams (new partners of the LUSH Charity Pot program), joined us to share their tale of discovery about these devices, as well as what they’ve done in recent years to try and advocate against the use of shock collars. We were also fortunate to hear from renowned trainer, behaviourist and best-selling author Jean Donaldson, who shared her views on the evolution of dog training and the modern use of aversive devices.

Direct download: 2015-09-14_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 3:14pm EDT

Episode 242: Be a humane voter

Animal lovers know how frustrating politics can be, particularly during an election campaign. Despite the fact that the majority of Canadians have companion animals in their homes, and that the humane treatment of animals and their habitats is a priority for many voters, these issues rarely make it onto the floor of the House of Commons.

And the folks at Animal Justice Canada Legislative Fund want to make that history.

Last week the organization launched Humane Voters Canada, a project that seeks to use election process to influence the legislature to improve the welfare and rights of non-human animals. To introduce us to this new project, how it will function, and how we can all play a role, Defender Radio was joined by Humane Voters Canada Director Jerry Simonelli.

Direct download: 2015-09-07_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 3:57pm EDT

Predator control is a nasty business. Millions of animals are killed each year around the country to protect livestock, ecosystems and, depending on who you listen to, children. The problem with this entire system of treating predators as the bad guy is that we’re missing the biggest and the baddest of them all: us.

In a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Science, researchers from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, University of Victoria (UVic), and the Hakai Institute pulled data from hundreds of studies worldwide to confirm that humans are dangerous “super-predators.”

To dive into how human actions are impacting fish populations, carnivore and herbivore relationships, and even changing the very course of evolution before our eyes, Defender Radio was fortunate to be joined by Raincoast science director and Hakai-Raincoast professor at UVic, Dr. Chris Darimont.

Direct download: 2015-08-31_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 4:04pm EDT

Episode 240: Law and order

We’re taking you into the world of animal law on this episode, featuring two major cases in the United States whose outcomes could very well change wildlife policy across the country.

The WildEarth Guardians are celebrating a victory in appeals court from earlier this month, which allows their legal action against the notorious Wildlife Service program of the USDA to move forward. And in the eastern US, the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, along with two partner organizations, is pushing a federal judge to halt the state’s trapping season to protect the endangered Canada Lynx.

Both of these cases could play major roles in preventing the needless slaughter of millions of fur-bearers in the United States and even influence future policy in Canada and abroad.

Direct download: 2015-08-24_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 7:18pm EDT

Episode 239: Alberta's wild future

From swift fox introduction to rehabilitation of baby bears, the Cochrane Ecological Institute and Cochrane Wildlife Reserve Society has done it all. Their resume of education, research and protecting Alberta’s biodiversity has given them a reliable and authoritative voice on all matters of wildlife policy and planning.

But the government has ignored their pleas over a barbaric program that sees bear cubs killed rather than rehabilitated – and without reliable data on how many bears there even are in the province at this point, it’s becoming a dangerous standard.

Lisa Dahlseide, Education Director at the Cochrane Ecological Institute, joined Defender Radio to talk about this ridiculous policy, the need for ongoing research in the province, and what people can do to help the wildlife of Alberta.

Direct download: 2015-08-17_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 2:37pm EDT

Episode 238: Speaking for the wolves

Most have us have been able to agree that the plan to cull wolves in British Columbia in order to protect endangered caribou herds is a bad idea – particularly since the wolves aren’t responsible for the plummeting population numbers of the caribou. But the government has not only pursued this plan with vigor, they’ve quietly stated it will be an annual slaughter for wolves for at least five years to come.

Monitoring the actions of the government and challenging the fringe science with which they’re attempting to support their plan is Wolf Awareness Incorporated. The non-profit group has spent countless hours poring through records, speaking with experts and conducting their own polls in opposition to this plan. Making matters worse, however, is that the government isn’t releasing all of the data they said they would – even under the auspices of the mighty Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Act.

To talk more about the struggle to find the truth from a suspicious BC government, Defender Radio was joined by Wolf Awareness Inc. president and long-time wolf advocate Gary Allan.

Direct download: 2015-08-10_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 12:20pm EDT

Episode 237: The Cougar Channel

The world has been talking about the tragic death of a big cat in Africa this week. But there are many other species of big cats – and some are right here at home and in need of our protection.

At the front lines of protecting these fur-bearers is Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization that specializes in research, habitat conservation and policies to protect the big cats of the world. As part of their work, they’ve launched a new, interactive website, CougarChannel.org, which they hope will bring people closer to the legendary cats of North America.

We were joined by Dr. Mark Elbroch, Director of Science for Puma and Jaguar Programs at Panthera, to talk about the new Cougar Channel project, the latest research on big cats and their role in ecosystems, and why we need to protect our native cat species.

Direct download: 2015-08-03_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Episode 236: The journey of OR-7

For over 120 years, the gray wolf had been absent from the state of California. Extermination programs, recreational hunting, trapping for fur, and habitat loss, drove the populations down and out until they were extirpated. That is until OR-7.

The gray wolf, known internationally by his scientific tag designation, ventured over 1,500 kilometres from his pack in Rogue River, Oregon to the western part of the state and into California, making worldwide headlines and exciting wildlife lovers in America.

In the ensuing years since his iconic crossing of the state line, OR-7, also known by many as Journey, has sired two litters of pups in Oregon and continues to amaze researchers and advocates. Despite this success and recognition, however, OR-7’s life is not easy and his safety is not guaranteed.

Defender Radio was joined by Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity to discuss the world’s fascination with this wolf, what he represents to advocates and why policies are being debated that could see him murdered.

Direct download: 2015-07-27_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 1:18pm EDT

Episode 235: Breaking the news

The news – be it online, radio, television or print – can influence the world. One great photograph can show the heartbreak of a family and one well-written verse can bring down political empires. But most of the time, the news is just that – news. It’s the gathering and presenting of fact and opinion to the masses.

Then there are the times in between, when the news is influencing policymakers and the public in a nearly imperceptible manner. And that’s what we’re focusing on with our two guests this week.

We’ll first hear from celebrated author, trainer and dog behaviour expert Jean Donaldson, who joined the show to talk about how the media got it wrong in a recent human-dog conflict in Hamilton, and why the term ‘pit bull’ can bring up such dread in the masses – and excitement in reporters.

Then we’re joined by our friend Sheryl Fink from the International Fund for Animal Welfare for an update on how a single piece of paper found by a media outlet brought down the government’s entire argument for supporting the cull of grey seals on our east coast.

Direct download: 2015-07-20_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 10:12am EDT

Episode 234: After bite

The mere mention of the Great White shark can give thrills and tremors to beachgoers, divers and surfers. When the news media picks up a story of a shark attack, we’re all subconsciously playing this infamous quote over and over in our minds: we’re going to need a bigger boat.

But despite the seeming increase in the number of shark attacks, historical data shows that statistically, you’re still more likely to be hit by bolt of lightning than become a snack for the ancient predators.

At the forefront of the discussion on shark attacks are the scientists who study the figures, the animals and our reaction to them. One such researcher is Dr. Francesco Ferretti of Stanford, who along with a team in Monterey, California, are bringing greater understanding of shark attacks and the need for conservation, education and reasonable publicly policy.

Dr. Ferretti joined Defender Radio last week to talk sharks – and whether or not it’s safe to go back into the water.

Direct download: 2015-07-13_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 4:14pm EDT

Episode 233: Special Report

The ongoing saga of BC Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant and the two bear cubs he refused to kill has captured the attention of Canada – and the world. News outlets from as far away as Germany and the UK have been monitoring the story as it unfolds this week. And Defender Radio is pleased to bring you the unabridged interview with the man caring for the two cubs and speaking out on behalf of CO Casavant.

Robin Campbell, who has helped wildlife recover for 30 years, took time out of his busy schedule to discuss the current state of the twin cubs, named Jordan and Athena, respond to critics in the media, and give his full version of the events that led to cubs being in the care of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association.

Petitions to reinstate CO Bryce Casavant and begin new funding, studies and education for the conservation service can be found at FurBearerDefenders.com. To help North Island Wildlife Recovery Association with their costs, visit www.niwra.org.

 

Direct download: 2015-07-09_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 3:52pm EDT

Episode 232: Managing the invasion

For thousands of years, humankind has studied the delicate interplay of species across the vast web of life. And for thousands of years, we’ve successfully screwed it right up.

From the time of Aristotle to today’s grade one classrooms, understanding how ecosystems work has been a vital part of scientific study. But what we don’t know, or, more appropriately, what we can’t fully and accurately measure and predict, far outweighs what we do know.

One of the greatest risks facing ecosystems, and one that we are almost always directly responsible for, is invasive species. From domestic cats to insects like the emerald ash borer to fungi causing disease in bat colonies, havoc is stretched around the globe.

And ecological scientists like Dr. Euan Ritchie at Deakin University in Australia are dedicated to trying to understand, and when possible measure, the minute roles that all of these species play in ecosystems.

In a recently published study, Dr. Ritchie and his colleagues explore the attempts to manage invasive species and the consequences – some of which may be lead to significant changes in management practice.

Dr. Ritchie joined Defender Radio to discuss this paper, the role predators play, and how we can work to improve policy for animals and the environment around the world.

Direct download: 2015-06-29_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT

Episode 231: Good news

We wanted to have a week that focuses on good news – and that’s exactly what we’ve done.

We connected with superstar lawyer Camille Labchuk to talk about Quebec’s new animal welfare legislation and what it means for the future of wildlife, animals in captivity and companion animals in la belle province.

We also got in touch with Dr. Carrie Packwood Freeman, a cultural studies professor who specializes in media communications and teaches journalists and the public what non-human animal news done right looks like.

Direct download: 2015-06-22_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 9:08pm EDT

Episode 230: Awkward Conversations

Uncomfortable discussions come up in the world of animal advocacy, just like any other field. But when we have our awkward conversations, there are often lives on the line.

This week we’re going to look at two such topics: dogs in hot cars and seal penises.

Dogs die every summer from coast-to-coast because they’re left in hot vehicles on warm days. We’ll be joined by Dr. Emilia Gordon of the BC SPCA who will help us understand the physiological changes dogs undergo when left in hot cars, as well as what dog lovers should know about cooling off overheated pups. Then we’ll connect with Sheryl Fink of the International Fund for Animal Welfare to talk seal penises. It’s no prank – and you may have a lot of explaining to do to those around you when they see you switch from laughing to crying and back again following the interview.

Direct download: 2015-06-15_Complete.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

Episode 229: CSI: Coyote scene investigators

When conflict arises between coyotes and humans, the coyotes typically get the short end of the stick. Trapping, hunting and all-out culls are always on the horizon when coyotes are involved in incidents. But, it’s not always a coyote who is responsible for perceived or actual conflict; sometimes it can be predatory birds, other terrestrial mammals like bears or raccoons, and it can even be domestic dogs.

Finding the truth is the ultimate goal whenever and wherever conflict exists – and that’s the speciality of Coyote Watch Canada.

Lesley Sampson, founder and Executive Director of Coyote Watch Canada, is an expert coyote tracker and runs dozens – if not hundreds – of investigations into coyote and wildlife behaviour in communities each year. She joined Defender Radio recently to talk about the process of investigating wildlife conflict, the need for public education in this time, and analysis of some recent wildlife conflict events across Canada.

Direct download: 2015-05-18_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

Episode 228: Special Report: Unnatural Enemies

This special report episode has been rushed to post for you, our wonderful supporters, so that we can let you know about an incredible documentary airing on CTV and CTV2 in Alberta this Monday, May 18. Unnatural Enemies: The War on Wolves explores the incredibly controversial wolf killing taking place in Alberta. Wildlife experts, biologists, advocates, hunters and trappers are all included in 44-minute documentary, as well as historic data and current science on wolf populations and behaviour.

We’re very fortunate to have been granted an exclusive interview with the director and producer of the Pyramid Productions documentary, Geordie Day, who joined us to talk about the motivations of the film, the harsh realities facing wolves and why everyone in Canada should be watching.

Direct download: 2015-05-15_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 10:26pm EDT

Episode 227: Craving Compassion, Canada?

What do a Buddhist monk in Vancouver and the owner of a sanctuary farm in central Ontario have in common? Compassion. This week we’re talking with Shifu Zhihan, a teacher of Buddhism in Vancouver who’s helping to host Vesak 2015 For World Peace this Saturday, May 16. We’ll also connect with Brenda Bronfman the founder of Wishing Well Sanctuary in Bradford, Ontario.

With surprising similarities, Zhihan and Brenda spoke with Defender Radio about the role of animals in their lives, how they found their way to peace and compassion, and how they hope to leave the world a little more beautiful.

Direct download: 2015-05-11_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 9:01pm EDT

Episode 226: Join the revolution

Anger and frustration are common for us animal advocates. And this week we’re talking with someone who can help us by teaching us what questions we should be asking ourselves.

Deb Ozarko finished college and got a diploma in Design, Communications and Advertising. She worked in corporate and studio settings. Deb Ozarko completed an Ironman triathlon. Deb Ozarko was an aggressive, outspoken activist. And yet, none of these things are how Deb Ozarko defines herself today.

In an incredible journey from grief and anger to compassion and hope, Deb transformed her life. Her story – and the many things she learned in this lifelong lesson – are spoken of during her popular The Unplug Podcast, in her book the Status Quo Crusher and through her blog.

Deb Ozarko wants to see a revolution of love. And she joined Defender Radio to discuss her life lessons, plans and hopes with us in an in-depth and revealing interview.

Direct download: 2015-05-04_Defender_Radio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 1:30pm EDT

Episode 225: Represent

After speaking on behalf of our members, supporters and all the fur-bearing animals of Canada as expert witnesses in a parliamentary committee last week, we wanted to share two important ways we can all represent for the animals.

We’ll hear from Camille Labchuk, animal rights lawyer extraordinaire and former Green Party candidate, to discuss the ins and outs of proportional representation – what it means for our country and how we can get fair representation in our parliamentary system.

Then we’ll talk with Kimberly Panzarella, owner and designer of FTLA Apparel, whose new line of Make Fur History shirts helps everyone represent the animals – and provide much needed support to The Fur-Bearers.

Direct download: 2015-04-27_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 4:05pm EDT

Episode 224: The Cowspiracy is real

With Earth Day on the horizon it makes sense to take a step back from fur-bearer-specific issues and look at a subject plaguing the entire planet. What’s interesting, however, is that this issue does, in fact, relate back to fur-bearing animals.

For this week’s episode, we connected with Keegan Cuhn, a co-director of the popular and incredible documentary Cowspiracy. In what begins as a simple flick about water use and sustainability, Keegan and co-director Kip quickly discover that there is a much, much larger problem in the use of life-giving water around the world: animal agriculture. This massive and powerful industry is responsible for an uncanny level of damage to our planet and, of course, our wildlife.

In this interview, Keegan explored the building of the film – from the personal journey to the stonewalling by massive non-profits and how it changed his life – and may change the world.

Direct download: 2015-04-20_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 1:02pm EDT

Episode 223: Spring feeding

On this week’s episode we’re focusing on two spring-related topics that come up every year – wildlife feeding and living with bears.

In almost every wildlife conflict situation we’ve studied, food is a central issue. Whether it’s intentionally feeding ungulates like deer or unintentionally feeding predatory animals like coyotes, the easiest and safest way to live with wildlife is to ensure we’re not feeding them. And Dr. Sara Dubois, the Chief Scientific Officer for the BC SPCA, has a plan – she wants to make wildlife feeding the new littering.

Being Bear Smart isn’t always something on our minds – but it certainly is easy to do once you understand the basics. Sylvia Dolson of the Get Bear Smart Society in Whistler, BC, joined Defender Radio to talk spring bears – what they’re up to, how they respond to us and what we can do to prevent conflict.

Direct download: 2015-04-13_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 6:41pm EDT

Episode 222: For the love of dog

They are our best friends, our family and our own personal heroes. Dogs have become an everyday part of life for millions of Canadians – from sharing our homes and time to our pillows and hearts. With so many people profiting from this companionship and our quest to perfect the relationships between ourselves and our pets, there’s sure to be some bad eggs – little dogs with big barks, as it were. And then, there are those who rely on modern science, coupled with compassion, to find the truth about dogs – and how we can live fulfilling lives for both us and our canine companions.

One such modern saviour of dog lovers is Jean Donaldson. Born in Montreal, has become known as a pre-emptive authority on dog training and behaviour through her ongoing study and growth both the practice and science of her trade. Jean joined Defender Radio for a special, 50-minute interview to talk dogs, the evolution of behaviour models from B.F. Skinner to Walt Disney and beyond, breaking through the media hype of certain celebrity trainers, and even took time to answer questions from our listeners and supporters.

Direct download: 2015-04-06_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 11:22am EDT

Episode 221: Water world

Some 500 years ago, Leonardo Da Vinci said ‘water is the driving force of all nature.’ And today, that message needs to be spread.

Not only are our oceans the last frontier of Earth-based exploration, they – along with our lakes and rivers – are the basis of all life on the planet. And these water systems are at risk.

From drought in California to pollution of Canada’s Great Lakes, water is an important topic that needs to be addressed. And this week, we have two experts prepared to do just that.

On this episode we hear from Bill Pazert, a climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), who has been studying the California drought – and the possible solutions available, from beavers to centralized management. Following that, we connect with Liat Podolsky, a staff biologist with EcoJustice, who are fighting to protect our lakes from a new threat – microbeads.

Direct download: 2015-03-30_DefendeRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 4:27pm EDT

Episode 220: The Easter Bunny exposed!

As sure as eggs are being hidden by the Easter bunny in homes across the country this week, many parents are planning special gifts for their children – including bunnies. But these intelligent, beautiful animals require special care and a long-time commitment – much more so than many people understand. And that’s when the heroes at the Small Animal Rescue Society of BC get involved.

Founded in 2004, the volunteer-run group focus their efforts on the needs of small animals – ranging from bunnies and chinchillas to rats and hamsters. And they’ve got an important message this time of year: don’t give rabbits as gifts.

Lisa Hutcheon of the Small Animal Rescue Society of BC joined Defender Radio to talk rabbits, small animal rescue and how everyone can be a hero this Easter.

Direct download: 2015-03-23_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 02 -- posted at: 10:35pm EDT

Episode 219: Respecting raccoons