Defender Radio and The Switch
Episode 326: The BS in BSL

From Stubby, the highly decorated canine soldier in World War One, to Pete the Pup, who tagged along with the Little Rascals, pit bull like dogs were once a loyal friend and family pet. But due to media sensationalism, reactionary politics, and crippling bias, they are being outlawed and ostracized.

Recently, communities within Quebec and La Belle Province itself have proposed numerous actions they say will protect citizens from dangerous dogs – but most of these actions are simply breed specific legislation. Defender Radio was today joined by two special guests – Anita Kapuscinska of the Montreal SPCA to speak about legislation in Quebec, and Dr. Karen Overall, a veterinary specialist and researcher, to discuss myths and facts about dogs and pit bull-like dogs around the world.

Direct download: 2016-06-23_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 03 -- posted at: 6:15pm EDT

Episode 325: Uncertainty, certainly

We began to tentatively celebrate when earlier this month the Auditor General of British Columbia revealed there would be an investigation into the trophy hunting of grizzly bears.

The exact notification, found on the AG website, read the investigation would be to, “determine if the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations are effectively managing the grizzly bear population in BC.”

The announcement is a result of the AG’s office seeing a peer-reviewed study conducted by our friends at Raincoast Conservation Foundation on the matter of uncertainty in the wildlife policy as it existed in 2013. With support from the Victoria Environmental Law Centre and the David Suzuki Foundation, the study got the attention it deserves – and now we await the results of the investigation.

But what, exactly, did that study say? What is uncertainty in the science of ecology, and how does it – or should it – influence wildlife management policy? To answer these questions and walk us through the study, Defender Radio was joined by lead author and Raincoast biologist Kyle Artelle.

Direct download: 2016-06-14_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 03 -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

Episode 324: Alberta's Animal Awakening

When the words ‘animal sentience’ and ‘Alberta’ popped up in The Fur-Bearers’ news feeds, we had an office full of cartoonish double-takes. It was revealed last week that the NDP government in the bluest province of the nation is looking to improve their animal welfare standards – and among the changes, there’s indications that they may incorporate laws that recognize non-human animals as sentient beings.

This is a move that Quebec made last year, and other governments around the world have considered or implemented. But Alberta is also the largest livestock producer, and is home to one of the largest annual rodeos in the world. They’re recognized as Canada’s old west, oil-centric, Conservative stronghold. What could animal sentience in Alberta possibly look like?

To find out, Defender Radio connected with Animal Justice executive director and legal expert Camille Labchuk.

Direct download: 2016-06-09_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 03 -- posted at: 2:37pm EDT

Episode 323: Questioning Zoos

It’s been a bad few weeks for zoo animals in North America. Harambe, a silverback gorilla in the Cincinnatti Zoo, was shot to death after a young child found his way into the large primate’s enclosure. Rebel, a gray wolf at a Wisconsin Zoo, was killed so he could be tested for rabies after a child was bitten on the fingers through a fence while in a restricted area. And at a small petting zoo set up for children in Ontario, animals were left without shelter or water on a sweltering summer day.

As the harsh reality of life in a zoo has started settling upon the North American pop media psyche, familiar questions have started arising: do animals belong in zoos? Aren’t zoos helping conserve endangered species? How else will children learn about animals?

We don’t have the answers to all of these questions – only more questions, really. But to help us ask them of ourselves, and to explain what we can do to improve the lives of animals in zoos, Defender Radio was joined by children’s book author and head of non-profit Zoocheck, Rob Laidlaw.

Direct download: 2016-06-06_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 03 -- posted at: 5:49pm EDT