Defender Radio and The Switch

Extreme weather events have wreaked havoc across the southern United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, hurricanes have torn apart communities, destroyed infrastructure, and created crises of significant scope for people who call the islands home.

But it isn’t only the people who are suffering. Community animals like cats, dogs, domestic livestock, and working animals who depend on humans can suffer greatly through these incidents, despite the best efforts of their owners or families. Even wildlife, who often are adept at managing through such scenarios, need a helping hand with injury, or accessing resources and shelter. But they have hope in the form of emergency response teams from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, or IFAW. According to their website, IFAW leads, funds and provides assistance to animal rescue groups to assess disaster situations, formulate plans, and take action. They also provide food, equipment, medical supplies, and emergency expertise to help rescue, provide care, and when safe to do so, reunify pets with their families and/or return wildlife to the wild.

Defender Radio was fortunate to be joined by Res Krebs, a communications expert for IFAW who deployed with emergency response teams to the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier this month. In an interview with Defender Radio between planning sessions and his next deployment, Res talked about the emergency response program, what it was like seeing the devastation to the islands and the communities, and how we can all help in recovery efforts and preparedness for the people, and the animals.

Direct download: 2017-09-25_DefenderRadioPodcast-IFAW.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT

A visit to the aquarium or zoo could be magical as a child. Heck, for a lot of adults, it can still be magical. Seeing species from all over the world up close is remarkable. Of course, once we realize that they’re confined in unnatural circumstances, displaying neurotic and self-damaging behaviours, and that their incarceration rarely, if ever, plays a role in true conservation of their species in the wild, the magic fades.

Though many documentaries, non-profits, and passionate advocates are showing that zoos and aquariums are not what we once believed them to be, they still exist – and are sometimes quite popular. But from a total lack of regulation and laws in Ontario leading to alleged acts of cruelty, to the politics and ethics of keeping cetaceans in captivity in British Columbia, the fight for the freedom and even the basic welfare of these animals rages on. Animal Justice, a charity that focuses on using legal resources to pass animal legislation, push for the prosecution of animal abusers, and fight for animals in court, is facing two issues currently. In Ontario, allegations of mistreatment at a roadside zoo, and in British Columbia, advocating on behalf of the animals in a court hearing about the Vancouver Aquarium’s right to keep captive cetaceans.

Camille Labchuk, Executive Director of Animal Justice, joined Defender Radio to talk about both of these cases, the need to create precedent, and how whether we’re in the court room or on our mobile devices, we can all play a role in the legal fight for the animals’ freedom.

Direct download: 2017-09-19_DefenderRadioPodcast_ZoosandAquariums.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 2:29pm EDT

Defender Radio visited the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, we learned that there are eight native species of turtle in Ontario – and several of them are at-risk. We also learned that there’s a whole lot of dedicated people working exceptionally hard to help turtles. Dr. Sue Carstairs, Executive and Medical Director at the Centre and the Kwartha Turtle Trauma Centre shared her vast knowledge, experience and a tour with the show.

Turtle rehabilitation, surgery, their importance to our ecosystem, why some species are pretty much living dinosaurs, and what 3,000 turtle eggs are doing in plastic kitchen containers in Peterborough were discussed in this recorded Facebook live interview, with an additional 25 minutes not previously heard.

Direct download: 2017-09-12_DefenderRadioPodcastComplete.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 8:46pm EDT

Kids are groaning, parents are cheering, and teachers are refilling hip flasks and chocolate drawers: it’s back to school week. While many families will be getting up earlier, shovelling breakfasts down, making lunches, and filling up dry erase boards with extracurriculars, appointments, and school events, there’s one member of our families who may be having a hard time – and they’re on four legs.

Family companions, especially dogs, can struggle with sudden changes to routine or schedules. These changes, from simply leaving the house a bit earlier, to members of the family not being around during the day, to getting walked or fed at a different time, can create stress and anxiety – and those can lead to behavioural problems.

Knowing how to recognize those symptoms and what’s causing them is difficult, but knowing to whom to turn for help, what questions to ask, and what kind of training will be most effective can be just as hard. That’s why Defender Radio reached out to friend, dog behaviour consultant through Fangs But No Fangs, and animal behaviour professor at Durham College, Joan Weston to help all of us get ready to go bark to school.

Direct download: 2017-09-04_DefenderRadioPodcast-BarktoSchool.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 11:48am EDT