BLOG: An Inner-City School Takes Part in Respect Animals Week

by Taunya Ahier

Along with Pause4Paws, a weekly empathy-raising and awareness program that gives students a chance to meet and bond with a rescued domestic animal, my school, General Crerar Public School in Scarborough, just finished its 16th annual Respect Animals Week! We had a vegan bake sale, a huge interactive and multi-media  assembly, vegetarian lunch challenges, a talent show, teachers vs students sports tournaments and curriculum-connected rescue bunny visits, all to raise awareness and more than $800 for animals.

This year, we are splitting this donation between the Toronto Cat Rescue, Toronto Wildlife Centre, PETA and the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals. We also had an Adopt-A-Heart campaign for Toronto Animal Services (TAS). Students can’t always have their own pets, but they can still help creatures in need. Students purchased paper hearts for 25 cents and wrote messages on the hearts, which were then given to TAS. TAS staff put the hearts on the cages of pets in their care to help them get adopted. Through this alone, we raised more than $50 for TAS.

Any school or childcare centre can hold Respect Animals events! Whether it's a week, a day, seasonal, yearly or any other variation, all it takes is one caring adult to realize that small activities can be organized to help teach children that they can make a difference.

If you’re interested in planning your own event to raise awareness and donations in school settings, or simply interested in boosting compassion in kids, contact Taunya Ahier at

Taunya Ahier is a teacher in the Toronto District School Board and a longtime supporter of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals.

BLOG: What About Emotional Literacy?

by Taunya Ahier

As a teacher, I'm intrigued, and sometimes scrambling, to keep up with all the latest pedagogical research that informs my teaching at a Toronto school.

For years, while keeping up with all the latest approaches, there was something nagging me. In my opinion, the very first thing we should be attending to as educators — and parents, and society — is emotional literacy.

We brush the tip of the iceberg in schools by briefly talking about traits students should embody and we often hear about the anti-bullying measures schools are taking. Are these strategies aimed at addressing symptoms of a bigger issue, though? I’m not sure but, in the last two years, I have made an effort to infuse empathy, respect, understanding, awareness and social action in school.

I realized when my son was born that I wanted him to be aware, to pay attention to the world around him and to be kind and involved. Once I returned to work after maternity leave, I realized that that nagging feeling about the emotional development of kids needed to top my agenda. We should plan for the emotional needs and development of students first. The rest of the curriculum should not only follow, but be linked and intertwined with emotional literacy.

This affects how the youngest generation lives and shares the earth with animals, and with each other. Schools should have a humane education program that places just as much importance on positive character traits as it does on developing all other areas of a child's education.

This would help our world so much! Imagine younger people growing up to have a base knowledge about understanding the feelings, emotions and well-being of others. Future leaders with that rich emotional base would do a much better job of making important decisions. Kids would grow up so emotionally intelligent they would abolish long-distance transport of animals and continually develop more and more humane methods of housing and slaughtering animals. They would work to eliminate the meat eating, knowing that it is neither sustainable nor necessary.

Taunya Ahier is a teacher in the Toronto District School Board and a longtime supporter of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals.

CFIA bowed to meat industry, March 17, 2017

Globe and Mail article, based on ATIP information obtained by Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals. We encouraged the G&M to write this article.



The new animal transport regulations , December 6, 2016

Government news release about the regulations:

We encourage CCFA supporters to provide comments to the government of Canada on the regulations. Comments are due Feb 15, 2017.

Link to the regulations:

Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay’s response to CCFA’s Parliamentary e-Petition 355 – Animal Transport, November 17, 2016

Canadians have been advocating for decades for improved animal transport regulations with shorter transport times. Seven thousand, four hundred and seven Canadian signatories supported change to Canada’s outdated animal transport standards in e-Petition 355 - Animal Transportation.

Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay’s response did not say anything that he has not stated previously.

We don’t need further study and consultation. The current regulations are 41 years old. It is time to act now, by publishing revised animal transport regulations (Section XII, Animal Transportation, Regulations under the Health of Animals Act) based on scientific information, societal expectations, agreement with international standards, and above all, compassion for animals. Stop listening only to industry interests, Mr. Minister.

Thanks, everyone , September 21, 2016

CCFA’s Parliamentary e-Petition requesting changes to Canada’s outdated animal transport regulations closed today with 7407 signatures – almost 7000 more than the required 500 signatures for a response from the Canadian government. We look forward to much needed improvements in the transport regulations soon.

Canadians protest cruel farm animal transportation on Global Day of Action , August 29, 2016

Protesters demonstrated in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

Read the article in the Toronto Star

The following article about animal transport, published in The Hill Times, is by Stephanie Brown, a CCFA director, June 20, 2016

Animal transport regulations: time for change

Yet 52 hours is the allowed travel time for Canada’s cattle, sheep and goats, according to federal animal transport regulations. For pigs, poultry and horses, the prescribed time is 36 hours without water, food, or rest.

Imagine travelling—mostly standingmore than two days and two nights without water, food, or rest. Yet 52 hours is the allowed travel time for Canada’s cattle, sheep and goats, according to federal animal transport regulations. For pigs, poultry and horses, the prescribed time is 36 hours without water, food, or rest.

That’s in addition to the five to seven-hour feed withdrawal prior to loading.

It all combines to create one of the most stressful situations animals must endure. Yet virtually all Canada’s hundreds of millions of farmed animals are transported at least once in their lifetime. The type of farm where they were raised doesn’t matter: organic, conventional, small or large, they all must endure transport. And every year, millions of animals die en route to their destination.

On arrival at the slaughter plant—animals wait their turn for slaughter, often for hours. Chickens sit, stacked in cramped crates on trailers, waiting. Fragile “spent” hens— their bodies nearly featherless and suffering osteoporosis after a year of egg laying in battery cages—are shipped long hours to slaughter to become spiced hot dogs.

Canada’s animal transport regulations date back to 1975. They don’t reflect today’s standards. Compared with the European Union, our vehicles are rudimentary and rarely outfitted with mechanical ventilation, movable floors, temperature monitors, alarms, or water. These amenities are available, though rarely used in Canada, yet these improvements make a huge difference to animal well-being.

Canada’s animal transport times are considered the worst in the developed world. The United States has the 28-hour law which, as its name suggests, sets a maximum baseline travel time of 28 hours. Compare our regulations with the EU, which permits only eight hours of transport unless vehicle amenities are provided. 

Canadian pigs and cattle are shipped east and west across the country, and south to the United States for slaughter. To add insult to injury, after many hours without food, water or rest, the transport clock returns to zero when animals reach the border for further travel, often to the southern U.S.

Highway inspections of animal-transport vehicles are needed, but few, if any, Canadian Food Inspection Agency highway inspectors are available. As a result, animals die from inadequate protection and ventilation in Canada’s often extreme weather.

The CFIA, too, recognizes the problems. According to their statements, changes are necessary because, “Canada’s current humane transportation Regulations no longer reflect current industry practice, current science, or societal expectations. Public perception and livestock industry practices have changed. Public scrutiny, stakeholder interest, and advancements in animal welfare have increased significantly in recent years. Gaps exist in the World Organizations for Animal Health (OIE) standards, and there is pressure from international partners who desire to see changes to the regulations in the context of Canadian exports (e.g. Europe).”

The reality is that today, farm animal welfare is not only good for animals, it’s also become critical to international business—which makes the way we transport animals under the Health of Animals Regulations extremely important.

Updating the regulations is an opportunity for federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay to advance Canada’s position as a global trade partner and improve the lives of millions of animals—two good reasons for change.

Stephanie Brown is a co-founder and a director of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, based in Toronto,

The Hill Times  

CCFA proudly announces our newest website,, April 18 , 2016

CCFA has launched a new web site with some practical relatively inexpensive steps that can be taken to prevent barn fires. The target audience for the site is farmers and we are working with federal and provincial agricultural ministries, insurance companies, some industry groups and with English and French farming publications to get the message out. Barn fires rarely make the news, but there has been a spate of them in 2016, with more than 58,000 farm animals dying in fires in Canada, this year alone. 2016.

Barn Fire

Cage-free announcement by major grocers, March 18 , 2016

CCFA congratulates Retail Council of Canada members Loblaw Companies Ltd., Metro Inc., Sobeys and Wal-Mart Canada for their commitment to purchase cage-free eggs by the end of 2025, announced March 18, 2016

CTV News story about sad state of animal transportation in Canada, March 17 , 2016

Watch video

Toronto Star urges faster elimination of battery cages, February 7 , 2016

Read the editorial in the Toronto Star

Visit out news archive to see news items from previous years