In Ontario, Canada, a political party has included a policy in their latest manifesto to call for a ban of “the use of lost or abandoned pets in research”.

According to Canadian animal welfare organisations, the Green Party of Ontario is the first political party to call for this using its platform.

Ainslie Willock, Campaign Manager, No Pets In Research said, “We thank Mike Schreiner [leader of the political party] for taking a position on this issue and we call upon the Liberals, NDP and Progressive Conservatives to commit to the same position.”

As it stands in the region, under the Animals for Research Act, lost pets have only three ways to get out of the pound – they can be returned home, if the owner/home can be found within the minimum 72 hour holding period, they can be sold as pets, or they can be sold to the operator of a registered research facility in Ontario who has requested the operator of the pound to sell the dogs or cats.

The interpretation of the latter has been broadened by the government to include humane societies and rescue groups as sources of pets for research, according to Willock, who explained, “Even more troubling, the government allows unknown entities to pick up animals for research in communities without stray animal by-laws.”

Between 2012 to 2016, over 25,000 pet dogs and cats went to research in Ontario

Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada commented on the troubling statistics saying, “Once pet animals have disappeared into the opaque world of animal research, it is almost impossible for families to find out what happened to their beloved companions.”

“We are making this an election issue,” White continued. “In our 30 second TV spot which you can preview on our website and will start airing on the 23rd of May, we ask Ontarians to ask their candidates to protect their pets from researchers. The Animals for Research Act protects the researchers, not the pets or their families. The Ontario government needs to amend the Animals for Research Act to end this egregious and outdated practice.”

“The Green Party has taken a stand for our pets,” Willock said. “Now it is time for the other parties to do the same.”

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