Unprecedented Footage in Canada
A newly-released video by Last Chance for Animals exposes the cruel, and in some cases illegal, suffering of animals at International Toxicology Research Canada (ITR), in Baie d’Urfe, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. The undercover investigation, conducted over a period of four months in 2016, documents the animal cruelty at ITR, where testing is done on dogs, pigs, and monkeys.
The footage was obtained by CTV’s W5 and aired in a two-part segment on Saturday, March 11, 2017. According to W5, no one has filmed these kinds of procedures inside a Canadian test facility before. Altogether, the segments total about 25 minutes. Keep in mind some scenes are upsetting and difficult to watch.
Watch part 1 here: http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1075783
Watch part 2 here: http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1075787
Read the CTV W5 article here: Undercover investigation reveals what goes on inside Montreal animal research lab
Conflict of Interest
Every year in Canada, 3.5 million animals are legally used in tests. Among them, 12,000 dogs and 5,000 monkeys. Laws exist to protect pets, but they don’t apply in tests, where animals are legally allowed to suffer. They are chemically burned, force fed pharmaceuticals, and exposed to physical abuse.
Canada is the only G8 country that does not use government inspectors to enforce rules. France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States all use government organizations to monitor the conditions of animals in labs. The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), is the only group tasked with overseeing Canadian testing facilities. They are a non-government organization, staffed with volunteers and have no power to lay charges, impose fines, or shut labs down. Most disturbing, the CCAC is partially funded by the companies it is tasked with monitoring.
In the W5 interview, Louise Desjardins, Executive Director of the CCAC, cannot recall a single instance of revoking a lab certification in the 50 year history of the CCAC. The organization did not respond to W5’s numerous requests for that information.
When questioned in the company parking lot, ITR Senior Vice President Ginette Bain denied that abuse takes place in her facility. On camera, W5’s Kevin Newman asked her: “We’ve seen evidence of some of your technicians hitting dogs more than a dozen times […] Would you like to see that evidence?” Bain responded, “I am convinced that does not happen.” She then repeatedly refused to view the footage.
Animal Cruelty in Canada
Though there is work to be done everywhere, Canada lags far behind the leaders in protecting animals. The European Union, along with 36 other countries, has completely banned cosmetics testing on animals, while Canada continues to allow the unnecessary practice.
Here’s why that’s a problem. First, the government does not require cosmetics testing on animals. Companies can do the right thing, but choose not to. Second, there is no agency in place to verify that testing facilities are meeting at least the minimum required standard of care. Animal cruelty violations are left unchecked and unpunished.
The EU has had legislation in place for 30 years that says you may not conduct tests on animals when alternatives exist. Canada has no federal legislation protecting animals in labs at all.
Injustice Anywhere, is Injustice Everywhere
Ignoring and forgetting about animal cruelty is exactly what ITR and the CCAC hope for. I know that Canadians would be disgusted to see what goes on in their backyards in the name of science. Though ITR is in Montreal, there are facilities across Canada conducting similarly horrifying experiments. Many products being tested in the ITR lab probably line the shelves of the stores where you shop, but you’d never know.
So what can you do?
Don’t Support Companies That Test Products on Animals
I’d love to wake up tomorrow and hear that animal testing has ended for good, but we have a long way to go. So today, vote with your wallet and buy cruelty-free when you shop. Ask friends and family to support cruelty-free products by suggesting alternatives to their usual purchases. You CAN make a difference.