Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


April 11, 2012 Letter: Stopping the ready flow of companion animals   

Carmina Gooch from the Rabbit Advocacy Group writes to Burnaby officials

Dear Mayor Corrigan and Council:

I am writing once again (see previous e-mail 11/09/11) on the issue of animals bred and raised for the pet industry.

The great majority of animals sold in pet stores are acquired from puppy, rabbit, and kitten breeding mills. If not a large scale production, they will come from smaller backyard operations, with the same deplorable conditions. There has been a growing movement over the past few years to ban, or at least attempt to regulate, the sale of animals in pet stores and other public venues, as well as through classifieds and the Internet, all in efforts to shut down these horrendous mills. While the focus is often on puppies, it is important not to forget the thousands of rabbits and cats who are forced to ‘live’ in equally miserable conditions in order to mass produce bunnies and kittens to supply consumer demand.

Richmond became the first city in Canada to pass a bylaw that prohibits the sale of puppies in pet stores. The goal of Bylaw No.8663 is to limit impulse purchases and to reduce the number of dogs bred in puppy mills. Since the Richmond ban, the City of Toronto has banned the sale of all animals in pet stores, and national pet store chains, PJ’s Pets and Petland Canada have announced that they will no longer be selling animals in their stores. BC municipalities like the District of North Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, the District of West Vancouver, Kelowna, Richmond, New Westminster, Victoria, Saanich, and Coquitlam have all banned rabbit sales outright or allow for sales and adoption of sterilized bunnies only. Delta Council has agreed to put forward a motion to ban sales of unsterilized rabbits in pet stores at this year's Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

Municipal pounds and shelters and private rescue /advocacy groups across the province will testify that one of the consequences of impulse purchases of the cute baby animal in the store window is the overpopulation of homeless pets filling their facilities. Ones that cannot be accommodated are often dumped outdoors or left behind when the owner moves on. The financial and ethical costs to our communities are tremendous.

Animals are bred for one reason only, and that is to maximize profits while supplying the market. Breeding operations, whether small or large, are notorious for their substandard and inhumane living conditions and health care. The animals, or “product” as they’re often referred to, are sold in local pet stores like Pet Habitat and King Ed Pet Centre come directly from breeders or through puppy brokers, like the US based Hunte Corporation.

Animal welfare and animal rights issues are of growing concern to the public, and as such, I ask that the City of Burnaby implement new bylaws that would protect and improve the lives of companion animals. Proactive measures like licensing breeders, the sourcing of animals, pet identification systems, spay/neuter and adoption programs, as well as stopping the flow of animals from pet stores will benefit the animals, the consumer, the environment, and the community as a whole. 

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.