The Regina Humane Society (RHS) accepts the participation of domesticated animals in appearances for public entertainment, recreation or competition only when the following criteria are met:
- All aspects of the animal’s Five Freedoms (see Definitions following) are addressed; including those for breeding/source animals and retired animals.
- All activities are designed with the animal’s health and safety as the first priority.
- Humane training methods are used.
- Live bait is not used.
- Animals no longer used for these purposes receive humane care and are not euthanized simply because they can no longer perform.
In all events where domestic animals are kept or used, humane and ethical treatment is essential and animals must be depicted and utilized with respect.
Circumstances where domestic animals are commonly used for entertainment, recreation and competition include, but are not limited to; animal shows, fairs and exhibitions, animals used in movies, film and television, circuses and travelling shows, petting zoos, rodeos, equestrian, racing, sledding, agility trials, endurance etc.
For any activities in which domestic animals are used, steps must be taken to ensure the animals are treated humanely; with dignity, respect and with the well-being of the animal at the forefront of consideration. Animals must be raised and kept in an environment that promotes and maintains their emotional and psychological needs in addition to their physical needs.
The Society encourages all organizations involved in such events to develop and abide by guidelines or standards that ensure humane treatment and respect for the animals involved, as well as to provide ongoing veterinary care and oversight and to allow external third party review and/or assurance of animal welfare standards.
The RHS believes it is possible to participate with domestic animals in certain events that, when conducted in a humane manner, are pleasurable for both people and animals and that such interaction may enhance the human/animal bond.
The RHS does not support:
- The infliction of pain or suffering upon, or the killing of any animal for the purpose of entertainment, recreation or competition during acquisition, training, transport, performing, housing and final disposition.
- Any activities that portray or force animals to behave in ways that contradict the Five Freedoms.
- Animals performing or on display in a predominantly travelling environment as they are deprived of a normal existence and may lack proper attention to their needs.
- The use of abusive, cruel or stressful training techniques or devices/agents employed to cause animals to perform (e.g. whips).
- The use of animals in blood spectacles such as dog fighting, bullfighting, bloodless bullfighting, cockfighting, etc. Animals used in blood spectacles are trained and forced to fight other animals or people, causing severe injury and suffering to those involved. Blood spectacles promote insensitivity to animal suffering, enthusiasm for violence and a lack of respect for the law.
- Rodeo events where the Five Freedoms cannot be ensured for all animals during housing, training, transport and performances, whether or not the events are sanctioned by a professional rodeo association.
- Greyhound racing where dogs are trained using live rabbit lures and negative reinforcement techniques and where animals that are no longer successful competitors are destroyed.
- Disarming (e.g., removing teeth and/or claws) or any other procedure which alters the conformation or function of an animal for the purpose of entertainment or competition.
- The use of substances and/or drugs to mask pain or enhance performance for non-therapeutic purposes at the expense of health and well-being.
Domesticated Animal: an animal, as the horse or cat, that has been tamed and kept by humans as a work animal, food source, or pet, especially a member of those species that have, through selective breeding, become notably different from their wild ancestors (Dictionary.com).
Five Freedoms: a core concept in animal welfare that originated in a UK government report in 1965 and was then refined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. The Five Freedoms are considered applicable to all animals. It states that an animal’s primary welfare needs can be met by safeguarding the following five freedoms:
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
- Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behavior – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
Distress: As defined by Saskatchewan animal welfare laws.
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