Dr. Haston received a PhD in geophysics from the University of California Santa Barbara and an MBA in finance from Rice University. Prior to his time in animal welfare, he worked in the oil and gas industry and was an entrepreneur who started and owned several successful businesses. In 2012, Dr. Haston dedicated himself full-time to animal welfare and now is the Chief of Analytics at PetSmart Charities. He also serves on the boards of Emancipet, Animal Grant Makers, National Council on Pet Population and Shelter Animals Count. At the 2018 CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference, Dr. Haston will be presenting a session entitled Innovative Approaches to Helping People and Pets: Bringing It All Together. We reached him at his PetSmart Charities office in Phoenix, Arizona.
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS): I have to say I’m curious about how you found your way into animal welfare given your background in business and geophysics. How did that come to be?
Dr. Roger Haston: Well, I have a PhD in geophysics and an MBA in finance and spent most of my career working in the oil and gas industry and in technology. But I’ve always had a love for animals. So, I started volunteering at a local humane society – the Humane Society of Boulder Valley – and soon got involved with their Board of Directors. Around the same time, I had started doing some non-profit consulting. I really enjoyed making a difference in animal welfare and working within the charitable sector. As fate or luck would have it, a friend of mine told me about an organization in Colorado called Animal Assistance Foundation that was seeking an executive director. I ended up taking that position and I’ve been in animal welfare ever since.
CFHS: How long were you there?
RH: I was at the Animal Assistance Foundation for about five years, and then an opportunity at PetSmart Charities of North America came up. It was exciting to me to be able to have a larger impact on the lives of pets right across the continent, so I moved down here to Phoenix about 18 months ago.
CFHS: Can you talk a bit about your role at PetSmart Charities and PetSmart Charities of Canada and what your focus of work is there?
RH: As Chief of Analytics, I have a broad scope here at PetSmart Charities. My responsibility is to look at a lot of data – I’m kind of the big data guy there – to better understand trends that are happening in animal welfare, both in the U.S. and Canada, and measure the impact that grants, like those from PetSmart Charities, are having on those trends. I’m also leading the innovation and research projects that we’re embarking on, as well. Essentially, I have a position that’s very forward-looking and focused on understanding how PetSmart Charities can have the biggest impact with our dollars and what are some of the key trends that are going on that help to direct our granting budget.
CFHS: And in your presentation at the National Animal Welfare Conference in April, that’s what you’re going to be focusing on – sharing the insights that you’ve gained from your work with data and programs.
RH: Yes, I really wanted to use this talk to highlight some of the most interesting and innovative programs that I’ve seen around the country – ones that stand out to me as indicators of where animal welfare is headed. During the session, we’ll also be looking at some of the data and trends that are influencing the changes we’re seeing in the sector, as well.
CFHS: From what I understand, you’ve come across some really interesting community-based programs that people could adapt to address animal welfare concerns in their communities, too.
RH: You’ve just touched upon one of the biggest changes that we see happening in animal welfare: it’s really starting to move outside the shelter system and beginning to be much more about providing resources for pet parents – especially in under-served communities. We’ll talk about some interesting cat programs that I’ve seen and look at some emerging research on the power of the human-animal bond. We have a very interesting research study PetSmart Charities of Canada has funded at the University of British Columbia, looking at early childhood development and its relationship to pets. I’ll be talking about that and providing a broad look at the life-long relationship between people and pets, and how the animal welfare industry, pet parents, community groups, granting organizations and veterinarians are all working together to explore, maintain and enhance the human-animal bond.
CFHS: Interesting. Who do you think would most benefit from your session?
RH: Well, I believe there will be something for everybody in this session. What I really hope is that hearing about emerging trends and new programs will spur some new thinking across the Canadian animal welfare industry. I hope people might pull some ideas from my presentation, adapt them and consider how they may apply some of these learnings to their own shelters and communities.
CFHS: What do you hope people will walk away with after attending this session?
RH: What I hope they walk away with is an understanding (a) that the world of animal welfare is changing very quickly and we need to start responding to that, and (b) that the world of animal welfare is so much more than just animal sheltering. So much of the work that needs to be done is out in the community, helping people and their pets. With this mindset, we’ll soon see even more new and innovative programs for people and pets – and that’s what we’re all hoping to do at this year’s conference – to learn what we can to help save and enhance the lives of animals everywhere.
SUNDAY, APRIL 22
Barbara Cartwright, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS)
Many industries have codes of conduct, standards and certification programs that clearly set out good practices and assure members of the public that they are dealing with trustworthy organizations. There are programs in Canada that set welfare standards for farm animals (the National Farm Animal Care Council Codes of Practice, SPCA Certified and Humane Certified), for animals in research (the Canadian Council on Animal Care’s Certificate of Good Animal Practice), and for veterinary care in medicine (the American Animal Hospital Association). However, none of these are aimed at the animal welfare sector itself and, in particular, humane societies, SPCAs, shelters and rescues.
Meanwhile, our sector faces three distinct challenges to our future growth and success: a proliferation of organizations and individuals with animal welfare mandates, a lack of commonly shared brand and a lack of shared standards and best practices. In order to address these areas of concern, CFHS has embarked on a process to set industry standards with a supporting accreditation program. This presentation will outline a strong case for a standards and accreditation program and the process that CFHS is engaged in to establish one. The presenter will also invite thoughts and feedback into the process from participants.
- The features and benefits of standards and accreditation as tools to build a strong, professional industry and maintain public confidence.
- Current standards programs in Canada and key learnings that can be applied to an animal welfare sector standards program.
- The process of building a standards and accreditation program for the animal welfare sector.
An award-winning leader in animal welfare, conservation and education, Barbara Cartwright’s work has spanned five continents and 20 years. Her extensive experience in developing and facilitating relationships with stakeholders, including governments, corporations and NGOs has led to innovative programs with dynamic results. Barbara is sought after for her knowledge of policy and public affairs. She has secured amendments to federal legislation including updates to the Criminal Code, the Migratory Bird Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Barbara has advised some of the top organizations in the world on animal welfare policy direction, including her work with eBay to end the illegal ivory trade on its site worldwide. Today, as the CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), Barbara convenes and represents the largest animal welfare community in Canada, working to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals. She leads CFHS in fulfilling its mission to create a humane Canada through the successful execution of strategic and business plans. Over the past five years, Barbara has launched the National Animal Welfare Conference, the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty and released the first empirical sector-wide research project on humane societies and SPCAs in Canada. She is consulted by all political parties on issues of animal welfare, including updating legislation and consulting on policy documents such agricultural and food policy. Barbara has presented to the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada, the all-party International Conservation Caucus, the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), as well as at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Congress. She holds a Master’s in Environmental Education and Communication, is a published author, a lecturer and a recipient of the Governor General’s Gold Medal, as well as the National Environmental Excellence Award. She is the former President of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, an Advisory Council Member for the Pan-African Sanctuary Alliance and currently sits on the PetSmart Charities of Canada Board of Directors. Barbara is a member of Women’s Executive Network, the Council of Women Executives and part of the Distinctive Women network.
MONDAY, APRIL 23
Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy, Executive Director, Animals in Science Policy Institute
Unlike other countries, such as the UK, Canada lacks any national legislation specific to the animals used in science, so what protections do lab animals have, if not legal ones? The current peer-based agency that oversees the use of animals in science in Canada – The Canadian Council on Animal Care – was established in 1968. Forty years on, it’s time to reflect on the systems that we have in place to protect the welfare of lab animals, and to critically examine the governance of animal-based science. This talk will delve into the structure of Canada’s governance system for overseeing the use of animals in science and will evaluate Canada’s progress in implementing the Three Rs principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.
- What legal protection do animals used in science have in Canada? If not legal protection, what other mechanisms are in place to safeguard lab animal welfare?
- What are the successes and shortcomings of the governance system for animal-based science in Canada?
- What progress has been made in the Three Rs? What should the focus of future progress be?
Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy is Executive Director of the Animals in Science Policy Institute, a registered Canadian charity that aims to build an ethical culture of science that respects animal life by promoting the reduction and replacement of animals in teaching, research and testing. Elisabeth brings to this role her background in Neuroscience and PhD-level expertise in animal ethics and the governance of animal-based science. She worked for the Canadian Council on Animal Care as a research fellow from 2009-2011, and subsequently sat on the Standards Committee until 2016. Elisabeth currently sits as an Advisor on the Environment and Animal Welfare committee for the Vancouver Foundation and on the Advisory Council of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Beth Gammie, Director of Field Services, RedRover
It is essential for the animal welfare community to come together and help government agencies provide temporary emergency animal sheltering for communities evacuating from natural disasters. This is an awareness-level session on what temporary emergency animal sheltering is and how to go about it. The session will include discussion on the different types of emergency shelters, how to set one up and supply and staff it, daily operations, how to maximize reunification of animals with their people, communications and demobilization.
- What is temporary emergency animal sheltering, and why is it crucial in natural disasters? Studies show that up to 40% of people will not evacuate in natural disasters if they are not able to bring their pets with them. This leads to untold human and animal suffering and loss of life. Temporary emergency animal shelters provide sheltering for animals evacuated or rescued from natural disasters, and there are three different types: 1) Co-habitated: people living side-by-side with their animals; 2) Co-located: people and animals living under the same roof, but in separate living areas and 3) Stand-alone temporary shelter: only shelters animals (often nearby a Red Cross or other human shelter). We’ll discuss the pros and cons of the different shelter types.
- How to set up, supply and staff a temporary emergency animal shelter: we’ll cover issues such as how to select a sheltering site, basics on laying it out (the sections that are needed) and how to go about getting the supplies and staffing needed to run it. We’ll also cover the basics of operations, from intake to reunification.
- Reunification of animals with their people should be the North Star, guiding all your sheltering decisions. In the chaos and stress of disaster, it is easy to put reunification on the back burner. However, unless reunification is a focus for the emergency shelter from the beginning, many people and animals from the disaster will never be reunited. This is of course a tragedy for the animals, who lose their family. It is also tragic and extremely painful for people, who may have lost everything in the disaster. There are decision points all along the way: selecting a shelter site, the type of shelter, best practices on intake and communications that can facilitate reunification. We’ll discuss all of these, as well as lessons learned on reunification.
Beth Gammie is the Director of Field Services for RedRover, an American animal welfare organization headquartered in Sacramento, California. In this role, Beth leads the RedRover Responders Program, which provides emergency animal sheltering in natural disasters and large-scale cruelty seizures throughout the United States and Canada. Prior to this position, she was a volunteer with RedRover and other animal welfare groups. Beth lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is staff to her 4 cats.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Carrie Fritz, Executive Director, Calgary Humane Society
Jill Gibson, Investigator, Calgary Humane Society
Sage Pullen McIntosh, General Manager of Community Relations, Calgary Humane Society
With the seemingly growing number of natural disasters affecting heavily-populated areas, it isn’t a matter of "if" there will be another emergency situation, it is a matter of "when". In light of the floods and wildfires that have impacted Alberta in the past several years, many animal welfare organizations have started the process of preparing for a large-scale emergency response in their area.
Now that we have learned how to build relationships with multiple levels of government and interested stakeholders and the importance of working as a team, Calgary Humane Society will share its experience during several recent disasters and will provide key takeaways for animal welfare organizations so they can be better prepared to provide an appropriate animal response when disaster strikes.
Based on our experience with the Slave Lake fire in 2011, the Calgary/High River Flood in 2013, and the Fort McMurray Wildfires in 2016, Calgary Humane Society will lead an interactive discussion on how they were able to offer support to affected areas during these times of crisis, with a specific focus on communication strategies, internal operations and logistical support for teams on the ground.
- What you need to prepare as an animal welfare organization in order to be responsive and be able to offer the necessary support to save animal lives. We will examine this from both an internal perspective (dealing with emergency situations within a shelter environment, such as disease outbreak, mass intake, etc.) and from an external perspective (dealing with natural disasters, such as fire and flood).
- What crisis communication strategies need to be employed to ensure key stakeholders receive consistent and effective communication to avoid potential confusion and misinformation.
- What does this support look like: from providing people, equipment, supplies and other resources to actual "boots on the ground" support. We will discuss the challenges faced and the improvements that have been made to increase effectiveness of this effort.
Carrie Fritz is the Executive Director of Calgary Humane Society and is a CGA-CPA, who attended the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, obtaining her accounting designation in 1996. Since taking on the role of Executive Director, Carrie has focused on building a professional, highly-skilled team in order to further all aspects of animal welfare, inspiring the community to take on the challenges of animal welfare and teach them to be responsible pet owners. Carrie currently lives just south of Calgary, where she shares her home with her daughter, her three dogs and two rescue rabbits.
Jillian Gibson, a graduate of Lethbridge College's Criminology program, joined Calgary Humane Society's Protection and Investigations department in 2011. Since then, she has investigated thousands of animal cruelty files, most notably the high profile Willow Park muzzling (Camardi) case and the Riverfront Aquariums case, both of which, upon conviction, were given record-setting sentences.
Sage Pullen McIntosh joined Calgary Humane Society in February 2015. Previously, Sage spent 16 years working in both radio and television news as a reporter, anchor and producer. Sage holds her Master of Arts in Professional Communication through Royal Roads University in Victoria and has a passion for crisis communications and media relations. When not at work, Sage can be found camping with her family, walking her giant English Mastiff (Thor) or at the soccer field, dojo or gym with at least one of her very active kids.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Dr. Dave Bjolin, Veterinarian, Canada Task Force 2/Olds College
Bonnie Lewin, Business Continuity & Recovery Planner - ESS Planner, The City of Calgary
The Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) is a coordinating body that collaborates with more than 60 Agency members to prepare for, and respond to, emergencies and disasters. CEMA manages Canada Task Force 2 (CAN-TF2), which is one of five national all-hazard disaster response teams, as well as Calgary’s Emergency Social Services (ESS) program. CAN-TF2 and ESS will discuss the importance of building relationships with partners (internal, external and governmental) and the importance of working as a team when a disaster or emergency strikes.
- See how your organization fits within the emergency management system during a response.
- Some challenges and opportunities when developing your emergency response plans.
- How to work with multiple levels of government when disaster hits.
Dr. Dave Bjolin graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1994 and has worked as a veterinarian on Vancouver Island and in Calgary. Dave has been a faculty member at Olds College since 2007. He volunteers with Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force, including a recent involvement as part of the response to the Fort McMurray Wildfires. Dave joined Canada Task Force 2, Alberta’s Disaster Response Team, in 2016 and works with the Canine as well as Search teams.
Bonnie Lewin is a Registered Social Worker in Alberta and the Emergency Social Services (ESS) Planner for The City of Calgary. She has been involved in emergency planning for more than ten years and participated in five ESS activations, including the 2013 Alberta South Floods. Bonnie incorporates citizen, internal and external partner perspectives in the ESS plan to ensure the impacted individuals' needs are met in a safe and welcoming environment. Her social work background enhances the delivery of services as she focuses on building citizen and staff capacity to recover from a disaster or emergency. Bonnie meets with her ESS colleagues from other Alberta municipalities regularly to assist in creating best practices for the delivery of ESS in Alberta. She has delivered presentations to Emergency Management personnel in British Columbia and Alberta.
The 2018 CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference will feature North America's most sought-after thought leaders on emerging animal welfare science, best practices in animal sheltering, leadership and community engagement practices in an animal welfare context, animal welfare advocacy, and stakeholder relations techniques. Check back often for new interviews with this year's incredible speakers!
Dr. Roger Haston on trends and innovation in animal welfare
As the Chief of Analytics at PetSmart Charities, Dr. Haston has a deep level of knowledge about trends and innovation in the animal welfare industry, how the industry is currently changing and what the new data says about where this is leading us. At the 2018 CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference on April 22, Dr. Haston will be presenting Innovative Approaches to Helping People and Pets: Bringing It All Together. Read our interview with him here to get a sneak peek into some of the insights he'll be sharing!
Rob Laidlaw on the current Canadian landscape for wildlife in captivity
Rob Laidlaw is a Chartered Biologist, award-winning author of nine children’s books and Executive Director of the wildlife protection charity Zoocheck. His work throughout the years has taken him around the world and has involved almost every kind of advocacy initiative from lobbying governments to rescuing animals, including many successful initiatives to change laws, policies and practices and to improve conditions for wildlife in captivity. He will be joining us at the 2018 CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference to present Nature in a Box: A Primer on Wildlife in Captivity as part of our Wildlife Welfare learning track. Read our interview with him here.
Janice Hannah on working with indigenous communities on dog management
As IFAW’s Humane Indigenous Communities lead, Janice Hannah works with indigenous communities and NGOs in North America to build humane and sustainable programs that improve the health and welfare of both animals (particularly dogs) and their people. Jan’s focus on companion animal welfare merges her long-term interest of working with animals and communities in culturally applicable, empowering and creative ways. She is presenting three thematically-linked sessions on dog management in indigenous communities as part of the 2018 Deep Dive Training Day. Read our interview with her here.
Rob Laidlaw is a Chartered Biologist, award-winning author of nine children’s books and Executive Director of the wildlife protection charity Zoocheck. His work throughout the years has taken him around the world and has involved almost every kind of advocacy initiative from lobbying governments to rescuing animals, including many successful initiatives to change laws, policies and practices and to improve conditions for wildlife in captivity. He will be joining us at the 2018 CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference to present Nature in a Box: A Primer on Wildlife in Captivity as part of our Wildlife Welfare learning track. We reached him at his office in Toronto.
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS): We’re thrilled to have a whole learning track on wildlife welfare at the National Animal Welfare Conference this year, and we wanted to talk to you about some of the issues at play for captive wildlife in Canada. But, before we get into that, can you talk to us about how you decided to focus your advocacy work on wildlife in captivity?
Rob Laidlaw: Well, I’ve been doing animal advocacy work for 39 years. Back in the early 1980s, after I left a group I helped start that focused on raising public awareness about a variety of animal welfare issues, I was looking for an issue to work on that would allow me to achieve something more tangible and measurable, more than just "educating the public". Around that time, I just happened to come across a zoo in southern Ontario about 2 hours from Toronto. I stopped in and was appalled at the conditions, so I made a complaint to the Ontario SPCA. I found out very quickly that no one was really looking at zoos and that nobody even knew how many zoos were in the province or what animals they kept. Most surprising to me however, was that there were no laws governing zoos in Ontario at all. It was basically the wild west – anybody could go out and start a zoo and do pretty much whatever they wanted. So that led me to conduct my own investigation to determine how many zoos there were in the province, what animals they were keeping and in what conditions. Back then, it took a lot of detective work just to find them as there was no internet. I soon started a program of site visits to six of the zoos I found, which I believed were a representative sampling of what was in the province. I went to each zoo between 6 and 10 times to document conditions and to get a realistic picture of how they operated, instead of just the snapshot glimpse that I’d get with a single visit. That investigation led to a report and, eventually, the more formal creation of Zoocheck in 1988.
CFHS: Amazing that it’s been 30 years since Zoocheck was founded.
RL: When I first started, after making my complaint to the Ontario SPCA, the CEO of the organization told me that no one was going to deal with the zoo issue unless I did. So I said, 'Okay, I’ll deal with it.' Little did I know what I was getting into and that more than three decades later I’d still be at it. I had originally envisioned that the entire zoo project would take 18 months.
CFHS: What’s your organizational focus now?
RL: We deal with all different areas of wildlife in captivity. Not only issues associated with zoos and zoo type exhibits but also aquariums, other kinds of menageries – both private and public – as well as the exotic animal pet trade. We've also expanded beyond Canadian borders and have worked in the United States, Mexico, Japan and, to a certain extent, other parts of Asia and Africa. A lot of people still don’t realize we also work to protect wildlife in the wild, such as elephants, bears, cormorants and wild horses, and that we place some emphasis on trying to change wildlife management practices. So while we've been trying to change the wildlife in captivity paradigm, we've also been trying to shift the wildlife management paradigm away from what it is today, which I believe can be destructive, pseudo-scientific and biased against wildlife at times, to something more science-based, holistic and humane.
CFHS: What keeps you motivated in doing this work?
RL: Stubbornness? It's the sense of injustice. I've always thought animals got a raw deal. And I always seemed to know that when human interests – even the most trivial of interests – competed with animal interests, inevitably the animals lost. From a young age I knew that was wrong, so I decided early on that I was going to try to do what I could to rectify that situation. All these years later, I'm still as committed as ever and I don't think that will change. There's still too much to do. I certainly understand that there has been progress made on many issues, but I'm also cognizant of the fact that the problems animals face are still immense and that for some of them things are getting worse, so none of us can relax. Today I'm very focused on winning. I'm desperate to win and help animals. Thankfully, my colleagues and I have been winning, or at least making progress on, more issues than not these days, which is a sea change from years ago. But even if we weren't winning, I'd continue doing this work.
CFHS: Considering the sheer number of issues at play in the area of captive wildlife and the limited amount of time, how do you plan to address it all in your presentation at the National Animal Welfare Conference?
RL: What I want to do is to provide an idea of the landscape of captive wildlife issues in Canada, what the trends and challenges are, what’s occurred in various jurisdictions and what lessons we can learn from everything that's happened. I'll also be looking at some tools that are available to help enforcement personnel and how we might move forward into the future to address wildlife in captivity issues on a local and regional basis. Hopefully it'll get people's creative juices flowing.
CFHS: Sounds like this is going to dovetail really nicely with another presentation happening at the conference this year. Guelph Humane Society is speaking on how domestic animal shelters can be more helpful to wildlife.
RL: That’s great – some of what I'll be talking about can work very well for domestic animals, as well. I expect a lot of the conference sessions will be complementary to each other.
CFHS: Absolutely. There's a lot of overlap and inter-related concepts. Now, we've been seeing a lot of action in the wildlife in captivity landscape lately – especially for cetaceans, with Bill S-203 and what’s been happening in Vancouver. What do you think about Vancouver Aquarium’s recent announcement about respecting the cetacean ban introduced by the Vancouver Park Board?
RL: I'm pleased the Vancouver Aquarium announced an end to their cetacean keeping program, but I don't think this debate is over just yet. It looks like the Aquarium may be trying to keep the cetacean display door open a crack. I read that they hope to take rescued cetaceans and house them in tanks at the Aquarium, presumably on a short-term basis. That's something I am adamantly opposed to. And I believe the Aquarium vs. Park Board legal action is still in play, with Zoocheck and Animal Justice being intervenors. But I think things have gone too far for the Aquarium to turn back the clock. Soon, Marineland in Ontario will be the only facility in Canada keeping cetaceans in captivity. So, on this issue, things certainly seem to be moving in the right direction.
CFHS: We’re really looking forward to digging into these issues with you at the conference.
RL: I’m looking forward to it, as well. Whether someone is specifically interested in captive wildlife or not, my intention is to pass along information they can use in their daily animal welfare work, regardless of what animals they deal with.
6:30-7:00AM SUNDAY AND MONDAY
Room: Neilson 1 and 2
These morning wellness sessions will be hosted on-site by the Calgary Humane Society. If you like to get moving on your mat in the early morning, Meow-ga is a great way to do it! It combines kittens and yoga to create the ultimate exercise and relaxation experience. Two different styles of yoga will be offered each morning. Please dress comfortably and bring a yoga mat if possible. Classes are 30 minutes long and suitable for all levels. Water and towels will be provided. All #NAWC2018 attendees welcome.