Sam Johnston, right, signs a petition as Northeast Kings Education Centre Animal Rights Committee members Lauren Barron, left, Alison Bray, Victoria Jones and Victoria Whincup look on. - Submitted
Animals have feelings and they deserve to be treated well.
That’s the message the newly-established Animal Rights Committee at Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning is sending their fellow students. The Animal Rights Committee is a group of students hoping to make a positive impact on the quality of life of animals in Kings County and beyond.
Victoria Whincup, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student, helped form the animal rights committee. Whincup said she was looking for something meaningful to get involved in this past summer that would help animals. She and her friends decided to form a committee, which they did when school resumed in September.
Whincup said she really loves animals and her eyes were opened to the negative impacts of allowing dogs to be tied outside for extended periods of time when her family got a pet canine. She said he had been chained up for about 18 months without any human contact.
“It took him awhile to get used to us,” she said. “I feel animals have feelings, too, and they deserve to be treated well.”
Although the student committee has other projects in mind, their first major initiative was a series of three petitions: one calling for a ban on animal testing, one against the practice of tethering dogs outside for long periods of time and one calling for a ban on travelling with pets in an open vehicle, such as the back of a pickup truck.
The students - including Whincup, co-presidents Lauren Barron and Alison Bray, Victoria Jones, Hannah Cochrane, Abby Porter, Scott Porter and Kaylie Kenney - gathered signatures on their petitions at NKEC between Dec. 2 and 5. Whincup said 135 people signed each petition.
“We hope to gather more signatures in other places,” Whincup said.
Another idea they have is a chain-a-thon. Although there isn’t a date set, Whincup said the students are considering a protest where they wear chains around their necks and stay in the school cafeteria all day. The purpose would be to raise awareness to the problem of dogs being tied-up and to gather donations for the Kings SPCA.
Over the past couple of years, various animal welfare groups in the province have called for amendments to the Animal Protection Act to ban tethering dogs outside for long periods. Currently, it isn’t illegal in Nova Scotia to leave a dog tied or confined continuously, as long as food, water and shelter are provided.