Beyond The Violence Link: Connecting Our Collective Vulnerability to Build A Humane Canada

SUNDAY, APRIL 9, 8:30AM-10:00AM

SPEAKER: Barbara Cartwright, CEO, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS)

Those who work with animals and in the field of animal welfare, know that there is a direct link between violence against animals and violence against people. This mutual vulnerability to violence has come to be known as the “Violence Link”, which demonstrates reliably that animal abuse co-exists with human abuse and can predict future violence against human beings. CFHS launched the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty in 2015 to support an integrated response to investigating and prosecuting violence of all kinds, which results in more effective action in preventing future violence against both animals and people.

As our community re-focuses our attention on the Violence Link in Canada, we are also seeing a new and deeper appreciation of how the vulnerability of humans affects the welfare of animals. Whether it’s the recently coined “One Welfare” concept, which seeks to illuminate the impacts of human mental health on all species involved, or it is seeking to better understand the relationship between those who are vulnerably housed and their companion animals – we are seeing the elevation of the relationship between animals and humans and a call for greater collaboration across sectors.

This plenary will focus on the common intersections between violence against animals and humans, and the vulnerabilities in both populations. It will establish a framework for how enforcement, social services, community organizations and animal welfare organizations can more effectively work together to address preventable violence and vulnerability for all species in communities across Canada. This includes police officers and administrators, fire fighters and other first responders, enforcement staff and humane societies, SPCAs and rescues, Crown Prosecutors, the Judiciary, politicians and bureaucrats and social service providers from across Canada. It is important that we think of all of these sectors as key stakeholders in a united effort to better recognize the patterns of violence and vulnerability that threaten all species. This specialized expertise, when pooled, is sure to reveal powerful insights and strategies that will advance our collective work.

Three Key Learnings:
1. History and current activities on The Violence Link
2. What emerging research indicates about human vulnerability and animal vulnerability
3. Next steps for a more unified and effective fight against violence and vulnerability in Canada

An award-winning leader in animal welfare, conservation and education, Barbara’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 such as working with First Nations to initiate community-based companion animal welfare, partnering with the BC government to implement the first grizzly bear rehabilitation program, supporting east coast fishermen to protect the endangered right whale and mobilizing communities across the continent of Africa to conserve chimpanzees. 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.