Building a National Humane Education Strategy

Jack Kinch, Animal Welfare Agency South Central Ontario (AWASCO)
Craig Naherniak, British Columbia SPCA (BC SPCA)
Tim Battle,  Alberta SPCA
Moderator: Barbara Cartwright, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS)

As humane societies and SPCAs look toward the future, two trends are visible on the horizon:
1. A decreasing need/emphasis on animal sheltering
2. An increasing need/emphasis on challenging roots causes of chronic issues.

Humane education is one of the key tools that all organizations can employ to increase empathy and compassion for animals, people and the environment. While curriculum is a provincial jurisdiction there is a need for a National Humane Education Strategy that all organizations can utilize and localize in their own context - but with a shared overall strategy. Panelists will briefly outline their approaches to provincial and regional humane education, providing a place to begin a larger group conversation. Please join us for an interactive session that aims to combine the skills in the room to answer the following four questions and determine the process to creating a National Humane Education Strategy.

1. How can we take a provincial and local process and create a unified national strategy?
2. What are the core concepts and core developments common across curricula that make humane education programs successful?
3. What are the strategies for implementation?
4. Who might our partners be?


Jack Kinch, Animal Welfare Agency South Central Ontario
Perfecting our shelters or animal welfare centres doesn’t solve the problems faced everyday by humane societies and other animal welfare agencies as we support communities in caring for animals. These animals are the victims of ignorance, indifference, neglect or malice. Only changing individual and societal behaviours will reduce the suffering inflicted by humans on domestic pets, livestock, urban feral populations and wild animals. Humane Education is our greatest opportunity to significantly impact the senseless suffering of animals. It may take a generation, but it is possible.

Craig Naherniak, British Columbia SPCA
Is humane education the key component to creating a Humane Canada? If so, we must systematically invest in youth and utilize the formal education sector. We need a national strategy we can stand behind to leverage our messages. What would the strategy look like and how could it be implemented?

Tim Battle, Alberta SPCA
Humane education, despite its lengthy history, has been under-utilized and under-appreciated; yet it has the power to increase empathy and change attitudes and behaviours towards animals, people and the environment. Engaging, age-appropriate strategies that include everything from animal care information to empathy-building literary activities are key elements to a successful humane education program.


Jack Kinch
Jack is currently the Executive Director of the Animal Welfare Agency South Central Ontario overseeing the operations of both the Kitchener-Waterloo and Stratford-Perth Humane Societies. He was drawn early in his career to community service and has been an active volunteer with a number of social agencies and service clubs focusing primarily on developing children and youth. After 30 years in business management and consulting in the for-profit and public sectors, Jack followed his passion to the charitable sector.  He served in several charitable organizations as Development Director, Vice President and ultimately Executive Director and CEO.   Jack joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society in July 2011, which morphed into the Animal Welfare Agency South Central Ontario through a merger with the Stratford-Perth Humane Society in 2012. Jack is a proud parent, step-parent and new Granddad to Wyatt, born on his birthday in May 2015.  Jack and his wife Trisha live in Waterloo and are also proud parents to rescue animals Jake, a Wheaton mix; Callum, a 3-legged, 1 ½ eared Siamese; and Aristotle, a grumpy old Bengal.

Craig Naherniak
Craig is the General Manager of Humane Education and has been overseeing BC SPCA education programming for 25 years. Craig manages the SPCA Certified program and has also managed the implementation of BC SPCA's behaviour and welfare programs in SPCA shelters. Craig has experience working with farm and companion animals. He has a B.A. in Sociology and a Masters in Environmental Studies, focusing on environmental education. 

Tim Battle
As Director of Education for the Alberta SPCA, Tim Battle oversees development and delivery of humane education programming that engages students of all ages and levels. He also works with law enforcement, social services and other agencies on issues related to the connections between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence. In 2012 he founded the Alberta Alliance for the Safety of Animals and People (AASAP), the award-winning, multi-disciplinary advisory group that guides the pet safekeeping program.

Barbara Cartwright (Moderator)
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, led to innovative programs with Quebec First Nations on companion animal issues, building resources for youth on reserves with the Assembly of First Nations, studying grizzly bear rehabilitation with the BC government, protecting endangered right whales with east coast fishermen and conserving chimpanzees with African communities. Her knowledge of policy and public affairs allowed her to lobby for amendments to federal legislation, including updates to the Criminal Code, the Migratory Bird Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. In 2008, working closely with online giant eBay, she led a successful effort to end the illegal ivory trade on its site worldwide.

Barbara has presented to the Justice Committee of the House of Commons, the all-party International Conservation Caucus, the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Specifies (CITES) as well as at the IUCN World Congress. Barbara holds a Master’s in Environmental Education and Communication, is a published author and lecturer and has received the Governor General’s Gold Medal, as well as the National Environmental Excellence Award. She is the former President and current Committee Chair for the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada and sits on the Advisory Council for the Pan-African Sanctuary Alliance.