Farm Animal Policy in Action

SUNDAY, APRIL 9, 1:00-2:30PM

Dr. Ian J.H. Duncan, Professor Emeritus, Emeritus Chair in Animal Welfare, Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph
Amy Morris, MPP, British Columbia SPCA (BC SPCA)
Geoff Urton, General Manager, Strategy and Innovation, British Columbia SPCA (BC SPCA)

In 2017, more policy development influencing the lives of farm animals is underway than ever in Canadian history.
Federal animal transport and slaughter laws are being amended for the first time in decades. National codes of practice are being developed to reform controversial farming practices like confinement housing, and some provinces are
adopting these standards into their animal protection legislation.
In this session, participants will learn the latest about where these processes are at, and what they can do to influence the outcome for animals.

Participants will also play "the lobbying game" to experience the process of influencing government decisions, and
consider the strengths-and weaknesses of this system in contrast to the consensus based process used to design Canada’s codes of practice.

Three key learnings:
1. What historic policy development is underway for farm animals?
2. How do government-led and stakeholder-led policy development processes differ?
3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of different enforcement approaches to ensure new policies are adhered to?


Ian Duncan is Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Chair in Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph. He has been carrying our research into animal welfare since 1965
and was thus one of the first people to bring a scientific approach to solving welfare problems. He has developed methods of “asking” animals what they feel about the conditions in which they are kept and the procedures to which they are subjected.

Amy Morris got her start volunteering at the SPCA Montreal emergency shelter with hoarder cats and puppy mill dogs while studying sociology. Disturbed that society’s laws allowed these animals to suffer, Amy studied Public Policy through a Master’s program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver in 2011 and has been working with the BC SPCA on societal and policy change ever since.

In every aspect of his life, Geoff Urton is committed to drawing out the best from others. It is through this ethos and a no bullsh*t approach to seeking common ground, that he has facilitated agreement between diverse stakeholders at the community and international levels. Geoff has applied his background in Animal Welfare Science (UBC) and Dialogue and Negotiation (SFU) to create an innovative and evidence-based public policy approach that has altered the animal welfare landscape in Canada.

At the BC SPCA, he is honoured to have led a team of professionals with diverse backgrounds to the forefront of the animal welfare movement. His team has driven numerous landmark policy reforms, including phase-outs of barren cages for hens and gestation stalls for pigs, and regulations for BC’s dog and cat breeding industry. At home, Geoff can be found telling completely made-up tales of heroism to his generous wife, Lise, and their two boys – or being walked by their determined tripod pup, Finn.