PANEL: Mainstreaming Our Movement: From Special Interest to General Interest


Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director, Humane Society International Canada
Darren Chang MA, Queen's University
Mishka Lysack PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary
Julie W. MacInnes, Campaign Manager, Humane Society International Canada

Public opinion polling proves that Canadians overwhelmingly support the animal protection movement’s objectives. Yet, some animal use interest groups have sought to marginalize and isolate our movement, representing it as a fringe cause. Our challenge is to build bridges and find common ground with powerful sectors in our society, demonstrating that animal protection is a mainstream, shared societal concern we must advance together. In this panel, representatives from the corporate, political, religious and non-governmental sectors will discuss strategies for broadening and strengthening our movement to achieve lasting victories for animals in Canada.


  1. Better understand the motivations and techniques of our opponents in marginalizing animal protection ideology.
  2. Gain an appreciation of the many powerful sectors that share our goals and the key opportunities for coalition building.
  3. Learn the importance of broadening our reach and bringing the mainstream into our movement.


Rebecca Aldworth is the Executive Director of Humane Society International Canada. For 18 years, she has been a firsthand observer of Canada's commercial seal hunt, escorting more than 100 scientists, parliamentarians and journalists to the ice floes to witness the killing. She has testified extensively before international government committees in support of prohibitions on seal product trade and has published multiple articles and reports on the welfare, economic and environmental aspects of commercial sealing. She is a recipient of the 2004 Jean Taymans award for animal welfare and, in 2006, was named one of nine Eco Heroes by Alternet. In 2011, she was named Activist of the Year in the Canadian Empathy Awards.

Darren Chang recently completed a Master’s Degree at Queen's University, specializing in critical animal studies. From 2012-2014, Darren worked as a research assistant at the UBC Animal Welfare Program and has volunteered with various animal rights/liberation groups in BC and Ontario since 2011.

In 2006, Mishka Lysack began teaching full-time at the University of Calgary. He is currently an associate professor in the Faculty of Social Work, where he focuses his teaching, research and community outreach in the areas of climate change and environmental protection, environmental ethics, renewable energy and sustainable economies and communities. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Medicine and teaches courses in the Faculty of Environmental Design. Dr. Lysack has had a long interest in environmental ethics and nature conservation, including how diverse faith communities can provide public leadership on how society can and must take better care of the environment and the diversity of life that flourishes on Earth, seeing the intrinsic value of other creatures as gifts rather than commodities, and as beings who have their own emotional life, compassion, justice and empathy (see Dr. Carl Safina’s book Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel). It is through these acts of compassion and environmental justice with animals that our full humanity is fulfilled. Dr. Lysack has co-edited a book of faith-centered educational and learning resources for faith communities called "Living Ecological Justice" (2013), and has written and published several book chapters and peer-reviewed articles in this area. In addition, Dr. Lysack has organized many conferences and workshops in Canada with leaders in diverse faiths, such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Baha’i about caring for creation and embedding practices of compassion and environmental justice into our society and public policy.

Over the past five years, Julie MacInnes has been working on campaigns regarding animal welfare and ethical consumerism. As a member of HSI Canada, Julie has participated in several protection campaigns, including campaigns to end the trade in the products of shark finning, opposing wolf culls and the trophy hunting of grizzly bears. Most recently, she has taken on the challenge of finding innovative ways to reduce consumption of meat and other animal products in Canada and how that relates to environmental sustainability.