MONDAY, APRIL 23
Philip Fulton, Manager of Community Outreach, Calgary Humane Society
Melissa Logan, Director of Education, Alberta SPCA
Emelie Luciani, Co-Director, ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education
Colleen Ovenden, Co-Director, ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education
Humane education has the power to increase empathy, change attitudes and foster ethical citizenship, yet it is alarmingly absent from our provincial education curricula. Instead of existing within formal settings, humane education in Canada is primarily practiced through a patchwork of programs and initiatives that are offered independently by humane societies, animal shelters and other like-minded organizations. This diversity of voices, which come in a variety of models and frameworks, all strive to fulfill Canada's great need for humane education.
This panel will present a snapshot of three different humane education programs that have, at their core, the same mission: promoting empathy and compassion in order to advance the welfare of both humans and animals alike. Each organization will share its story – its successes and challenges – in the hopes of initiating a national conversation on humane education.
- ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education will present itself as case study of an alternative model for humane education, which operates independently of any one animal shelter.
- The Alberta SPCA will introduce AnimalTales, a program that consists of picture books and classroom materials that focus on a variety of animal topics, including responsible care and the human-animal bond.
- Calgary Humane Society will deliver a personal narrative that tells of the dizzying highs, terrifying lows and the creamy middles of running Calgary Humane Society’s Humane Education Department.
- The successes and challenges of a non-shelter-affiliated humane education model.
- Picture books as tools for the promotion of empathy towards animals.
- Safety first, then fun, then education: learning through inquiry, personal connections and relevance, while avoiding judgment, shame and fear.
Philip Fulton started his career with Calgary Humane Society in 2008 as an Adoption Counselor, helping families and animals find their best possible match. His experiences working with a diversity of families and animals gave him the insight and skills to further help the community when he later moved into the role of Department Head of Humane Education, overseeing youth programing in the shelter. Now, as Manager of Community Outreach, Philip continues to oversee the Humane Education Department, as well as extend that education to all ages in the community through outreach events and individual interaction. Philip is passionate about youth engagement, which stems from his background teaching drama and working professionally in theatre for young audiences around the world. His particular areas of interest lay in educating both young and not-so-young people on responsible pet guardianship, canine body language and how to better understand animals to promote safer, more meaningful interactions. He believes educating children on empathetic and humane treatment of animals will lead to healthier, more caring individuals and communities.
Melissa Logan is an educator who has worked in the Alberta SPCA Education Department for the past decade. Engaging with teachers and other organizations, she has developed curriculum-relevant humane education programs and resources for Alberta teachers to inspire empathy and compassion and enhance animal welfare across the province. She holds a BSc, BEd and is currently working toward a MSc in International Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law.
Emelie Luciani is the Co-Director of ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education. Prior to this, she worked as the animal welfare educator at the Montreal SPCA, Québec’s largest and busiest animal shelter. She was also the organization’s Adoption and Foster Program Coordinator with over seven years’ experience. Emelie’s involvement in animal welfare education integrates her two passions: animals and working with youth. Emelie holds a BA in Sociology.
Colleen Ovenden is the Co-Director of ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education, an organization that brings together her commitment to animal welfare, youth empowerment and social justice. Prior to ENGAGE, she was the Director of Education and Community Outreach at the Montreal SPCA. Colleen holds an MA in Cultural Studies and a PhD (ABD) in Communication Studies.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Michelle Yez, Manager of Humane Education, Training and Retail, Edmonton Humane Society
Finding the balance between generating revenue and keeping social impact as the primary intent can be tricky. Figuring out how to do both at the same time can feel like you are working with polar opposite philosophies. Learn how the application of social enterprise principles not only embraces the entrepreneurial spirit in finding new and exciting ways to generate alternate sources of income, but also helps you look beyond the traditional means of raising funds.
In this presentation, the Edmonton Humane Society will provide real-life examples of how the Humane Education Centre has been successful in generating revenue where the revenue derived supports the mission. This practice acknowledges humane education and training as social impact as one of their primary intents, achieved by using revenue streams to become financially sustainable in order to invest in creating even more social impact.
- What to consider when applying a social business practice.
- How to create financial sustainability.
- What success looks like, both socially and financially, as a double bottom line.
As the Manager of Humane Education, Training and Retail, Michelle Yez has been one of the driving forces behind the growth and expansion of social enterprise at the Edmonton Humane Society. New to the organization, Michelle brings with her experience in non-profit, small business and a senior role in business development within a post-secondary institution. Holding a Bachelor of Recreation Studies with certifications in contract training and program planning and various other professional development activities, Michelle has a passion for entrepreneurial endeavors and superior client satisfaction while adhering to best business practices.
MONDAY, APRIL 23
Darren Chang MA, Queen's University
Meneka Repka PhD, Teacher/Instructor, University of Calgary
Humane education has historically focused on increasing empathy in children and youths by developing a sense of compassion and respect for non-human animals. More recently, humane education programs have broadened to include environmental issues, along with discussions about the marginalization of human groups. However, given the current human dependence on exploiting non-humans, coupled with global warming and mass extinctions, we question whether humane education is enough to prepare future generations to overcome these challenges. Further, we interrogate whether humane education is an appropriate response to the current state of the world, as it primarily focuses on pet animals, "ethical' consumerism and is generally only implemented in schools that are adequately funded.
We argue that the existing discourse in standard forms of humane education does not sufficiently challenge the anthropocentrism, speciesism, consumerism and other institutionally reinforced ideologies that human domination of non-human life is rooted in. Despite a shift towards situating human/non-human relations in terms of social justice in humane education, it remains unclear what justice would require. A welfare conception of justice that assumes a human right to exploit other animals as long as we give them "a life worth living" fails to question the status of humans as superior and other animals as inferior property and commodities.
- Critical perspectives on humane education to identify potential shortcomings: (a) Focus on empathy primarily towards pet animals, (b) Focus on "ethical" consumerism, which doesn’t address problems with capitalism, (c) Currently only implemented in private schools or schools with adequate funding (not accessible to most children).
- Alternatives to humane education, in terms of both forms and content (anarchist models of education?).
- Historical examples of the social justice tradition, in which justice for non-human animals could be grounded in a wider understanding of anti-oppression work.
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.
Meneka Repka (nee Thirukkumaran) is an artist and teacher living in Calgary, Alberta. She recently completed a PhD in curriculum and learning from the University of Calgary, and currently teaches both high school and some post-secondary classes. Her doctoral work examined the school experiences of vegan youths in Calgary.
MONDAY, APRIL 23
Sarah Cooper, Project Manager, Keep Cats Safe & Save Bird Lives, Nature Canada
Carol Kelly, Executive Director and Founder, Medicine River Wildlife Centre
Companion animal welfare and wildlife issues are often two faces of the same problem. Coyotes, raccoons and other wildlife are a danger to outdoor cats, and outdoor cats are a danger to birds and other wildlife. Yet, many pet owners insist it’s natural for their pets to roam unsupervised outdoors, failing to contextualize what’s natural for the cat in the larger context of the natural environment.
By integrating wildlife education and humane education efforts, we can improve the public's understanding of how pets and wildlife interact to the detriment of both, and how pet owners can be responsible both for the safety and well-being of their pets, and for wildlife.
Using several of the activities from the Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives new educational program for grades 1 to 9, the workshop will provide a hands-on demonstration of an integrated model of humane-wildlife education.
- Pets and wildlife share our urban, suburban and rural communities, and our behaviour shapes their interactions.
- Understanding the differences in our responsibilities to pets and wildlife, and the implications of behaviours as pet-owners, is critical to convincing the public to adopt responsible pet care practices and appropriate environmental stewardship.
- Collaboration and consistent messaging across sectors improve our collective ability to change people’s behaviour.
Sarah Cooper is a communications and marketing professional with more than 20 years of project management, nonprofit, strategic planning and digital engagement experience. Once upon a time she was Margaret Atwood's Executive Assistant, where she perfected the fine art of being the spider at the centre of the web. A passionate animal lover, Sarah now puts those skills to work on behalf of cats and birds.
Carol Kelly is the Executive Director and Founder of the Medicine River Wildlife Centre (MRWC) and has been a wildlife rehabilitator in Alberta for 33 years. Carol started and ran an SPCA in Newfoundland, sat on a working committee with Alberta Fish and Wildlife for 15 years and has led MRWC's research on fostering wild orphans to wild families for more than 20 years. Carol is passionate about promoting healthy pets and healthy wildlife.
MONDAY, APRIL 23
Marion Emo, Chief Executive Officer, Hamilton/Burlington SPCA
There are three important things we can do for our pets’ health and well-being: get them spayed/neutered, seeing a vet regularly for preventative care and getting our new friends microchipped for safe return home if they get lost.
The Hamilton/Burlington SPCA, local veterinarians, the OVMA, Royal Canin and Cat Healthy collaborated to ensure forever homes last forever. The "Teaming up for Cats" project in Fall 2015 helped educate new pet parents about follow-up care post adoption and the role of a veterinarian throughout a cat’s life. All cat adopters were encouraged to choose a vet, and then the cat’s medical history and a copy of the completed adoption checklist was sent to the vet prior to the first visit.
The legacy of this project has transformed adoption practices at the shelter. The Cat Healthy Adoption Checklist™ is a fully integrated feature in the adoption process. As important, a majority of adopters without a vet are now choosing a veterinary practice at point of adoption or within a week of adoption.
- Acquire insight into teaching tools for adoption staff and volunteers.
- Learn how to practically and effectively have open conversations about choosing a vet.
- Learn how to engage your veterinarian community by participating in the “Teaming up for Cats” campaign.
Marion Emo is President and CEO of the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA, a registered animal welfare charity having served the community now for 131 years and counting. Marion is a transplanted Montrealer. Her educational background is social work and urban planning and, for 20 years, she worked in the Ontario health sector on system design and the organization of health services for optimal health and wellness for people and communities. She discovered that these imperatives are not much different in the animal world. The HBSPCA supports pet owners to be the pet parents they want to be; strives to keep pets healthy and safe in their loving homes; advances a positive animal human bond, and, is modernizing its once “state of the art” shelter, which is only 22 years old. Marion served on the advisory group to the national cat overpopulation survey and report (2017) led by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
With Marion’s leadership and commitment to collaboration, the HBSPCA continues to be an innovator and early adopter. The shelter was a pilot site for the “shelter to vet” program, linking each new pet parent and their Cat Healthy Adoption Checklist™, with a community veterinarian for follow up and life-long care. The HBSPCA renewed its commitment to the innovative D-Bronx program, wherein 4 youth in custodial care are each paired with a shelter dog for 4 weeks for mutually rewarding benefits. The youth care for and train the dogs, ready them for adoption and discover new insights about themselves.
Marion’s social change interests include livable environments, living wage and knowledge transfer. While hardly a gardener, Marion does experiment with native grasses in her backyard.