It has been a great honour to represent the movement for the past seven years by Tom Black

Tom Black

As most of you will know by now, I have stepped down as the president of the OLA. It has been a great honour to represent the movement for the past seven years, but it is time for some new leadership. My wife, Marlene and I have been very involved in this cause for the past fifteen years, which also happens to be the same period that the McGuinty/Wynne dynasty was in power in Toronto. Their utter disregard for Property Rights when creating legislation was what drove many of us to try to shine a light on the consequences of such legislation. The failure of the PC’s through those years to mount any kind of effective opposition, left us as the only real ‘country’ voice that questioned their legislation.

How successful we were is very hard to measure, but this group of people, were, for the most part, involved to try to preserve the values that have been passed down to us from those who worked and fought to create a country where the individual rights of citizens were supreme. That premise put us up against government agencies and arms length organizations which the government sanctioned. Entry onto private property without permission or warrant can never be condoned in a free society.

After a long battle with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), it would seem that we were somewhat successful in having them state that they will no longer be investigating farm animal complaints. This is a definite win, but we will have to be diligent to make sure that what replaces them has due respect built into their mandate to protect animals and people. The only way to do that is to replace the OSPCA Act to remove the overreach that was granted to the enforcers of that act. We also need to grow up as a province and fund the protection of animals that we interact with in our society. Having them protected by a charity that often used the frailties of age to take advantage of elderly animal owners or those who were unable to mount a large financial fight to prove their innocence or who lacked experience in dealing with the aggressive onslaught of animal rights fanatics, leaves the system open to abuses. The charges of animal cruelty were very difficult and expensive to defend against.

Animals that are often like family members to people who spend what scarce money they may have on their pets before themselves were often targeted. Many of these people needed a helping hand to deal with their situations, but instead, the OSPCA plastered pictures and stories of abuse on social media to pump the public for money to put these “wretched people” through hell and destroy whatever may be left of their lives.

On the large animal front, they had OSPCA officers entering barns at night and without warrants until challenged by lawyer Kurtis Andrews in court. He proved that they needed permission or a warrant to enter private property to investigate. There were enforcers that thought good hard-working dairy cows putting milk in the pail were actually being starved while the fat cows on the other side of the lane were so well looked after, they of course, being dry and pregnant. Local veterinarians that had been serving farms for years were dismissed as ‘know nothings’ when they disagreed with the OSPCA.  In the early days of this battle, these officers had virtually no training but were able to lay criminal charges against farmers who had raised healthy animals for half a century.

All of this brings me back to the point that we as a society must take responsibility for the welfare of animals and people. This can not be done with a self-funded charity, with no real government oversight. That situation is too easy to be infiltrated by extremists like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who have no respect at all for farmers or anyone who uses animals in a working capacity.

In conclusion, I hope that the agricultural lobby in Ontario will put some ideas together and work on the PC’s to change the OSPCA Act so that it doesn’t step all over people’s rights. Also, I hope that they will push for a separate agency, funded by the taxpayer that will investigate complaints of animal abuse. They should call the police in to lay the charges, with all the proper evidence to back up the charges. There should be no more Animal Care Review ‘Kangaroo’ Courts where laws of evidence and court protocol doesn’t apply.

Many will say that we can’t afford to do this because of the cost. We can not afford not to do this. The costs of all these charges on people who can’t defend themselves, the cost of society’s scorn when you are charged with animal abuse and the cost of super expensive lawyers like Clayton Ruby in a Kangaroo setting, would go a long way in doing this necessary job right.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas

Tom and Marlene