TORONTO—Canadian Football League (CFL) pro running back Brady Oliveira of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is joining forces with Animal Justice to help dogs. Oliveira and Animal Justice are asking Canada to undo the country’s devastating ban on international dog rescue, which came into effect one year ago today. This dangerous federal policy prohibits dog rescuers from bringing pups in need to Canada from over 100 of the world’s most vulnerable countries.
Oliveira is a long-time animal lover, advocate for pet adoption, and dog rescuer who has seen first-hand the suffering that dogs endure on the streets abroad. Oliveira was recently on a dog rescue mission in Bali, Indonesia, one of the countries affected by the ban.
Before the ban, Canada was a beacon of hope for dogs living on the streets and in kill shelters. Canada offered a second chance at life, and animal rescues had created a robust system of veterinary care, vaccination, flight volunteers, and adoption networks to help these dogs.
The policy is especially heartbreaking for dogs in wartorn countries like Ukraine and Afghanistan, and for dogs in countries like the Philippines and China where the dog meat trade exists.
Oliveira, like many Canadians, is deeply concerned about the ban and its deadly implications for dogs in need.
“During my rescue mission in Bali and other regions abroad, it was truly mind blowing to see how many dogs are out there that truly need our help. Rescue groups used to be able to bring adoptable dogs to Canada where the end goal of getting these dogs into their furever homes is much easier,” said Brady Oliveira. “Canada’s ban on international dog rescue is a huge setback for the rescue community, leaves dogs to suffer needlessly, and should be overturned.”
“Canadians are generous and compassionate, and thousands of us have already opened our homes and offered a second chance at life to loving rescue dogs from abroad,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Without Canada as a lifeline, dogs are now being abandoned to dodge traffic, starve on the streets, be shot at, or face death in overcrowded, high-kill shelters. We’re calling on the federal government to have a heart, and exempt dog rescue from the ban.”
The ban came into effect on September 28, 2022, imposed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in a misguided effort to combat rabies. Although preventing the spread of dog rabies is important, a complete ban on dog rescue isn’t necessary to protect dog and human health. Canada is the only Western nation with a blanket ban on most international dog adoption.
Instead, Canada can keep people and dogs safe by relying on science-based rabies prevention measures promoted by the World Organization for Animal Health, like vaccinations, antibody tests, and quarantines.
Animal Justice and rescue group Soi Dog Canada are now challenging the dog rescue ban in court, in an effort to have it overturned. The ban has already had a devastating effect on dog adoption groups worldwide, and the groups are committed to fighting it every step of the way.