April 02, 2007 16:51 ET

Remember Animals This Easter Urges The Humane Society of Canada

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor VANCOUVER, BC--(CCNMatthews - April 2, 2007) - With Easter just around the corner The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is asking people to help animals during this holiday, but not buying or giving small animals and birds as gifts.

"One of the biggest mistakes that parents can make at Easter is to surprise their children with rabbits, chicks, ducklings and other animals," says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. "Every beautiful chick and duckling grows up into a large bird with specific needs that don't fit in with the lifestyle of most households. Children suffer when they have become attached to the birds which are taken away at some point. Because they are so small and sensitive, often chicks and ducklings are harmed by children."

Parents should also be concerned about chicks and ducklings because they can cause Salmonella poisoning which has been linked to these birds. "Considerable heart ache for everyone involved can be avoided by not getting these animals for children at Easter," states Hickey.

Rabbits are also popular Easter gifts and can live up to 10 years of age or more, according to HSC Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan. "Many people do have rabbits as pets, however, they require housing, a special diet and veterinary care. Generally speaking, like most holidays, Easter is a hectic time of year, and if you decide to include a rabbit as a part of your family, it's better to wait until after the holiday and make sure that everyone is willing to pitch in and help with his/her care."

The Humane Society of Canada is pleased to hear about that Petcetera retail pet stores in British Columbia has agreed to stop selling rabbits due to the high numbers of these animals that end up unwanted and in shelters looking for new homes - and they are asking the pet food chain and all pet stores to make a nationwide commitment to stop selling rabbits and chicks at Easter time.

"Those who want and can provide a good care for a rabbit should consider adopting a rabbit in need," recommends O'Sullivan. "Check local humane societies, SPCAs, animal shelters or a rescue group to see if there are rabbits waiting to be adopted."

Chocolate, found in abundance in many homes at Easter, can be deadly for pets and even harmful for people warns O'Sullivan.

"Chocolate is toxic to animals and can result in death," says O'Sullivan. "Some chocolate is also harmful to people. Lindane, a dangerous pesticide that is a hormone disruptor and which has been linked to breast cancer and birth defects, is sprayed on cocoa crops in some countries. If you are going to buy chocolate you should consider purchasing organic, fairly-traded chocolate which is better for the consumer, those who harvest the crops and the environment," recommends O'Sullivan.

Easter is a fun time, but it can also result in pets and people being exposed to dangers not typically present at other times of the year. For example, the green artificial grass in Easter baskets can cause gastrointestinal blockages if consumed by pets. Educating others about potential Easter dangers will help to keep people and their animal companions safe.

CONTACT: Al Hickey or Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has 6 grandchildren.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 90 countries during the last 35 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. They carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, fund scientific research, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The Humane Society of Canada depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns please make a donation.
/For further information: IN: MEDIA

Contact Information

  • Michael O'Sullivan, Executive Director
    Primary Phone: 416-368-0405
    Secondary Phone: 416-876-9685
    Toll-Free: 800-641-5463