March 2006

Surrey SPCA Animal Learning Centre

The Surrey SPCA's youth program:

Previous communications to the BC SPCA by those from within, and outside of the agency indicate the restructuring of the Animal Learning Centre's Youth Program was not without a great deal of friction and division. In 2004 staff hours were reduced as were the times of operation. More emphasis was to be placed on going into the communities and developing school programs. Meanwhile, staff was also instructed to reduce the number of rabbits and small critters being held at the Centre. Today, as the restructuring continues, the hours have been further decreased with adoption and viewing hours being held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3-6 pm and Saturday from 10 until noon. On visits over the last several months the declining use and deterioration of the property was readily apparent. The once popular "Bottles for Bunnies" that raised money for the spaying and neutering of rabbits looks all but abandoned and the rabbits for adoption in the 'bunny barn' are kept caged, and in virtual isolation. Some sit for months on end with little human contact or exercise. I hardly call this adequate care or an educational model on which humane standards can be based. What message is this sending to the children? How can the rabbits possibly find new homes if the place is open only 11 hours per week? There are rabbits in the admitting facility but they too are relegated only a bit of space in the back of the cat room. This branch has a reputation for putting down its surplus of rabbits or in handing them off to other individuals or groups, who in turn bear the financial costs and tasks of rehoming them. I hope that in the near future the manager, Tanya Firmage, is able to remedy the existing circumstances and that the BC SPCA will direct some additional resources specific to rabbit welfare and advocacy.

Below are some pictures of the Animal Learning Centre taken on two separate occasions, once in February and then again in March.

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver, BC


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