TAKE ACTION

You can help influence the direction that Canada's prison farms will take into the future. The time to take action is now.


The decision on prison farms rests in the hands of the Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale. We encourage supporters to contact Minister Goodale and Kingston MP Mark Gerretsen to express support for the Evolve proposal.

The Honourable Ralph Goodale
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0A6
(Mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament)
Telephone: 613-947-1153
Fax: 613-996-9790
ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca

MP Mark Gerretsen, Kingston and the Islands
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-996-1955
Fax: 613-996-1958
or constituency office:
841 Princess Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 1G7
Telephone: 613-542-3243
Fax: 613-542-5461
Mark.Gerretsen@parl.gc.ca

We also recommend contacting opposition critics on Public Safety who will help ensure that plant-based prison agriculture is given fair representation in parliamentary discussions.

Hon. Matthew Dubé, NDP critic for Public Safety
1991, Périgny Boul.
Office 105
Chambly, QC J3L 4C3
Phone: 450 658-0088
Matthew.Dube@parl.gc.ca

Hon. Elizabeth May, Green critic for Public Safety
518 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6
Phone: 613-996-1119
Fax: 613-996-0850
elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca

Hon. Erin O’Toole, Conservative critic for Public Safety
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-992-2792
Fax: 613-992-2794
Erin.OToole@parl.gc.ca


Suggested topics and points to raise

The Evolve model of plant-based farming (plus sanctuary for the remaining "Pen Herd" cows) compellingly unites a wide range of government and community priorities concerning effective rehabilitation & reintegration programming; sustainable agriculture; dietary health & food security; and cost effectiveness.

If the government decides to reinstate the dairy farms, the EOPF coalition, together with our friends in the media and opposition parties, will raise challenging questions such as:

-    With daily reports on the links between animal agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions, and other environmental externalities, why would the government support ecologically irresponsible farming through the prison system?
-    Why would the government choose a high cost dairy farm option when plant-based prison farms could be established at much lower cost, and would build on existing prison infrastructure including greenhouses, and community market garden partnerships?
-    Given that government subsidies to the dairy industry are already contentious, why would the government throw yet more support to this industry? Dairy consumption in Canada continues to drop dramatically. The government should be supporting sustainable agriculture in areas showing strong growth and employment potential – such as organic plant and legume-based farming.
-    With daily reports about the health benefits of plant-based diets, and the dangers of meat and dairy consumption, why would the government subsidize unsound dietary choices for prisoners?
-    Given the high levels of lactose intolerance amongst all non-European origin populations, and in particular amongst aboriginal Canadians, why would the government subsidize the production of dairy foods that are unsuitable for large segments of the prison population? (Aboriginal Canadians represent a disproportionate 25% of the prison population.)
-    Why would the government claim that engaging in harmful treatment of animals is ‘therapeutic’ despite overwhelming evidence that learning to objectify animals, and harden one’s response to their pain and suffering, leads to general diminishment of empathy, and a greater propensity to engage in violence (against humans as well as animals)? Former prisoners readily acknowledge that they were involved in harmful practices such as kicking cows to make them work, and swinging chickens until their necks were broken. Basing rehabilitation on an exploitative model of human use of animals is inherently contradictory, whereas developing a sanctuary or rescue model (as many prisons are already doing), allows for genuinely humane and therapeutic human-animal relationships.

We strongly encourage the government to reconsider the political calculus, and to make a decision about the prison farms based on evidence and sound public policy. A modest policy pivot towards plant-based farms + sanctuary is the right decision, and we are confident that it would gain widespread public support.

We ask that you consider the Evolve proposal, and present the case for plant-based prison farms in upcoming parliamentary discussions.