122 petitions

Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Cambridge Animal Services, City of Cambridge By-law Enforcement Office

Let Snowflake the Pig Stay in her Home

Snowflake the potbelly pig has lived alongside her owner in her Cambridge apartment for 2 years. During this time, Snowflake has gained much adoration by family and friends, as well as many neighbours.  Unfortunately, on May 2nd of 2018, when her owner came home from work during her lunch break to check on her beloved pet, she was met by animal control who informed her that a neighbour had reported that a pig was being kept within the city and that it is against the city of Cambridge bylaw. No other reason was given as to why the report was filed. Currently, Cambridge By-law No. 171-13 prohibits "exotic pets", which is defined as all animals listed in schedule A. This includes animals of the orders Artiodactyla (including pigs). The orders of many common pets such as cats, dogs and rabbits are also listed on Schedule A, however, they have been defined as an exception to the classification. Just like any pet owner, Snowflake's owner and her daughter are absolutely devastated by this news and are fighting to keep Snowflake in their loving home. Snowflake is well-cared. She has been vaccinated, receives regular vet visits and is frequently bathed. She is given plenty of clean water and a wide array of vegetables in addition to her pig feed every day. Her diet is closely monitored and discussed with her vet to ensure she maintains good health. She is house trained and her box is cleaned multiple times per day to prevent any foul odours. She is often quiet, with the exception of her oinking, which is no louder than someone speaking. The only time she gets a bit loud is when she doesn't get her way and squeals, but this only happens on occasion since she is very spoiled.   Snowflake, who her owner has had since she was a piglet, has become accustomed to this family as it is the only one she has ever known. Her family spoils her with belly rubs and snuggles each day. When the weather is nice, she enjoys to go for a leisurely stroll with her owner (on a leash). She also likes to have a pile of blankets on top of her bed at all times so that she can crawl under them for her afternoon naps.To give her away would not only be hard on her family, but on Snowflake herself. There are many shelters who will take in pigs. However, many people who get pigs as pets don't realize how much of a commitment it is, which has left many shelters overcrowded with abandoned pigs. Snowflakes family doesn't wish to rehome her there as it will cause Snowflake a great deal of stress that will negatively impact her health. Snowflake shouldn't have to end up in a crowded shelter when she has a loving, caring home where she is well taken care of and poses no threat to others. This petition is to support Snowflake's owner in having Snowflake exempt from the section of this law that classifies her as an "exotic pet" as she is no more disruptive or of no more harm than the average cat or dog. She is a valued member of the family who is well cared for and should be able to continue on that way.

Jasmine B
15,698 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Hon. Navdeep Bains, Hon. Kirsty Duncan

Creation of a Canadian Synthetic Biology Institute

Why Synthetic Biology Matters Synthetic biology seeks to engineer organisms to solve problems in medicine, agriculture, and industry. Similar to using the same plastic Lego blocks to construct different things, synthetic biologists can use genes from different organisms to piece together new biological pathways. Through this harnessing of biology, the production of fuel, chemicals, and drugs is becoming more sustainable and cost effective. Immune cells designed to treat cancer, and microbes engineered to treat rare diseases are becoming a reality thanks to the hard work of synthetic biologists. Looking at the field from a Canadian perspective, Ontario Genomics published a detailed report (.pdf) outlining how synthetic biology could contribute to existing industries in Canada. Synthetic biology has the potential to bring the Canadian economy into the 21st century, beyond one reliant on resource extraction, to truly leverage Canada’s considerable scientific talent. With the potential to redefine healthcare, agriculture, industrial production, and green technology, it is difficult to overstate the impact synthetic biology will have on the Canadian economy. Global investment in synthetic biology recently surpassed $1B in 2016 alone, and global economic output from synthetic biology is expected to reach $38.7B by 2020. To put this into perspective, this forecast places the synthetic biology market at the combined value of all Canadian exports of precious metals, gems, refined petroleum, lumber, and wheat combined. The United States and the UK have recognized the potential of synthetic biology, and have already made significant public investments of $800M and $400M respectively. Canada cannot afford to stand on the side lines of this biotechnology revolution lest Canadian industries lose their competitive edge, compounded by a brain drain of scientific talent. A Proposal for a Canadian Synthetic Biology Institute Recognizing the challenge of developing a diverse and highly innovative economy, the Government of Canada has dedicated $950M towards innovation superclusters. The aim of these clusters is to connect businesses, academics, and policymakers, to spur growth in several high-tech fields. This represents an extraordinary opportunity for developing the domestic synthetic biology sector here in Canada, and now is the time to propose ideas on how to accomplish this.  In support of the following goals: Dedicated equipment and facilities for synthetic biology entrepreneurs and researchers An accelerator program to foster the top Canadian synthetic biology research and translate it into new companies A network of students, professors, entrepreneurs, investors, and biotechnology professionals to create a cohesive national strategy for synthetic biology Funded and competitive fellowships for synthetic biology research and entrepreneurship, to train early career scientists in business acumen in addition to the latest technical skills A dialogue with Canadian regulatory bodies to encourage support for synthetic biology projects, while ensuring projects are designed to meet Canadian safety standards A strong policy on intellectual property, acknowledging fully inventor-owned IP for technology generated at the institute Focused synthetic biology initiatives within all Canadian innovation superclusters, to foster interdisciplinary applications We the undersigned urge the Hon. Navdeep Bains (Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development) and the Hon. Kirsty Duncan (Canadian Minister of Science) and relevant policy makers within the Government of Canada, to support the foundation of a Canadian Synthetic Biology Institute. This petition is only the beginning of a concerted effort to foster Canadian synthetic biology, and advance biotechnology within the Canadian economy. If you wish to collaborate in this endeavour, please contact Benjamin Scott, a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto  _________________________________________________  Actionable Proposals A Canadian Synthetic Biology Accelerator A network of university laboratories, accelerators, and private laboratories can be envisioned, collectively under the umbrella of a Canadian Synthetic Biology Institute. Indeed, dedicated synthetic biology institutes outside of Canada already exist, with the United States, the UK, and Australia leading the charge. This can be rapidly established using current resources, to ensure a national strategy on synthetic biology is defined promptly, and outline the priorities of a stand-alone institute. Importantly, a Canadian Synthetic Biology Institute should not be a purely academic endeavour. Due to the applied nature of synthetic biology research, the field is primed to create new businesses. Entrepreneurial projects can have an immense impact on the Canadian economy, but only if entrepreneurs are given the right tools and guidance to explore and test out their ideas. Therefore, the growth of Canadian biotechnology innovation can be spurred by an investment in shared scientific infrastructure, with the establishment of a dedicated Canadian Synthetic Biology Accelerator Program to host and fund synthetic biology entrepreneurs. With shared core laboratory facilities that multiple academics, start-ups, and small businesses can access, Canadian synthetic biology ventures will have an immediate chance to test and grow their ideas, without having to invest in their own cost-prohibitive equipment. Synthetic biology accelerator programs in Ireland and San Francisco have already shown success with this style of synthetic biology research. Trainees from around the world, including Canadian university students, have tested their ideas in these private labs, gained insight from mentors, and inked contracts with investors. By framing traditionally academic research as an entrepreneurial venture, the fast-paced style of these programs helps spur productivity, leading to dozens of new high-tech companies.  Canada must foster this spirit of highly skilled entrepreneurship here at home, and capitalize on the excellent post-secondary training available to Canadians. The SynbiCITE accelerator at Imperial College London provides a particularly useful example of a successful hybrid approach between academics and industry partners. The SynbiCITE Bio-Start competition is in the same spirit of the Canadian innovation superclusters initiative, and would serve as an excellent blueprint. A Unique Canadian Solution Both academic projects and entrepreneurial ventures would compete for entry into the accelerator program, offered by the Canadian Synthetic Biology Institute. This approach to research would help maintain an application-focused drive, while elevating the visibility of promising projects to secure additional investment. This strategy has worked well for Canadian digital technology in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, with many accelerators fostering collaborations between large Canadian companies and student-led spinouts from universities. Established Canadian and international companies have recognized the benefits of entrepreneurial approaches to their business, and have partnered extensively with regional accelerators to support their own start-up like projects.  A similar strategy can be envisioned for synthetic biology, to use these technologies to specifically target Canadian industries. Canadian biotechnology, agriculture, and manufacturing firms will be able to partner with the institute-led accelerator program, to harness synthetic biology to solve problems their companies face. By centralizing synthetic biology entrepreneurship under a dedicated institute, Canadian companies will be able to invest in these revolutionary technologies without having to start their own cost-prohibitive research program from scratch. The JLABS facility in Toronto, and the Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology (CASB) at Concordia University are the first potential seeds for a dedicated Canadian Synthetic Biology Institute. Whether these existing facilities could be grouped into a collaborative “supercluster” in contingent on the government’s definition, but both would certainly benefit from a cohesive national strategy for synthetic biology. It is my hope that this petition and set of actionable proposals serves as a rallying cry for all synthetic biologists in Canada, and all others who are excited to foster new synthetic biology initiatives. Now is the time to have a national discussion about synthetic biology, to ensure renewed Canadian excellence and leadership into the 21st century.

Benjamin Scott
176 supporters