Canadian charity calls for people with Down syndrome to be put on endangered species list
Published Monday, November 12, 2018 9:54AM EST
A Canadian charity has launched a campaign calling for people with Down syndrome to be put on the endangered species list.
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society is seeking public support for its “endangered syndrome” petition, saying that by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s criteria, the Down syndrome community qualifies as endangered in many parts of the world.
As the population with the syndrome shrinks, so too does funding for services like housing, the charity said.
The CDSS launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of their plight, with people dressed as endangered animals.
“We’re not saying that we are a community of animals at all, we’re just trying to put a comparison in the world that says when someone gets put on the endangered species list they’re given all the support to help that species thrive and that’s what we want for our kids, for our community, is the ability to thrive,” Ben Tarr from the CDSS told CTV’s Your Morning.
“It’s a campaign that’s set around raising awareness, this is a community that doesn’t get a huge amount of attention.”
Ben’s six-year-old son Leo has been to three different schools, because of a lack of resources.
CDSS said animal welfare groups have 90 per cent more funding than Down syndrome charities in North America.
The campaign video tweeted on Thursday has been viewed more than one million times.
“For us going towards being put on the endangered species list is really about setting context,” Tarr said.
“It’s about really driving and bringing attention towards the needs of housing, education and employment.”
Joshua Macdonald, 22, who plays a rhino in one of the videos, enjoyed the experience and has ambitions to become a TV weatherman.
“I want people to know that I’m beautiful, amazing, strong and brave,” he told CTV’s Your Morning.
His mother, Karen, said her son faces real challenges, particularly when it comes to employment.
“There’s not enough help for him to look for employment out there and to have that bridge between the adult with special needs and the company they work for,” she said. “There’s a real struggle.”
By the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s own criteria, the Down syndrome community qualifies as endangered. So we're applying to be the first humans ever on the Endangered List. Sign our petition to @IUCN at https://t.co/N51TZGMDzm #EndangeredSyndrome pic.twitter.com/YEpI92HzY4— CanadianDownSyndrome (@CdnDownSyndrome) November 2, 2018