OTTAWA – National animal law advocacy organization Animal Justice is supporting MP Michelle Rempel’s private member bill aimed at outlawing all forms of sexual abuse of animals. The bill was tabled today in the House of Commons.
Most forms of bestiality have been legal since June 2016, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the case of R. v. D.L.W. that the criminal offence of bestiality is limited to sexual penetration between a human and an animal. Animal Justice intervened in the groundbreaking case to argue that all forms of sexual abuse of an animal must remain illegal. The Supreme Court disagreed, stating that penetration has always been an essential element of the offence, and criminalizing acts beyond penetration would expand the offence beyond the intention of the drafters of the law.
The Court stated that it was up to Parliament to expand the scope of the offence. Yet the government has taken no action to protect animals in the 18 months since the D.L.W. decision was released, leaving animals across the country dangerously vulnerable to disturbing sexual abuse.
Camille Labchuk, a lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice, stated:
“Animal protection is a serious issue of moral concern, and Canadians want strong laws to protect vulnerable animals from sickening sexual abuse. The disturbing bestiality loophole can be closed with a simple, one-line amendment to the Criminal Code. It’s unacceptable that 18 months have passed without action, and I’m pleased that MP Rempel is taking steps to address the court ruling in D.L.W. and improve our laws.
“Animal Justice is hopeful that this will prompt the government to move swiftly to amend the Criminal Code to ensure animals are protected from all abuse.”
The text of MP Rempel’s bill can be found here.
The R. v. D.L.W. decision, (2016) 1 SCR 402, can be found here.
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