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Animal Justice Seeks to Intervene in Legal Challenge to Ontario Animal Protection Laws

Animal Justice April 19, 2018

Media Advisory

PERTH, Ontario—National animal law non-profit Animal Justice will ask an Ontario court tomorrow for permission to intervene in a lawsuit that attempts to strike down key aspects of provincial animal welfare laws.

Where: Superior Court of Justice, 43 Drummond Street East, Perth, Ontario
When: Friday, April 20th, 10 am
Who: Animal Justice, represented by executive director Camille Labchuk

The case, Bogaerts v. Attorney General of Ontario, is a constitutional challenge to Ontario’s provincial animal welfare legislation and its enforcement. Specifically, the applicant is asking the court to rule that:

  • granting police powers to the Ontario SPCA, a private charity, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because the Ontario SPCA is not subject to transparency, oversight, and accountability measures that apply to other law enforcement agencies;
  • search and seizure powers used to protect animals and investigate animal welfare offences are too broad, violate the Charter, and should be struck down; and
  • animal protection offences in provincial law are criminal in nature and fall outside provincial powers, thus unlawfully intruding on federal jurisdiction.

Animal Justice is seeking to intervene because the case has wide-ranging implications for the millions of animals in Ontario confined in farms, fur farms, zoos, and aquariums. The case could also have national ramifications, potentially affecting the validity of animal protection laws and enforcement in other provinces.

If granted leave to intervene, Animal Justice will argue that animals must be protected to the maximum extent possible under the law. To that end, Animal Justice shares many of the applicant’s concerns oger the transparency, oversight, and accountability of animal law enforcement. However, Animal Justice believes that broad search and seizure powers are necessary in the unique context of protecting animals, who are often kept behind closed doors and cannot report illegal abuse themselves.

Animal Justice is represented by lawyers Arden Beddoes of Arvay Finlay LLP, and Benjamin Oliphant of Gall Legge Grant Zwack LLP. Animal Justice’s executive director Camille Labchuk will appear in court tomorrow on behalf of the organization.

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More information about Bogaerts v Attorney General of Ontario is available on a website maintained by the applicant, found here.

Animal Justice’s application to intervene is available upon request.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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Over 800 Million Animals Were Killed for Food in 2017 in Canada

Animal Justice April 18, 2018

OTTAWA—Data released by the federal government and analyzed by Animal Justice shows that over 800 million farmed animals were killed in Canadian slaughterhouses last year. This record-breaking figure is a steady increase over previous years, up from 771 million in 2016 and 750 million in 2015.

The growth is largely because Canadians are switching to chicken and away from beef and pork because of health concerns. Chickens are much smaller animals, so it takes many more of them to meet the demand for meat previously absorbed by larger cows and pigs.

However, a large body of evidence demonstrates that diets rich in animal foods and low in plant-based foods have negative health consequences. Predominantly plant-based diets that include legumes (such as beans, lentils, and tofu) are associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, and obesity, and with increased longevity.

In 2016—the most recent year for which data is available—Canadians consumed 87.56 kilograms of meat per capita (this figure includes food waste). Globally, according to the OECD, this number is only 34.3 kilograms. The OECD also points out that the global meat industry “has significant environmental and health consequences for the planet.”

Paradoxically, the number of vegans and people choosing to consume less meat continues to grow, especially among young people.

“As Canadians become more aware of the negative impacts of the meat industry on animal welfare, the environment, and our own health, our first step is often to replace red meats with chicken,” said lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice. “However, many don’t realize that this trend is actually worse for animals. Since chickens are so small, it takes many more of them to satisfy our intense demand for inexpensive meat. On modern Canadian farms, chickens endure heartbreaking cruelty from birth to death. Genetically selected to grow so quickly, many become lame, separated from their families, confined indoors for their entire lives, and ultimately killed at a fraction of their natural lifespan.”

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For more information, contact:

Anna Pippus
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
apippus@animaljustice.ca

 

 

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Canada Killed More Than 800 Million Land Animals for Food in 2017

Animal Justice April 17, 2018

Slaughter reports from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada show we killed over 800,756,236 land animals for food in 2017—up from 771 million in 2016 and 750 million in 2015. The growth is mostly because more chickens are being killed for meat. This is in part due to population growth, but per capita consumption of chickens (including chickens eaten and lost to food waste) is also steadily rising.

Here are the numbers broken down by sector:

Meat chickens: 711,459,823
Egg-laying hens and breeding chickens: 36,580,473
Turkeys: 20,248,949
Ducks and geese: 6,428,062
Pigs: 20,728,785 (federally) 864,871 (provincially)
Adult cows (dairy and meat): 2,831,766 (federally) 151,484 (provincially)
Calves: 199,409 (federally) 36,640 (provincially)
Sheeps and lambs: 170,576 (federally) 371,516 (provincially)
Goats: 68,709
Bisons: 9,369 (federally) 1,517 (provincially)
Rabbits: 604,287

But these numbers don’t paint the full picture. The government concealed horse slaughter numbers this year, so tens of thousands of horses killed are likely not accounted for here.

The numbers also don’t include aquatic animals, whose deaths aren’t tracked. However, we do know that last year we killed 160,054 tonnes of farmed finned fish (e.g., salmon and trout), accounting for millions of individual lives.

Deers, elks, and wild boars are also killed in Canadian slaughterhouses but no data is available.

Animals killed by the animal agriculture industry outside of slaughterhouses are also not accounted for, including the male chicks killed at birth in hatcheries ,and the millions of animals who die prematurely of illnesses and injuries on farms and during transport.

 

Photo courtesy of Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

 

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