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Nova Scotia Makes History by Banning Cat Declawing and Other Mutilations

Animal Justice October 3, 2018

The province of Nova Scotia passed strong new animal protection legislation this week, becoming the first province in the country to make cat declawing illegal. The new laws also put an end to tail docking, ear cropping, devocalizing dogs, and other cruel and unnecessary cosmetic surgeries on companion animals.

Nova Scotia’s veterinary association amended its code of ethics to prevent vets from declawing cats. The new provincial law passed this week is an even stronger measure, as it makes cat declawing illegal across the province for both animal guardians and veterinarians. Those who declaw cats or otherwise mutilate animals for cosmetic reasons could face up to six months in jail and a $25,000 fine for a first offence.

The new legislation also gives provincial animal welfare inspectors enhanced powers to inspect facilities where animals are being used, and powers to demand that a person produce an animal so inspectors can ensure the animal’s well-being.

Countries and jurisdictions around the world are banning unnecessary cosmetic surgeries on animals, a position supported by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. In Canada, it’s now illegal to crop dogs’ ears and tails in PEI and Nova Scotia. Veterinary associations in British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick also prohibit vets from performing the practice. British Columbia veterinarians are also barred from declawing cats, and Manitoba veterinarians are considering banning the practice.

Despite a growing consensus that mutilating animals for human aesthetic preferences should be outlawed, the so-called “breed standards” published by the Canadian Kennel Club still call for dogs’ body parts to be sliced off. Many dog breeders will attach tight elastic bands to the tails of newborn puppies, cutting off blood flow and killing the appendage. Dog breeders fought against the Nova Scotia legislation so they could continue to cut off dogs’ tails and ears to fit artificial breed standards.

Animal Justice applauds the Nova Scotia government for passing this landmark legislation!

 

 

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Animal Justice Urges Government to Fund Animal Testing Alternatives & Plant-Based Food

Animal Justice August 9, 2018

Animal Justice is urging the federal government to fund innovative industries that save the lives of animals by creating humane, animal-free products. Specifically, Animal Justice is asking the government to invest in developing alternatives to animal testing, and invest in growing Canada’s burgeoning plant-based food sector.

The federal government is currently consulting on 2019 federal budget priorities, focused on economic growth and ensuring Canada’s competitiveness. Animal Justice’s submission, filed last week, suggests opportunities that improve life for animals while supporting animal-friendly economic opportunities.

Animal Justice is seeking funding for the new Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM). The first of its kind in Canada, CCAAM was set up at the University of Windsor in 2017, and has a mandate to develop and promote scientific research, teaching, and toxicity testing methods that do not require the use of animals.

Canadian researchers used over 4.3 million animals in cruel experiments in 2016, an increase of over 20% from 2015. Conventional medical research relies heavily on animal models of disease, even though it is difficult to reliably translate results in animals over to human patients because of significant biological differences between humans and other animals. Scientists around the world are already at work developing animal-free methods because they are more reliable, accurate, and cost-effective. Not only do these animal-free alternatives spare millions of animals from death and suffering, they also represent a significant economic opportunity for Canada as the field grows.

Animal Justice is also asking the government to invest in the plant-based food industry, which is growing at an astonishing rate. People are incorporating more plant-based food products in their diets to protect animals, human health, and the environment. A preliminary draft of Canada’s new Food Guide, released in 2017, also suggests a shift toward recommending that Canadians eat more plant-based foods.

The global meat alternatives market is valued at $4.33 billion and is expected to reach $6.43 billion by 2023. Meanwhile, the global plant-based milk market is set to reach $16.3 billion by the end of 2018.

The federal government has already recognized the economic potential of the plant-based sector, investing $150 million in the industry through the Innovation Superclusters Initiative in 2017.

Canada is already one of the largest producers of flaxseed, canola, oats, and durum wheat, and the third largest producer and exporter of pulses, with the highest yields in the world. With further government investment, Canada is well-positioned to become a powerhouse in the field of plant-based protein. The exponential growth of the plant-based market promises to create a more profitable and competitive economy for Canada, as well as ensuring long-term sustainability in the changing economic landscape.

Have your say! Contact your Member of Parliament to urge them to include animal-friendly initiatives in the 2019 federal budget.

 

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Animal Justice Files Animal Cruelty Complaint Over University of Calgary Research Lab

Animal Justice August 7, 2018

CALGARY – National animal law non-profit Animal Justice has filed a complaint with the Calgary Humane Society over shocking animal cruelty alleged to have occurred at a University of Calgary psychology research laboratory.

According to a news report, multiple former students have come forward to blow the whistle on disturbing experiments conducted in an addiction research laboratory supervised by assistant professor Devran Lovic. The whistleblowers allege that rats were improperly anesthetized, causing multiple rats to wake up during surgery. On at least one occasion, researchers allegedly continued to perform surgery on a conscious rat, restraining the distressed animal with a surgical pad while his back and neck were cut open.

Lovic has been on leave since December 2017, and the University apparently shut down his laboratory in March.

“Slicing open live, conscious rats is a clear violation of both federal and provincial animal cruelty laws, and that’s why authorities must investigate the University of Calgary and prosecute this shocking mistreatment,” said animal rights lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “It is illegal to perform surgery on an animal without appropriately administering anesthesia, and researchers have a legal obligation to ensure rats spared discomfort during the entire surgical period. It’s heartbreaking to think of the horrific trauma these rats would have endured when they regained consciousness during painful, invasive surgery.”

Animal Justice is also criticizing the University of Calgary’s response to the troubling allegations, and is calling on the University to come clean and release publicly any documents associated with the experiments in question.

Federally, Canada has the weakest laws in the western world for protecting animals used in research. Unlike in other countries, here are no federal laws, no inspectors, no public inspection reports, and no way for the public to effectively oversee the secretive activities of animal researchers. Instead, there are only voluntary guidelines created and overseen by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), a non-profit with no legal authority. The CCAC can recommend that the federal granting agencies withdraw research funding from a non-compliant institution. There is no evidence that this has ever occurred or that funding has ever been withheld.

However, Alberta’s provincial Animal Protection Act makes it mandatory for researchers to comply with CCAC guidelines. The CCAC’s Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals states that appropriate anesthesia, proper instrumentation and competent pre- and post-operative care are all essential to the welfare of the experimental animal. It requires that all surgical procedures are to be carried out under anesthesia; that those doing surgery have an obligation to be aware of the efficiency of the anesthetic technique being used; and that it is the responsibility of the surgeon and anesthetist to ensure that this animal is spared discomfort during the entire peri-operative period. Failing to comply with these measures is illegal.

Animal Justice is also calling on the CCAC to recommend that funding be withheld from the institution for failing to comply with CCAC guidelines.

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The Canadian Council on Animal Care Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals can be found here.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

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