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Senate Moves to Include Whale Captivity & Shark Fin Ban in Government Fisheries Bill

Animal Justice May 15, 2019

The Canadian government is taking firm steps to ensure that whale captivity and the shark fin trade are banned before the next election.

Senator Peter Harder, government representative in the Senate, introduced amendments at the Senate Fisheries Committee this week to Bill C-68, government fisheries legislation. The amendments incorporate a whale and dolphin captivity ban, which is also proposed in Bill S-203, and a ban on the trade of shark fins, which is also proposed in Bill S-238. Both of these private members bills have received considerable support from Canadians, and are currently being considered by the House of Commons. However, time is running out for the House of Commons to pass the bills before the end of June, when Parliament wraps up and election season begins.

By including these protections for whales, dolphins, and sharks in Bill C-68, the government fisheries bill, there is an even stronger chance that these important measures will become law before the parliamentary session ends.

Once Bill C-68 clears the Senate Fisheries Committee, it will be debated and voted on by the Senate, and will then be re-approved by the House of Commons.

Animal Justice applauds the government for its efforts to make sure cruel whale and dolphin captivity is outlawed, and that the brutal trade in shark fin products is eliminated in Canada.

 

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Bill to Outlaw Bestiality & Animal Fighting Passes House of Commons Vote

Animal Justice May 9, 2019

The House of Commons voted unanimously on Wednesday to pass Bill C-84, government legislation that would outlaw all forms of bestiality, and close loopholes related to animal fighting.

Bill C-84 was introduced last year in response to the 2016 Supreme Court case of R v DLW, which found that Canada’s laws are so outdated that most forms of bestiality are not currently illegal. Animal Justice intervened in the case to fight on behalf of animals, and has been pushing for action to close the disturbing bestiality loophole ever since then.

Now, Bill C-84 will go to the Senate for further debate, study, and voting. The end of the Parliamentary session is only weeks away, and if the Senate doesn’t pass the bill before the end of June, it will die when Parliament rises for the summer break and fall election.

In addition to outlawing all forms of bestiality, the legislation also improves laws against animal fighting. Animal Justice testified in support of Bill C-84 at the House of Commons Justice Committee, and made two recommendations that the Committee ultimately accepted—to allow judges to ban bestiality offenders from owning animals, and to eliminate a mandatory death sentence currently imposed on roosters rescued from cockfighting rings.

Although Bill C-84 is a step in the right direction, it is narrow in scope and is only a small effort toward improving Canada’s outdated animal cruelty laws. During the debate that preceded the House of Commons vote, representatives from all parties repeatedly highlighted the importance of protecting animals, improving Canada’s legal protections for animals, and advancing animal rights more generally. Many MPs pushed the government to uphold its promise to overhaul Canada’s animal cruelty laws, and spoke in support of striking an all-party committee to examine the issue.

As Liberal MP Anthony Housefather stated during the debate, “Animal cruelty laws in Canada need to be vastly improved. We have laws that were adopted in the 1890s, slightly amended in the 1950s and they have unfortunately not been radically revamped in the world we live in today where most of us recognize that animals should not be treated as pure property. Animals are sentient beings. Animals can suffer. Most animals have the ability to know whether they are feeling pain. Today, our animal cruelty laws are, unfortunately, many years behind the times.”

 

 

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Court Strikes Down Ontario SPCA Law Enforcement Regime as Unconstitutional

Animal Justice January 3, 2019

OTTAWA—An Ontario court has struck down the province’s animal protection law enforcement regime, declaring that it is unconstitutional for the Ontario SPCA—as a private charity not subject to reasonable oversight measures—to enforce public animal protection laws. The Superior Court decision was released yesterday in Bogaerts v. Attorney General of Ontario, a constitutional challenge to Ontario’s provincial animal welfare laws and the way they are enforced.

The decision recognized a new principle of fundamental justice, declaring that under section 7 the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it is unconstitutional for the province to assign police and other investigative powers to a law enforcement agency not subject to reasonable standards of transparency and accountability. The Ontario SPCA is not subject to freedom of information laws or the Police Services Act that apply to other law enforcement bodies.

Animal Justice, a national animal law organization, intervened in the case to argue that enforcement agencies must be accountable and transparent to ensure animals benefit from legal protections. Animal Justice shared many of the applicant’s concerns over the transparency, oversight, and accountability of animal law enforcement. The court agreed with Animal Justice’s contention, noting, “Overall, the OSPCA appears to be an organization that operates in a way that is shielded from public view while at the same time fulfilling clearly public functions. As stated by the intervener, although charged with law enforcement responsibilities, the OSPCA is opaque, insular, unaccountable, and potentially subject to external influence, and as such Ontarians cannot be confident that the laws it enforces will be fairly and impartially administered.”

The Court suspended the declaration of invalidity for 12 months to give the province time to devise a new animal protection regime, stating it would be “an untenable result” if a void of enforcement compromised animal protection even for a transitional period.

The Court also considered whether Ontario SPCA search and seizure powers were too broad, and whether provincial animal protection offences are truly criminal in nature and fall outside provincial jurisdiction, but found that powers and jurisdiction were both appropriate. In particular, the court adopted Animal Justice’s argument that search and seizure powers must be robust because of the importance of protecting animals, who are often kept behind closed doors and cannot report abuse themselves.

“Animal protection laws are the only laws still enforced by private agencies, and the court ruled that private enforcement without transparency and accountability is unacceptable,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice.” Animal Justice’s key concern is ensuring an accountable, well-funded enforcement system that protects animals to the maximum extent possible. The province of Ontario will now have an opportunity to revisit provincial animal law enforcement, and Animal Justice will support a system that puts animals first.”

The case was argued on May 16, 2018 in Perth, Ontario. Animal Justice was represented by lawyers Arden Beddoes of Arvay Finlay LLP, and Benjamin Oliphant of Gall Legge Grant Zwack LLP. It is unknown whether the decision will be appealed.

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The decision in Bogaerts v Attorney General of Ontario 2019 ONSC 41 can be found here.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

 

 

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  • Huawei CFO suing Canada over December arrest

    by on March 4, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Huawei CFO suing Canada over December arrestThe lawyers for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou are suing the Canadian government, its border agency and federal police, alleging their client was detained, searched and interrogated for three hours in violation of her constitutional rights. Canada arrested Meng in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States, which has brought sweeping charges against her and China's Huawei Technologies Co that portray the company as a threat to U.S. national security. Meng was charged with bank and wire fraud to violate American sanctions against Iran.


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  • Iran says British Hezbollah ban 'irresponsible'

    by on March 3, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Iran says British Hezbollah ban 'irresponsible'Britain said Monday it would seek to make membership of the Shiite movement or inviting support for it a crime. The decision followed outrage over the display of the Hezbollah flag, which features a Kalashnikov assault rifle, at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London. "Iran considers Hezbollah a legitimate and legal force which plays an effective and undeniable role in helping its country’s political stability and safeguarding its security," the foreign ministry said on its website.


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  • Trump budget seeks 5 percent cut in non-defense spending: OMB

    by on March 11, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Trump budget seeks 5 percent cut in non-defense spending: OMBThe Republican president's proposal, slated for release at 11:30 a.m. (1530 GMT) on the Office of Management and Budget's website, is expected to be the first volley in this year's bitter funding fight with Congress, which has control over federal purse strings. Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate immediately panned Trump's request for $8.6 billion to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, reported by Reuters earlier on Sunday. Congress' refusal to grant him the funds led Trump to declare a national emergency so he could redirect funds approved for other purposes to the project.


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  • Chelsea Manning jailed for refusal to testify in WikiLeaks case

    by on March 10, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Chelsea Manning jailed for refusal to testify in WikiLeaks caseChelsea Manning, who spent more than three years in prison for leaking US military secrets to WikiLeaks, was jailed again Friday for refusing to testify in a grand jury investigation targeting the anti-secrecy group. US District Judge Claude Hilton ruled Manning in contempt of court and ordered her held not as punishment but to force her testimony in the secret case, according to a spokesman for the US attorney in the Alexandria, Virginia federal court. "Chelsea Manning has been remanded into federal custody for her refusal to provide testimony," said a statement from the Sparrow Project, a support group for Manning.


    Animal and Pet News

  • Brucie the Tri-pod

    by on February 25, 2019 - 0 Comments

    SCARS' newest tri-pod wasn't going to let an injury hold him back.  Brucie came from a rural pound in northern Alberta.  Animal control was concerned about one of his front legs.  He was not using it and it was covered in sores.  Brucie was picked up and went straight to the vet, we were

    The post Brucie the Tri-pod appeared first on Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

    Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

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