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Animal Justice Troubled by Animal Cruelty Charges Against City of Edmonton

Animal Justice October 26, 2018

EDMONTON – National animal law non-profit Animal Justice is deeply troubled by animal cruelty charges laid earlier this month against the City of Edmonton after the deaths of three cats.

According to news reports, the City of Edmonton, the director of the city’s Animal Care and Control Centre, and three other staff are all facing charges under the provincial Animal Welfare Act of allowing an animal to be in distress. The charges carry a maximum fine of $20,000 and a lifetime ban on having custody of an animal.

The charges allegedly stem from an incident that took place on May 18, 2018. According to news reports, three cats were transported in a rubbermaid container and subsequently died. Several months later, in July, the Alberta SPCA received a complaint over the incident. The Alberta SPCA apparently laid charges on October 5, and the accused will appear in court on December 12.

“It’s incredibly disturbing that a government agency entrusted with helping vulnerable animals is now facing very serious charges for harming three cats,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “We are troubled that while the City held a press conference on Thursday afternoon, it refused to elaborate on the circumstances that led to the cats’ dying.”

“It is relatively rare for such a large group of individuals to face charges, including the City and management,” said professor Peter Sankoff, law professor at the University of Alberta and a director with Animal Justice. “There are many unanswered questions, and the public urgently deserves more information about the details of this incident. Was this a systemic issue? What happened between May, when the incident occurred, and July, when the Alberta SPCA received an independent complaint? What type of internal investigation was conducted and who was notified? Why did the public not learn of this incident sooner?”

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For more information, contact:

Peter Sankoff
Board of Directors, Animal Justice
Professor of Law, University of Alberta
psankoff@ualberta.ca

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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Animal Justice Gala Celebrates 10 Years of Saving Animals

Animal Justice June 14, 2018

On June 8, 2018 Animal Justice celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a glamorous gala at The Burroughes in downtown Toronto. This inspirational evening included a blue carpet entrance and photo backdrop, an memorable program, fabulous vegan food, and a rooftop after-party with views of the CN Tower. Guests included many of Canada’s most notable animal advocates, animal-friendly business owners, prominent chefs Doug McNish and Amy Symington, and Members of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and Will Amos.


The gala kicked off with a stylish cocktail reception, featuring delicious hors d’oeuvres, mouth-watering vegan cheese from local companies Vegan Stokes Cheese and Nuts for Cheese, and wine from vegan-certified winery Karlo Estates.


After mingling at the reception, guests were ushered into the main hall for a delicious three-course dinner and unforgettable program, hosted by emcee and Animal Justice board member Kimberly Carroll. Guests were treated to the premiere of an inspirational, no-dry-eyes film showcasing the incredible work of Animal Justice and its lawyers over the last decade. Founder Nick Wright then addressed attendees, explaining what it was like in the early days of Animal Justice and describing the organization’s amazing growth.


After a decadent dessert prepared by Chef Amy Symington, Animal Justice honoured some remarkable individuals and business with awards for their work on behalf of animals.

2018 Pro Bono Award – Ecojustice

Ecojustice is Canada’s leading environmental law charity, and represented Animal Justice in a lawsuit against the Ontario government to protect threatened and endangered species. Thanks to the work of the brilliant legal team at Ecojustice, the lawsuit got action on creating recovery strategies for 37 at-risk species. Ecojustice lawyers Amir Attaran and Sarah McDonald accepted the award.
 

2018 Legislator Award – MP Michelle Rempel

Conservative Michelle Rempel was honoured for introducing a bill to protect animals from sickening sexual abuse. Animal Justice is proud to have worked with MP Rempel on this legislation, and applauds her commitment to improving Canada’s animal protection laws. MP Rempel’s legislative affairs manager Bari Miller kindly accepted the award on her behalf.

 

2018 Legislative Advocacy Award – Navigator & Ensight

Andrew Balfour of Navigator and Caitlin King of Ensight were honoured for assisting Animal Justice in the fight to pass a national ban on whale and dolphin captivity. Their continued efforts to support this groundbreaking legislation have been crucial in helping Senate Bill S-203 swim through the legislative process.
 

2018 Compassionate Brand Award – Wully Outerwear

Wully Outerwear creates cruelty-free luxury outerwear designed for the harsh Canadian climate, all without the use of fur or down. Wully’s brand of compassionate fashion is taking the world by storm—fur trim, beware! Wully founder James Yurichuk accepted the award.

 

2018 Media Award – Jessica Scott-Reid

Jessica Scott-Reid’s prolific journalism has shone a spotlight on animals, and she publishes regular opinion columns in major national newspapers and magazines. From Drake’s move to a meat-free diet, to undercover investigations, to the crooked ploys of the farming industry, Jessica’s written words are raising the national profile of animal issues.

Finally, Animal Justice’s executive director Camille Labchuk took the stage. In a passionate and inspiring speech, Camille invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” and reminded guests that the animal advocacy movement is now taking on animal abusers and winning justice for animals. She remarked, “Our first ten years were about getting through the door to the courtrooms, and getting legislatures to take us seriously. But now we’re in! And together, we’re going to blow the roof off of this house.”

The program finished off with a high-energy fundraising round led by Camille and Nick Wright. Thanks to the generosity of guests, the gala raised over $47,000 to help animals!

The evening continued with a roof-top after party, where guests were treated to a sky full of stars, and views of the vivid Toronto skyline.

Animal Justice thanks each and every guest, our fabulous host committee, staff, and volunteers, and our generous sponsors, including Vegan Stokes Cheese, Nuts for Cheese, Gartner & Associates Animal Law, Hearty Catering, the Stanford Inn, Toltec House, Karlo Estates, Bantr Media, BIO RAW, Flower City Soap Company, Bhanda Bar, Anderson’s Interior Design, and Gardener Dental Group.


Couldn’t make it to the gala but still want to help Animal Justice represent animals in court? Click here to make a gift today!

Animal Justice

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Ontario to Provide Public Updates on Recovery Strategies for 37 At-Risk Species

Animal Justice May 8, 2018

TORONTO—Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) will begin providing public updates on progress made in developing recovery strategies for dozens of at-risk species, the Ministry announced alongside Ecojustice and Animal Justice today.

The quarterly updates will be made publicly available on the Ontario.ca website and will provide information on progress towards developing recovery strategies for 37 at-risk species, including the northern bobwhite, black redhorse, gypsy cuckoo bumble bee, Kentucky coffee-tree, and other mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and plants.

The move comes as a result of settlement negotiations between Animal Justice (represented by lawyers from Ecojustice) and the Ministry, arising out of an application for judicial review brought by Animal Justice.

The application sought to ensure that the Ministry created and released recovery strategies for at-risk species, as called for by Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Pursuant to the settlement, Animal Justice and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have agreed that the Ministry will create and release a timetable forecasting steps for the development of recovery strategies for the 37 species at risk named in the application.

The timetable will be updated every calendar quarter with information reflecting the latest progress made in developing recovery strategies for the 37 species at risk.

Recovery strategies provide scientific advice on how to ensure that healthy numbers of each species return to Ontario.

Animal Justice and the MNRF share a commitment to the effective implementation of the Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Quotes:

“I am pleased that Ontario will be enhancing transparency and sharing public updates on our collaboration with federal partners to complete recovery strategies for these 37 species. I am proud of my ministry’s ongoing commitment to protecting species at risk, and the many accomplishments that it has made in implementing the Endangered Species Act, 2007 including completing recovery strategies for 127 species at risk.”

Nathalie Des Rosiers
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“As the Endangered Species Act itself recognizes, species of animals, plants and other organisms are being lost throughout the world at an alarming rate due to human activities. Animal Justice applauds the Ministry’s commitment to transparency in the development of recovery strategies, which are critical to healthy wild animal and plant populations in Ontario. It is more important than ever before for Ontario to do our part to protect vulnerable animals and other species from disappearing forever.”

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director and lawyer, Animal Justice

“We applaud the Ministry’s move towards greater transparency in its efforts to protect species in Ontario. The quarterly updates will be an important tool for the public, organizations like Ecojustice and Animal Justice, and for the Ministry to continue working collaboratively to ensure the recovery of these 37 species.”

Amir Attaran and Josh Ginsberg
Lawyers, Ecojustice law clinic at the University of Ottawa

Quick Facts:

  • Coming into force in 2008, Ontario’s Endangered Species Act will mark its 10th anniversary this year
  • Under the Act, species can be listed as “endangered, threatened, special concern or extirpated”
  • Under section 11 of the Act, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry shall ensure that recovery strategies are prepared within one year from the time of listing for an endangered species, and within two years for threatened species, except as provided for under the Act
  • There is on-going collaboration between Ontario and the federal government in the development of recovery strategies
  • To date, Ontario has published recovery strategies for 127 species at risk. 37 recovery strategies remained to be published at the time of the application

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Additional Resources:

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

 

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