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Vancouver Aquarium Forced to Give Up On Whale & Dolphin Captivity

Animal Justice January 18, 2018

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Aquarium announced today that it would give up on its decades-long fight to continue to imprison and display whales and dolphins in tiny tanks.

Camille Labchuk, a lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice, issued the following statement.

“The Vancouver Aquarium appears to have finally accepted that whale and dolphin captivity is no longer socially acceptable in Canada. Today’s announcement is a tremendous victory for the thousands of compassionate citizens who stood up against the cruel practice of keeping smart, sentient whales and dolphins imprisoned in tiny tanks.

“But the Aquarium’s new position comes extremely late in the game. For decades, the Aquarium has fought tooth and nail against attempts to restrict or prohibit whale and dolphin captivity at its facility. The Aquarium is now backing down from this fight, but only after years of being the target of protests, being embroiled in lawsuits, and hit with a ban on cetacean captivity imposed by Vancouver’s Park Board.

“The writing is on the wall for the whale and dolphin captivity industry. We are relieved that no more cetaceans will suffer and die at the Aquarium.”

The Aquarium recently lost a court case seeking to silence filmmaker Gary Charbonneau and his critical documentary Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered.

The Aquarium is still suing the Park Board in an attempt to overturn the anti-captivity by-law, claiming it restricts the Aquarium’s freedom of expression. Animal Justice intervened in that case, which has already been heard. The judge in that case is expected to issue a ruling shortly.

A bill moving through the Canadian Senate would impose a nation-wide ban on keeping whales and dolphins in captivity. It is expected to be voted on when Parliament resumes later this month.

Meanwhile, several whales and dolphins recently died at the Aquarium, including beluga whales Qila and Aurora in late 2016, porpoise Daisy in June, 2017, and false killer whale Chester in November, 2017. The only surviving cetacean at the Aquarium is a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen.

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For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

 

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Animals Must Have Access to Shelter, Says Animal Rights Lawyer 

Animal Justice December 19, 2017

TORBAY, NL—No enforcement action will be taken after a lone cow was witnessed tied up beside a house during a winter storm without shelter, water, and food. According to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), the owner had been delayed getting home due to “circumstances beyond his control” and he “took measures to provide adequate shelter upon his return.” The RNC concluded that no laws had been broken.

Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice, said: “Newfoundland law protects animals from neglect. It’s troubling that the RNC is communicating to the public that it’s legal to keep animals tied up in extreme weather with no shelter, food, or water. It isn’t. Even cows habituated to the cold require appropriate shelter from wind, extreme cold, and snow or other precipitation, and must have access to appropriate food and water. Anyone with animals under their care is legally required to ensure minimum standards are met at all times, including during personal delays. The RNC’s assertion that ‘adequate shelter’ was ‘later’ provided belies the truth: the cow’s shelter that stormy afternoon was inadequate.”

According to Rescue NL’s Facebook page, three severely neglected horses were observed on this same farm last spring.

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The original Facebook post showing the cow in a blizzard can be found here.

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

 

 

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Animal Justice Applauds MP Michelle Rempel’s Anti-Bestiality Bill

Animal Justice December 14, 2017

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.”

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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.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca
613-292-8360

 

Stay in touch by joining the Animal Justice mailing list!

Yes, I want to stay in touch! 

Animal Justice

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