By Peter Sankoff, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta Camille Labchuk, Director of Legal Advocacy, Animal Justice Canada
Earlier this month, Quebec tabled new animal protection legislation that makes it the first jurisdiction in Canada to recognize that animals are sentient beings with biological needs. Although this fact will seem obvious to anyone who has ever lived with an animal, stating it so boldly marks a major symbolic change for the law.
Still, in order to address the ongoing plight of animal suffering in Canada, symbolism is no longer enough. The biggest barrier to protecting our animals isn’t existing legislation, it’s the refusal to get serious about enforcing the animal protection laws we already have. In short, we need a change in mindset for those tasked with investigating and prosecuting these offences, and an infusion of resources to ensure that animals get the protection our laws say they deserve.