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OSPCA Enforcement Powers Deemed Unconstitutional in New Court Ruling

Animal Justice January 4, 2019

After hearing arguments from Animal Justice lawyers, an Ontario court has ruled that animal law enforcement by the OSPCA—a private charity—is unconstitutional because the agency is not sufficiently accountable or transparent.

Animal Justice intervened in the case of Bogaerts v Attorney General of Ontario, a legal challenge to the OSPCA’s investigative and police powers that was heard in a courthouse in Perth, Ontario in May 2018. Animal Justice was in court to ensure the best interests of animals were front and centre.

Animal Justice has long been concerned that while the public cares deeply about animal protection, the government pushes responsibility for enforcing animal protection laws onto a private charity.

The OSPCA receives minimal funding and must fundraise to support its operations. Animal Justice pointed out that this itself could be a conflict of interest as the organization may receive donations from the very individuals it may be investigating.

The OSPCA is also not subject to reasonable transparency, accountability, or oversight like other public law enforcement agencies, such as the police. For example, police services legislation and freedom of information laws don’t apply to the OSPCA, nor is it subject to oversight by the Ombudsman.

Because of Animal Justice’s arguments on behalf of animals, the court recognized a new principle of fundamental justice: That an agency with police or investigative powers must be transparent and accountable, or it will not comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Ontario government now has an incredible opportunity to review animal law enforcement, and ensure in the best possible way that it will benefit and protect animals from cruelty. Animal protection laws are currently the only laws still enforced by a private agency, and we are hopeful the decision will acknowledge government responsibility to lead the way and adequately fund animal protection.

The court has given the province 12 months to introduce a new system. It is not yet clear whether the province will appeal the decision.

Thank you for standing by our side to ensure our lawyers can represent animals in court when they cannot speak for themselves. We’ll keep you updated on how the government moves forward after this legal outcome, and let you know how the province’s future decisions in this matter will affect animals.

 

 

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Victory! Bill to Ban Whale & Dolphin Captivity Passes the Senate

Animal Justice October 24, 2018

After nearly three years of delay and obstruction, a bill to ban keeping whales and dolphins in captivity has finally passed through the Canadian Senate. Senators voted to pass Bill S-203 late on Tuesday, and the legislation will now make its way to the House of Commons for further debate and voting. This groundbreaking legislation is now half-way to becoming law!

The legislation bans keeping whales and dolphins in captivity, breeding them, as well as import and export. There are exceptions for legitimate rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

Only two aquariums still imprison whales and dolphins in Canada—Marineland and the Vancouver Aquarium. The two aquariums fought the legislation at every stage, and pro-aquarium senators repeatedly attempted to kill, block, and delay Bill S-203. Most recently, Conservative Senate Whip Don Plett tried to amend the bill to exempt Marineland and the Vancouver Aquarium, which would have made the legislation meaningless. Senator Don Plett’s delay tactics were finally defeated on Tuesday, and at last the bill was allowed to come to a vote.

Animal Justice has been fighting to help pass this bill from the beginning. Bill S-203 enjoys broad public support from Canadians, and it was saved more than once by the incredible advocacy of people who emailed senators, made phone calls, and shared information about Bill S-203 on social media. In June 2017, the Senate email system was swamped by emails from the public when it looked like pro-aquarium senators were mobilizing to kill the bill.

Bill S-203 has also attracted support from politicians of all political stripes. Earlier this year, Members of Parliament from the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, and Greens joined Animal Justice and Humane Society International at a press conference to call for an end to Senate obstruction so the bill could move to the House of Commons.

Bill S-203 was first introduced in December 2015 by Senator Wilfred Moore. After Senator Moore’s retirement, it was sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair. Green Party leader Elizabeth May will sponsor the bill in the House of Commons.

Over a dozen other jurisdictions around the world have already banned keeping some or all cetaceans in tanks, including Mexico, France, South Carolina, and California. Ontario banned keeping orca whales in 2015, and the Vancouver Park Board voted to ban cetacean display and captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2017. The ban is now being challenged in court, but in the meantime, the Vancouver Aquarium publicly promised to end its practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity.

There is also hope for rescued whales and dolphins once the ban becomes law. The Whale Sanctuary Project plans to build a seaside sanctuary for retired whales and dolphins in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, or Washington, offering hope to creatures who have spent a life confined in miserable concrete tanks.

 

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Minister of Agriculture Admits Government Isn’t Enforcing Horse Protection Laws

Animal Justice July 24, 2018

Every year in Canada, thousands of draft horses are exported by air to Japan, where they will be slaughtered for meat. Draft horses are by nature large. When horses of this size are packed together in small crates, they are unable to stand properly or catch their balance if they fall. If they go down during flight, a common occurrence recognized by the CFIA, they are unable to get back up. Aggressive behaviours are also heightened when horses are confined and under high stress, making injuries far more likely.

Canadian law requires every horse over 14 hands in height to be segregated from all other animals during transport by air, and able to stand in a natural position without coming into contact with the roof. Draft horses are always over 14 hands in height. Despite being a clear violation of federal law, for many years, draft horses have been transported by air in crates of three to four with inadequate head room, exposing them to enormous suffering. This has been well-documented by activists.

In 2012, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition obtained Access to Information documents that revealed that three horses had died due to a landing accident. On an August 2, 2012 flight, six more horses died, “due to a combination of a substantial delay, the large size of the horses, and significant stress levels in the animals.” Another horse travelling from Calgary was found dead upon arrival, completely upside down in his crate. This past year, video footage taken from the Edmonton International Airport, showed roughly 90 horses crammed into wooden crates, waiting on the hot tarmac for seven hours before being loaded onto the plane. The video shows three to four horses per crate, with their ears visibly touching the ceiling.

According to veterinarian Dr. Judith Samson-French:

By virtue of their size and strength, larger horses can do very serious damage to one another if they not segregated and particularly if they are semi-feral/ feral horses such as are many of the ones being shipped to Japan for slaughter. It is my understanding that the majority of these horses are being raised on feedlots.

Now, the Minister of Agriculture has admitted that current regulations are not being enforced. According to the Minister, exporting groups of larger breeds of horses by air was “not foreseen” when the regulations were put in place. Therefore, the CFIA has created an policy to opt itself out of enforcing the regulations.

But in Canada, the law is the law, and it cannot be superseded by agency policies.

Please sign our petition to the CFIA and the Agriculture Minister to let them know their blatant disregard for the law at the expense of these horses is not acceptable!

 

 

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    by on May 28, 2019 - 0 Comments

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    The post Loppa (formerly Cece) appeared first on Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

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    The post Emergency Wabasca Wildfire Rescue appeared first on Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

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  • Israel to hold election rerun after coalition deadlock

    by on May 31, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Israel to hold election rerun after coalition deadlockIsrael's parliament voted early Thursday to hold new elections only months after April polls in an unprecedented move provoked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attempts to remain in power despite failing to form a coalition. The vote was prompted by Netanyahu's failure to reach a coalition deal even though his Likud party, along with its right-wing and religious allies, won a majority of 65 of 120 seats in the April 9 elections. In a matter of weeks, Netanyahu has shifted from victory celebrations to tense, behind-the-scenes efforts to ensure his long tenure in power continues, eventually opting for new elections.


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