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Animal Justice Seeks External Investigation After Cats Left in Vehicle for 22 Days by Edmonton Humane Society

Animal Justice June 5, 2018

EDMONTON – National animal law organization Animal Justice is seeking an independent external investigation into an incident that occurred at the Edmonton Humane Society. According to a statement issued by the Humane Society, it left three cats in a transport vehicle for 22 days between March 27 and April 18. When they were discovered, the cats were dehydrated, starving, and suffering from urine burns on their paws. They survived.

The incident appears to contravene the provincial Animal Protection Act, which prohibits causing distress to animals, and requires that animals be provided with adequate food, water, and shelter. The Animal Protection Act is a regulatory statute, meaning liability for a violation is assumed without proof that the person intended the consequences.

“No one doubts the Edmonton Humane Society’s commitment to animal protection, and their regret over this incident,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “However, serious questions remain. The Edmonton Humane Society is responsible for investigating animal neglect. It is an obvious conflict of interest for the Humane Society to investigate itself over an apparent violation of the laws it enforces. An external agency, such as the police, must be called in immediately to investigate and determine whether charges should be laid.”

“When police forces are alleged to have committed illegal acts, it is standard practice for external agencies to investigate to ensure investigative independence and police accountability. This serious incident requires much more than the private internal review that was conducted.

“More broadly, this incident highlights the troubling lack of public accountability when it comes to the enforcement of animal protection laws. Humane societies and SPCAs are private charities, yet are tasked with enforcing public laws with little oversight. In no other area of law enforcement does this model still exist.”

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For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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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

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Statement on Animal Cruelty Charges Against Ontario Pig Farmer

Animal Justice June 21, 2017

LONDON, ON—The Ontario SPCA has filed eight provincial animal cruelty charges against a pig farmer after more than 1,265 dead pigs were found in his flooded, manure-filled barn with no access to food. An additional 250 pigs were euthanized on-site.

The investigation followed a complaint of animal cruelty from a member of the public. According to a news release, a representative of Ontario Pork—the industry association that represents the interests of pig farmers—attended with law enforcement to inspect the property and animals.

Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy with Animal Justice, said: “When animals are used as commodities, they will be treated like commodities. This case demonstrates exactly what happens when we use smart, sentient animals for their instrumental value to us. Today’s farms are warehouses operated by business people producing meat, dairy, and eggs as quickly and as cheaply as possible.”

“The government does not regulate the treatment of animals on farms. This horrific case only came to light because a member of the public managed to see the suffering animals and was willing to come forward as a witness. Who knows how many more animals are suffering near-death in torturous conditions, concealed in windowless warehouses on private property. It’s a no-brainer that all commercial animal enterprises should be regulated by the government and regularly inspected.”

“It’s also concerning that Ontario Pork, which represents the interests of pig farmers, was present with law enforcement as they investigated the animal cruelty complaint. This is a clear conflict of interest. Farms may be tipped off to impending raids and laws may be enforced less stringently when industry interests are involved. Law enforcement bodies must be independent, especially from those who financially benefit when laws are enforced leniently.”

“The farmer should have been charged with criminal animal cruelty rather than the less serious provincial regulatory offences that he is now facing. Neglecting animals by trapping them without food in a flooded, manure-filled barn is unacceptable cruelty that deserves the strongest possible condemnation from our legal system.

“Our animal protection laws operate as a two-tier system: cats and dogs benefit from protection from cruelty while pigs, cows, and chickens are exposed to egregious suffering in the course of business-as-usual. Failing to lay criminal animal cruelty charges in clear cases like this one reinforces this problematic species discrimination.”

 

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For more information, contact:

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

Photo: Mercy For Animals

Animal Justice

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