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Parliamentary Committee Supports Animal Justice’s Changes to Bestiality & Animal Fighting Laws

Animal Justice February 22, 2019

The House of Commons Justice Committee approved changes proposed by Animal Justice to Bill C-84, an animal cruelty bill that would improve laws related to bestiality and animal fighting.

Bill C-84 would make all sexual abuse of animals illegal. Currently, non-penetrative sexual contact with animals is not a criminal offence, in the wake of a shocking Supreme Court decision in 2016. But originally, the bill didn’t give judges the ability to ban a person convicted of bestiality from owning or residing with animals in the future. Animal Justice proposed this amendment earlier this month while testifying before the Justice Committee, and and Members of Parliament unanimously adopted this critical change at a meeting this week.

Animal Justice also encouraged the Justice Committee to repeal a provision of Canada’s animal fighting laws that imposed an automatic death sentence for birds rescued from a cockfighting ring. Animal Justice told the Committee that birds forced to fight deserve our compassion, and should be assessed as individuals to see if they can receive veterinary attention and be sent to live in the care of an animal sanctuary. The Justice Committee approved this change as well, potentially saving hundreds or even thousands of innocent birds from unfair execution.

Now, Bill C-84 will move back to the House of Commons for a final vote, and will then be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

Animal Justice executive director Camille Labchuk and board member Peter Sankoff testified before the Justice Committee in support of Bill C-84, and we are grateful to committee members from all political parties who worked together to strengthen this legislation by accepting our amendments. However, Canada’s animal cruelty laws still fall very far behind the rest of the western world, and Animal Justice will keep fighting for stronger laws that better reflect Canadian values of compassion and respect for animals.

 

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Photo: Sandy Sharkey Photography

Animal Justice

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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!

 

 

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Animal Justice

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