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Nova Scotia Makes History by Banning Cat Declawing and Other Mutilations

Animal Justice October 3, 2018

The province of Nova Scotia passed strong new animal protection legislation this week, becoming the first province in the country to make cat declawing illegal. The new laws also put an end to tail docking, ear cropping, devocalizing dogs, and other cruel and unnecessary cosmetic surgeries on companion animals.

Nova Scotia’s veterinary association amended its code of ethics to prevent vets from declawing cats. The new provincial law passed this week is an even stronger measure, as it makes cat declawing illegal across the province for both animal guardians and veterinarians. Those who declaw cats or otherwise mutilate animals for cosmetic reasons could face up to six months in jail and a $25,000 fine for a first offence.

The new legislation also gives provincial animal welfare inspectors enhanced powers to inspect facilities where animals are being used, and powers to demand that a person produce an animal so inspectors can ensure the animal’s well-being.

Countries and jurisdictions around the world are banning unnecessary cosmetic surgeries on animals, a position supported by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. In Canada, it’s now illegal to crop dogs’ ears and tails in PEI and Nova Scotia. Veterinary associations in British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick also prohibit vets from performing the practice. British Columbia veterinarians are also barred from declawing cats, and Manitoba veterinarians are considering banning the practice.

Despite a growing consensus that mutilating animals for human aesthetic preferences should be outlawed, the so-called “breed standards” published by the Canadian Kennel Club still call for dogs’ body parts to be sliced off. Many dog breeders will attach tight elastic bands to the tails of newborn puppies, cutting off blood flow and killing the appendage. Dog breeders fought against the Nova Scotia legislation so they could continue to cut off dogs’ tails and ears to fit artificial breed standards.

Animal Justice applauds the Nova Scotia government for passing this landmark legislation!

 

 

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Thousands of Animals Burn Alive at Van Boekel Farm, of #PigTrial Fame

Animal Justice May 29, 2018

Van Boekel Farms has a habit of getting itself in the news.

In 1994, the family pig farming business and its owner—Eric Van Boekel—were convicted for spilling manure into waterways, damaging the water and surrounding environment. Then, in 2011, they were convicted again, for seven offences under the Ontario Water Resources Act, Environmental Protection Act and Nutrient Management Act. Eric Van Boekel was sentenced to 30 days in jail, ordered to pay $345,000 in fines plus a 25% victim surcharge, and put on probation for two years. On appeal, the sentence was reduced.

Then, in 2015, Van Boekel famously reported Save Movement activist Anita Krajnc to police for giving water to panting, heat-stressed pigs aboard his transport truck on a hot summer’s day. Krajnc was charged with mischief and later acquitted, but not before the case put the entire pig industry on trial. Among other revelations, the cross examination of Van Boekel’s driver revealed that pigs go into distress during transport, that technology is available to cool them but it isn’t being used, and that he was unaware of animal welfare laws with which he was supposed to be compliant.

Now, Van Boekel’s Oxford County barn has burned down with 3000 sows and an “undetermined number of other pigs” trapped inside. Although the OPP say the fire is not suspicious, the Ontario Fire Marshal has been called in to investigate.

Most buildings in Canada must follow strict fire safety rules, but farm buildings with “low human occupancy” don’t. Modern farms can contain tens of thousands of animals whose ability to experience physical pain and emotional suffering is no different than our own, but because human occupancy is the standard, very few fire safety requirements exist to protect them.

Tragically for animals, farm buildings are dangerous, and fire hazards and disaster is inevitable. Animals are trapped inside, with no escape route. There are no fire detection or extinguishing systems in place, like sprinklers. Farm buildings are usually in rural areas, far from fire hydrants, fire stations, and have volunteer firefighters who respond from home. Wiring and electrical equipment is easily damaged by rodents and rampant indoor air pollution. Barns are often filled with flammable straw and wood, flammable gases from animal waste, and dangerous equipment like heat lamps. Despite the extreme risk to animals, fire safety inspections, and prevention plans still aren’t mandatory.

So it’s not really a surprise that between January 2015 and November 2017, more than 470,000 farmed animals burned alive on Canadian farms. It’s clear that the farming industry is unwilling or incapable of taking action to curb the epidemic of animals burning alive in barn fires. That’s why we need the National Farm Building Code to factor in animal protection, to force fire standards into place for farmed animals.

Please take action by contacting your local MP and asking them to protect animals from dying in horrific barn fires!

 

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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

 

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  • Carjacking suspect guns down three police officers in Chicago police station shoot out

    by on July 31, 2020 - 0 Comments

    Carjacking suspect guns down three police officers in Chicago police station shoot outA carjacking suspect who had already been arrested shot three Chicago police officers as they attempted to escort him into custody on Thursday morning, authorities said.The gunman was being taken out of a patrol van and walked into Northwest Side police station at around 9.30am when he opened fire, hitting the officers.


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