On Monday, June 10, Canada passed Bill S-203, groundbreaking legislation to outlaw whale and dolphin captivity. Once the bill comes into effect, it will be a criminal offence to capture wild whales and dolphins from the ocean, confine them in tanks, breed them, or make them perform. The import or export of whales and dolphins… Read more » Animal Justice
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The House of Commons voted unanimously on Wednesday to pass Bill C-84, government legislation that would outlaw all forms of bestiality, and close loopholes related to animal fighting.
Bill C-84 was introduced last year in response to the 2016 Supreme Court case of R v DLW, which found that Canada’s laws are so outdated that most forms of bestiality are not currently illegal. Animal Justice intervened in the case to fight on behalf of animals, and has been pushing for action to close the disturbing bestiality loophole ever since then.
Now, Bill C-84 will go to the Senate for further debate, study, and voting. The end of the Parliamentary session is only weeks away, and if the Senate doesn’t pass the bill before the end of June, it will die when Parliament rises for the summer break and fall election.
In addition to outlawing all forms of bestiality, the legislation also improves laws against animal fighting. Animal Justice testified in support of Bill C-84 at the House of Commons Justice Committee, and made two recommendations that the Committee ultimately accepted—to allow judges to ban bestiality offenders from owning animals, and to eliminate a mandatory death sentence currently imposed on roosters rescued from cockfighting rings.
Although Bill C-84 is a step in the right direction, it is narrow in scope and is only a small effort toward improving Canada’s outdated animal cruelty laws. During the debate that preceded the House of Commons vote, representatives from all parties repeatedly highlighted the importance of protecting animals, improving Canada’s legal protections for animals, and advancing animal rights more generally. Many MPs pushed the government to uphold its promise to overhaul Canada’s animal cruelty laws, and spoke in support of striking an all-party committee to examine the issue.
As Liberal MP Anthony Housefather stated during the debate, “Animal cruelty laws in Canada need to be vastly improved. We have laws that were adopted in the 1890s, slightly amended in the 1950s and they have unfortunately not been radically revamped in the world we live in today where most of us recognize that animals should not be treated as pure property. Animals are sentient beings. Animals can suffer. Most animals have the ability to know whether they are feeling pain. Today, our animal cruelty laws are, unfortunately, many years behind the times.”
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The federal government presented a new bill that updates the Fisheries Act this week, including restrictions on capturing wild whales and dolphins for the purpose of keeping them in captivity.
The amendments would still allow exceptions to rescue cetaceans who are injured, sick or requiring care, and are part of a larger set of changes which include the restoration and protection of fishes and their habitats. The government also wants to give itself the power to restrict the import of whales and dolphins into the country.
At a Vancouver press conference, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc explained, “The public acceptance of keeping these majestic creatures in captivity has changed and we think the law should reflect that.”
We couldn’t agree more. Tens of thousands of Canadians have been demanding a ban on whale captivity, and the minister’s comments show that we’ve got the government’s attention.
But the new legislation doesn’t include a ban on breeding captive whales and dolphins—an essential part of protecting them from the cruelty of captivity. There are still dozens of captive belugas and dolphins in Canada, primarily at Marineland in Niagara Falls. If aquariums are allowed to continue breeding these sensitive creatures, it will be business as usual. Their offspring will be condemned to the misery and deprivation of life in a tiny tank.
Which is why we need Senate Bill S-203—the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act—to continue swimming through Parliament and become law.
Bill S-203 would ban whale and dolphin captivity across the country, end captive breeding, and ban the import and export of whales and dolphins, along with their reproductive materials.
And even though the Bill cleared the Senate Fisheries Committee last October, it has been languishing ever since. Conservative senators, particularly Senate Whip Don Plett, have been using sneaky delay tactics to stall this bill from reaching its final Senate vote.
TAKE ACTION and email Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, Conservative Senate leader Larry Smith, and Conservative Members of Parliament to demand they stop stalling and send Bill S-203 to the Senate floor.
As public support for imprisoning whales and dolphins continues to plummet, it’s only a matter of time before this cruel practice sinks altogether. Public pressure already forced the Vancouver Aquarium to give up on whale and dolphin captivity last month. Now, let’s make sure this outdated practice becomes illegal right across the country.
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A 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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