PERTH, Ontario—National animal law non-profit Animal Justice will ask an Ontario court tomorrow for permission to intervene in a lawsuit that attempts to strike down key aspects of provincial animal welfare laws.
Where: Superior Court of Justice, 43 Drummond Street East, Perth, Ontario
When: Friday, April 20th, 10 am
Who: Animal Justice, represented by executive director Camille Labchuk
The case, Bogaerts v. Attorney General of Ontario, is a constitutional challenge to Ontario’s provincial animal welfare legislation and its enforcement. Specifically, the applicant is asking the court to rule that:
- granting police powers to the Ontario SPCA, a private charity, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because the Ontario SPCA is not subject to transparency, oversight, and accountability measures that apply to other law enforcement agencies;
- search and seizure powers used to protect animals and investigate animal welfare offences are too broad, violate the Charter, and should be struck down; and
- animal protection offences in provincial law are criminal in nature and fall outside provincial powers, thus unlawfully intruding on federal jurisdiction.
Animal Justice is seeking to intervene because the case has wide-ranging implications for the millions of animals in Ontario confined in farms, fur farms, zoos, and aquariums. The case could also have national ramifications, potentially affecting the validity of animal protection laws and enforcement in other provinces.
If granted leave to intervene, Animal Justice will argue that animals must be protected to the maximum extent possible under the law. To that end, Animal Justice shares many of the applicant’s concerns oger the transparency, oversight, and accountability of animal law enforcement. However, Animal Justice believes that broad search and seizure powers are necessary in the unique context of protecting animals, who are often kept behind closed doors and cannot report illegal abuse themselves.
Animal Justice is represented by lawyers Arden Beddoes of Arvay Finlay LLP, and Benjamin Oliphant of Gall Legge Grant Zwack LLP. Animal Justice’s executive director Camille Labchuk will appear in court tomorrow on behalf of the organization.
More information about Bogaerts v Attorney General of Ontario is available on a website maintained by the applicant, found here.
Animal Justice’s application to intervene is available upon request.
For more information, contact: