Everything is about to change for animal protection in Ontario. In March 2019, the Ontario SPCA announced it will no longer enforce animal cruelty laws in the province and is putting this public responsibility back in the hands of the government, where it belongs. The Ontario government is now surveying the public to help decide how… Read more » Animal Justice
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Ontario has announced that it’s amending its provincial slaughter regulations. The province will eliminate the need for a veterinarian to conduct post-mortem inspections at a slaughterhouse of an animal killed on a farm. However, a pre-slaughter inspection still needs to be done by a veterinarian on the farm. This will decrease the likelihood that the industry will attempt to truck downed animals to slaughterhouses, causing them even more stress and suffering.
Although the impact on animals will be small, Animal Justice is concerned by the growing trend to make animal welfare regulations more “outcome based.”
“Outcome-based” rules establish only an outcome that a regulated party must achieve. This is the opposite of “prescriptive” rules, which set out exactly how regulated parties must comply with the rules.
For example, saying that it is illegal to overcrowd animals in transport is outcome-based. The outcome is not crowding animals. By contrast, saying that, for example, “the loading density for pigs of around 100 kg should not exceed 235 kg/m2″, as the European Union requires, is prescriptive. What crowding means is measurable using numbers.
Laws must be flexible enough to be adaptive to unique situations, but also predictable and foreseeable for those subject to the laws. Sometimes it is difficult to balance flexibility with predictability. When it is possible to create specific and predictable laws with no real loss to flexibility, it is clearly better for animals that laws are indeed created with specificity and predictability. In other words, as much as possible, it is better for standards to be prescriptive. This ensures animal industries understand exactly what the law requires of them, and ensures law enforcement understands exactly when standards have been met—or violated.
When outcome-based measures are used in situations were prescriptive rules would be more appropriate, a race to the bottom is encouraged. Most animal industries are not over-complying with regulations. They are doing only what they must to stay on the right side of the law. When rules are vague, there’s an incentive is to push the boundaries and do as little as possible.
It is also difficult to enforce vague rules, because law enforcement agencies are also confused about what is required, and unwilling to be zealous in enforcing laws only to face backlash. But when rules are clear, specific, and numbers-based, they are much easier to enforce.
Ontario’s current meat regulation amendment proposes a minor outcome-based modification that would not impact animals. However, we alerted OMAFRA to our objection towards outcome-based rules by filing a submission through their public consultation process.
Thank you for supporting our work to lead the legal fight for animals in Canada. Without you, we would not be able to monitor and influence legal changes like this one.
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Sault Ste. Marie just passed a progressive new animal care and control by-law that will mean greater protections for animals. Among other things, the by-law enhances animal care standards, bans circuses from using live animals in performances, and prohibits new zoos from operating in the City.
No More Animals in Entertainment
Sault Ste. Marie is the first Canadian city to take the huge step forward and ban keeping animals captive in zoos. Unfortunately, the only zoo in the City—the notorious Spruce Haven Zoo—has been exempted from the ban by a vote of 6-5, but the by-law will still prevent new zoos from popping up in the future.
Last year, Prince Edward Island became the first province to restrict the use of exotic animals in circuses. Now, Sault Ste. Marie is following suit, banning circuses and events in which any animal is required to perform for the entertainment of an audience. Unfortunately, equestrian shows, dog and cat shows, horseracing, sled dog racing, and aquarium displays are exempt, but the City still deserves some credit for the changes.
Some other highlights of the comprehensive new animal care and control by-law include:
- New animal welfare rules, including a ban on collars that may restrict an animal’s ability to breathe or swallow.
- Mandatory sterilization of cats over 6 months of age.
- A requirement that animals be kept on premises that are free from unsanitary conditions that may disturb the enjoyment or comfort of the animal, or that may endanger the health of the animal.
Animal Justice celebrates this leap forward for animals in Sault Ste. Marie, and urges other municipalities to follow suit.
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Hi SCARS, Thought we’d give you a little update as we celebrate Sunny's first birthday! He’s a solid 65 lbs and the vet said he is in perfect health! He now goes to daycare once a week and they continuously comment on his unlimited energy. The daycare has helped him find his big boy
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Prosecutors in London, Ontario withdrew all charges today against animal rights advocate Jenny McQueen. McQueen was facing charges of break and enter and mischief after entering a pig breeding facility in Lucan, Ontario that impregnates mother pigs so their piglets can be fattened up and sent to slaughter. Around 2,600 pigs are confined at the... Read more » Animal Justice
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