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City of Victoria Cannot Remove Pet Pigs, Says Animal Justice

Animal Justice September 28, 2015

VICTORIA – National animal law non-profit Animal Justice Canada Legislative Fund says the City of Victoria, British Columbia has no authority to remove potbelly pigs from family homes.

Long-time Vic West resident Mike Downey lives with two potbelly pigs, Athena and Vishnu, whom he considers part of the family. Acting on a bylaw that prohibits keeping farm animals in the City of Victoria, city officials have given Mr. Downey until September 30 to get the animals out of his home.

“Municipal bylaws prohibit keeping animals ‘normally raised for food’ in the City of Victoria, but whether an animal is eaten or cherished is a complex cultural question,” said Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy with Animal Justice.

“Cows, dogs, rabbits, chickens, and pigs can all be considered friend or food depending on whom you ask. City officials cannot rely on a bylaw that prohibits keeping animals raised for food to remove animals from family homes.”

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Animal Justice’s letter to the City of Victoria can be read here.

Correspondence between Mr. Downey and the City of Victoria can be read here.

For more information, contact:

Anna Pippus

Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy



Animal Justice

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Animal Justice Considers Legal Challenge to Save Eli the Potbellied Pig

Animal Justice December 12, 2014

Eli in bedCALGARY — Animal Justice Canada Legislative Fund is considering launching a legal challenge in the case of Eli the potbellied pig, who lives as a family pet in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Animal Justice is Canada’s only animal law-focused organization.

Strathcona County officials have ticketed Michelle Kropp, Eli’s guardian, for allegedly violating a county by-law prohibiting residents from keeping “livestock.” Although Ms. Kropp is appealing the $100 ticket, county officials have set a court date in February to seek an order removing Eli from his family. The county is refusing to wait for the ticket appeal to be heard before seeking the removal order.

“Potbellied pigs like Eli are kept as loving family pets in homes across this country,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, Director of Legal Advocacy for Animal Justice. “For Strathcona County to claim that Eli is ‘livestock’ is an absurd interpretation of the law, and to push ahead with a removal order to rip Eli from his family is nothing short of mean-spirited and unfair.

“Animal Justice is calling on Strathcona County lawmakers to clarify the bylaw and to drop the lawsuit for a removal order. In the meantime, the Animal Justice legal team is considering all options to launch a legal challenge to the bylaw on grounds that it is unconstitutionally vague and discriminatory.”

Ironically, many dangerous exotic animals like large snakes can be kept legally in Strathcona County.

Other municipalities, including Strathmore, Alberta, have clarified their bylaws to confirm that potbellied pigs are acceptable pets. Provincial and federal agricultural agencies have consistently stated that potbellied pigs are not livestock.

Animal Justice

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