Demand Canada Crack Down on Animal Cruelty

Target: Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for Canada

Goal: Send a strong message against cruelty to animals with a holistic Canadian animal welfare law.

In comparison to many countries, Canada lacks a solid foundation on which to build strong animal cruelty laws. While the Canadian Criminal Code defines animal cruelty and encourages punishment for such offenses, each Canadian province is generally left to its own discretion. A lack of national case laws and precedents creates an environment where judges often only hand out minimum sentences. More stringent national animal welfare laws could reverse this trend.

Much of the legal terminology in Canada surrounding animal cruelty has not changed in over a century. For one, a clear definition of ‘animal’ has never been established, and as such most animals – especially wildlife and non-domesticated animals – receive essentially no protection. In addition, animal cruelty cases are usually not pursued as an ‘indictable’ offense, a designation that typically results in more severe penalties. While cruelty to farm animals sometimes carries a more significant charge, even these cases rarely result in significant jail time, or any jail time at all, for the offender. Farm animals are not entirely safe either, though, because if the treatment of these animals is regarded as ‘standard industry practice,’ then no true regulations apply.

Due to gaps in the Criminal Code and in Canada’s Health of Animals Act (which does not adequately address safe standards for food, water, or safe transportation of animals), many provinces have worked to strengthen their legislation. Yet many more still lag behind, and the absence of a clear national framework does not help.

The Canadian Agriculture Department has ignored this issue for too long. Sign the petition below and demand that Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay encourage immediate talks regarding national legislation that will set a positive precedent in protecting Canada’s precious animals.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister MacAulay,

Canada is a progressive country in many respects, but in at least one crucial arena it stands far behind its peers. The humane treatment of animals is an important benchmark of any civilized nation that prides itself on advancement and development.

Currently, your laws do little to address the conditions crucial to animal welfare, from basic sustenance to adequate housing and transportation. Individuals who would inflict harm on another living being receive scarce punishment that might otherwise deter future abuses and cruelties. In multiple cases, your laws do not even agree on the definition of an animal.

Many of your provinces have taken the lead in correcting these missteps, but they cannot affect true change in isolation. They need strong guidance, which is why we urge you to embrace your leadership role and help strengthen the Criminal Code regarding animal cruelty as well as the Health of Animals Act. Please work towards an updated, cohesive, and comprehensive legislative initiative that prioritizes animal welfare and undeniably distinguishes animal cruelty as a black mark on humanity and the humanity within us all.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gerry Broome

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8 Comments

  1. Dear Minister MacAulay,

    Animals have feelings and they don’t deserve to be abused, mistreated or tortured by any ‘sicko’ — who can get away with murder, being that in Canada punishment is left ‘at the discretion of a judge’ … or judges can give minimum sentences.
    Animal cruelty is an offense and should be punished always and
    Canada should protect the welfare of animals.
    Please take action towards enacting stringent laws that would apply in all the Canadian country.
    Thank you!

  2. SHIREEN MCKEE says:

    A COUNTRY LIKE CANADA SHOULD HAVE STRICT ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS & IF DISOBEYED HARD PUNISHMENT APPLIES, NOT ONLY DOGS & CATS BUT FARM ANIMALS TOO..PLEASE BE VERY TOUGH ON ALL CASES OF CRUELTY, & MAKE THE COUNTRY PROUD TO HAVE THESE LAWS OBLIGATORY LAWS :

  3. SHIREEN MCKEE? AGREE WITH YOU 100%A COUNTRY LIKE CANADA SHOULD HAVE STRICT ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS & IF DISOBEYED HARD PUNISHMENT APPLIES, NOT ONLY DOGS & CATS BUT FARM ANIMALS TOO..PLEASE BE VERY TOUGH ON ALL CASES OF CRUELTY, & MAKE THE COUNTRY PROUD TO HAVE THESE LAWS OBLIGATORY LAWS :

  4. Animals, birds, fish and other sea creatures are now scientifically KNOWN and proven to be SENTIENT, just as humans are. Any degree to which this *may* differ from species to species is NOT relevant. They can all “perceive” and “feel,” and have an AWARENESS of themselves and their lives, and THAT is the point on which human treatment of them and attitudes towards them must be based.

    Canada has become not just a laughingstock, but a shameful DISGRACE compared to most countries (even tiny, less ‘advanced’ ones) these days, regarding our abysmal jokes of animal ‘protection’ laws. There IS no protection for most, and that’s the plain truth. And what little there is, is made a mockery of in the courts and/or regarding enforcement, which is ALSO a joke.

    Canada, “progressive”?? That’s a perpetrated LIE we’ve been fed, and one that most Cdns no longer believe. Canada is an absolute DISASTER when it comes to animals. You know it, other countries know it, we all know it. Stop sheltering Big Ag and all the other industries that rely upon the blatant ABUSE of animals, and do something worthwhile and evolutionary for a change! UPDATE THESE ANTIQUATED LAWS, to where the vast majority of Canadians WANT to see them – as meaningful and EFFECTIVE for the lives of those who are most directly affected – the OTHER species!

  5. Minister Mccaulay, Canada really has to get it together and introduce (and keep) meaningful animal protection laws, for all animals not just companion animals. We are hearing appalling examples of unspeakable cruelty, on a daily basis and it is extremely inhumane and backward looking that a country like Canada is so far behind the modern world in this aspect. Please- your people want this, and so do we, buck up and catch up!

  6. Margaret Melnick says:

    If our Leader Mr Trudeau stopped patting himself on the back and took a real interest in Canada he would quit bringing in Terrorist and help those in Canada who need our help. Our animals.

  7. it’s about time the Canadian gov. did something useful for a change instead of vacationing all over marching in gay parades and what ever taxing us to the limit they don’t care about anything but themselves it’s about time they did something about cruelty such as the poor chickens and the dairy industry and the pig farms the cruelty that goes on in these places are terrible these poor animals what they go through just to feed our faces it’s about time it was stopped but then look what we have running this sorry country

  8. MAKE LAWS TO DEFEND THE ANIMALS CANADA.

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