Celebrating a year of animal welfare victories - BC SPCA
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Celebrating a year of animal welfare victories

December 1, 2019

Thousands of BC SPCA supporters took action in 2019 to sign petitions advocating for laws that would improve animal welfare. Together with Humane Canada, we’ve advocated for the importance of animal welfare legislation to protect against neglect and cruelty.  

Ending the captivity of whales and dolphins: Bill S-203

Canada made historic strides passing the so-called “Free Willy” law, Bill S-203, to end the keeping of whales, dolphins and porpoises – collectively called cetaceans – in captivity. 

The legislation prohibits the trade, possession, capture and breeding of cetaceans, which is a lucrative international trade incentive for aquariums as a single orca fetches more than $1 million U.S.

Extending dog fighting provisions: Bill C-84

It was already illegal to run organized dog fights, yet Bill C-84 casts a broader net to help eliminate this horrific practice. The updated legislation expands the prosecution of those who participate in or profit from animal fighting in any way. 

Dog fighting is the act of baiting two dogs to fight one another, usually to the death, for entertainment, financial gain or status. 

Bestiality law expanded: Bill C-84 

Bill C-84 has modernized clauses of the Criminal Code to protect people and animals from bestiality (i.e., sexual acts with animals). The legislation closes a gap that had previously permitted sex acts with animals provided there was no penetration. Those convicted of bestiality will now be listed on Canada’s National Sex Offenders Registry.


Importing shark fins banned: Bill C-68 

Bill C-68 is Canada’s fisheries legislation, and this past summer legislation was passed to eliminate the trade in shark fins imported into Canada. Shark finning is the cruel act of catching sharks, cutting off their dorsal fins and releasing the sharks, usually alive, back to sea. Each year, an estimated 70-100 million shark fins are traded globally.

Municipalities & Animal Bylaws

Duncan, North Cowichan and Vernon have taken significant steps towards updating their local animal welfare bylaws.   

  • They have all implemented actions to improve the lives of cats in the community. 
  • Reinforced animal registration and the mandatory spaying or neutering of all outdoor cats. In addition, laws around tethering animals have also been a top priority. 
  • Duncan has included a reformatted definition of what an animal in distress may look like and expanding the definition of distress to include all animals. It has also implemented rules around how to monitor dogs deemed to be dangerous by animal control officers.
  • North Cowichan has also made significant improvements to its animal bylaws including eliminating breed-specific language regarding dangerous dogs.
  • Vernon has taken matters a step further by implementing a new law that states that pet guardians can be fined if they fail to provide clean water and shelter, enough food, periodic exercise, and veterinary care when the animal displays signs of suffering or illness. Under the new regulations, no owner will be allowed to confine their animals in a space, such as a car, without sufficient shade and ventilation. 


There is still more to be done to improve the welfare of animals in B.C. including:



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