Speak up for animal protection updates to the Criminal Code
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Speak up for animal protection updates to the Criminal Code

May 1, 2017

A recent petition urges the Government of Canada to make long overdue changes in protecting animals – and by signing, you can become another voice for vulnerable animals all across Canada.

The e-petition reaches out to animal lovers across the country to voice their concerns over the current animal cruelty protection provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada. Despite Canada being a leading country in the world, the code hasn’t been substantially updated or revised since 1892.

“One of the greatest challenges with Canada’s current law is that there are loopholes that, for instance, don’t adequately address brutal or heinous acts committed against an animal or consider instances of gross neglect,” says Marcie Moriarty, BC SPCA’s chief prevention and enforcement officer.

“Many are found not guilty, or are not charged or sentenced for what their crime truly deserves. There are more than 100,000 animal cruelty complaints every year across the country, and a small percentage of those lead to successful prosecutions.”

Other concerns within the current code are animals being regarded as property rather than as living, sentient beings and the lack of protection for animals trained to fight.

Since 1999, there have been 13 attempts to amend the animal cruelty laws. One of the most recent attempts was Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act, in 2016. Bill C-246 would have closed the current loopholes in the code relating to animal fighting, bestiality, animal neglect and cruelty, making it easier to charge and convict puppy mill operators, animal fighting rings and animal abusers.

“The bill would have also increased sentences, created new offences and would have banned the import of shark fins and cat and dog fur into the country,” Moriarty says. “But after debates and mixed approvals, the bill did not have enough parliamentary support and was voted down.”

After the bill was defeated, Vancouver-Granville MP and Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould agreed that animal cruelty is a significant social issue that needs to be addressed and committed to following up to ensure change happens for animals, a fact that is noted in the e-petition.

The e-petition calls upon Minister Wilson-Raybould to address animal cruelty by immediately conducting a review of the animal cruelty provisions in the Criminal Code, and is open for signatures until May 10.

“A petition can clearly showcase the need and drive for change from citizens to the leaders of our country,” Moriarty says. “Small steps can lead to big victories and we’re hoping British Columbia’s passionate animal lovers will come through for animals.”

UPDATE: This petition is now closed

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