May 9, 2016
Bill to Improve Animal Protection in Canada Introduced
Humane Society International/Canada urges passage of bill to strengthen animal cruelty laws
Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith has moved Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act, to debate today with the strong backing of animal protection groups.
The bill would make common sense improvements to the animal cruelty section of the Canadian Criminal Code. It would also prohibit removing shark fins at sea in Canadian waters and the import of detached shark fins, ban the sale of dog and cat fur in Canada, and require animal fur products be labeled by country of origin and animal species.
Ewa Demianowicz, campaign manager for HSI/Canada, stated: “Canada’s animal cruelty laws are woefully out of date and out of step with Canadian values. As a result, countless cases of cruelty and neglect go unpunished, while wild and stray animals receive fewer protections than other animals. The proposed updates to our Criminal Code, and the additional provisions that would protect sharks and furbearing animals, would be an important step forward in bringing Canadian animal protection standards in line with those of other developed nations.”
- Canada's animal welfare laws have remained largely unchanged since 1892. Recent amendments have increased penalties, but the application and scope of the current laws remain ineffective. Consequently, under the Criminal Code it is difficult to prosecute even the worst offenders.
- Shark finning is the practice of cutting off a shark’s fin and discarding animal at sea to die a slow and painful death. In 2015 alone, Canada imported over 140,000 kg of shark fins. Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and entire ocean ecosystems.
- Environics polling conducted in 2013 revealed 81 percent of Canadians support a ban on the trade in products of shark finning.
- Seventeen Canadian municipalities have banned the sale of shark fin products: Abbotsford, Brantford, Coquitlam, Duncan, City of Langley, Township of Langley, London, Maple Ridge, Mississauga, Nanaimo, Newmarket, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Oakville, Pickering, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody and White Rock. In September 2012, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities passed a near-unanimous resolution calling on the federal government to ban the import of shark fins into Canada.
- Unlike in the United States, no laws prohibit the trade in dog and cat fur in Canada.
- In Canada, there are no labeling requirements for most animal fur garments. Thus, it is entirely possible for cat and dog fur to be sold in this country, without anyone finding out. And while some fur is voluntarily labeled in Canada, the slaughter of companion animals for their fur is so unconscionable that the industry has tried to obscure the truth with misleading labels. With rare exceptions, dog and cat products are not labeled as such.
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