Protecting Animals from Cruelty Under Improved Canadian Legislation
Animal cruelty is on the rise in Canada with a whopping 1000 cases of animal abuse yearly. More appallingly, a majority of these cases virtually go unpunished. This lack of protection for animals is largely due to the abysmal animal cruelty laws that our country possesses. At this moment, animals are listed under the property section of the Criminal Code of Canada. A new section in the Criminal Code strictly for animal cruelty offences is needed so that they can be moved out of this unfitting section. As of today, there are absolutely no offences to kill stray animals. This should not be the case, since all animals deserve equal rights regardless of whether or not they have an owner. Presently, it is not a crime to train animals to fight other animals. Effective legislation would make it an offence to train an animal to fight and receive money for animal fighting and training. As of now, crimes of neglect are extremely difficult to punish appropriately because the wording in animal cruelty legislation utilizes the term “wilful neglect”, which requires proof of a person’s intent. By removing this requirement of intent, judges would be enabled to more readily prosecute those accused of seriously neglecting their animals and inflicting unnecessary suffering. Currently, there is no definition for the term “animal” in the Criminal Code. A definition is desperately called for, so that animal abuse crimes can be appropriately acted against. Most importantly, right now, animal cruelty laws are under provincial control which means that punishment for animal abuse differs greatly across the country. In order to ensure apt protection for animals, the federal government should take a stronger stance on the issue. In summary, WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, demand the Canadian federal government to: • create a separate section for animal cruelty offences in the Criminal Code; • make it an offence to kill stray animals and train animals to fight other animals; • edit the archaic and unclear wording in the legislation; • provide a specific definition for the term “animal”; and • take stronger control on animal cruelty laws nationally. By improving Canadian legislation like so, animal cruelty offenders will be justly punished for their crimes and animals across the country will be protected from deliberate and reckless acts of abuse.