Updating animal legislation from 1892

mark hollandIn recent months, a number of high-profile animal abuse cases across the country has made many Canadians aware of how woefully inadequate and outdated Canada’s laws against animal cruelty are.

These well-publicized incidents have prompted thousands of Canadians to sign petitions and write letters to Members of Parliament demanding reform of our animal cruelty laws, which have changed very little since 1892.

There are currently two private members’ bills before Parliament to reform the Criminal Code sections on animal cruelty.

Bill C-373, introduced by Mark Holland, M.P. for Ajax-Pickering, is a comprehensive bill that not only increases penalties, but also closes off the many loopholes that allow animal abusers to walk away scot-free. Currently only one quarter of 1 % of animal cruelty complaints actually result in conviction.

Bill C-373 has the support of such major animal welfare organizations as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).

However, hunting and animal industry groups are supporting rival Bill S-213, which substantially keeps in place laws from 1892. This bill, introduced by Senator John Bryden, is opposed by the major animal welfare organizations.

What can you do?

To learn about the differences between Bill C-373 and Bill S-213, read Mark Holland’s article which was published in the September 2007 issue of Canadian Pets & Animals Magazine.

Inform yourself about animal cruelty issues and why Canadian law needs to change.

Share your views with your MP, and tell him or her that you want to see an effective bill passed.

Write to newspapers and discuss the issue with friends and on online forums.

Write to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and tell him that you are not satisfied with Bill S-213.

Write to the Senators and urge them not to pass S-213 in its present form when it is reintroduced under a new number in the new session of Parliament.

Visit Mark Holland’s website for their contact information.

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