[Note: Last night's vote of confidence against the Liberal Government of
Canada's amendments to their budget was lost by a single vote, meaning the
House will continue to sit and therefore Bill C-50 will still be viable.
Similar initiatives in the past were always blocked by the non-elected
Senate, and this may be, too. As well, the Liberal government is committed
to a winter election, perhaps February, and so the parties will be
campaigning now -- the longest federal campaign in Canadian history --
making it a good time to lobby for support for this bill. BKM]
This is the Department of Justice’s media release.
JUSTICE MINISTER INTRODUCES STRONGER ANIMAL CRUELTY LAWS
Minister Cotler says Bill to Protect Animals reflects views of Canadians
OTTAWA , May 16, 2005 – Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada, today introduced legislation in the House of Commons
which modernizes and strengthens Canada’s animal cruelty laws.
"Canadians want legislation to protect against cruelty and contempt for
animal well-being and they expect the criminal justice system to treat such
behaviour seriously," said Minister Cotler. "This legislation will
effectively modernize our legal protection against intentional cruelty to
animals and increase maximum penalties available for such cruelty and for
criminal neglect of animals."
Animal cruelty provisions in the Criminal Code target those who knowingly or
recklessly cause unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or cause
pain or injury through criminally negligent conduct.
Specific changes to the Criminal Code will:
• no longer classify animal cruelty offences as property crimes;
• make it illegal to brutally or viciously kill animals;
• raise the penalty for intentional cruelty to a maximum of five years’
imprisonment, up from the current six-month penalty;
• give judges the authority to raise the fine for summary convictions to
$10,000 from the current maximum fine of $2,000, and for indictable
offences, remove the cap on fines entirely;
• remove the two years maximum for an order prohibiting someone who is
convicted from owning an animal, and;
• give judges the authority to order anyone found guilty of animal cruelty
to pay restitution to the animal welfare organization that subsequently
cared for the animal.
"By increasing penalties and no longer classifying animal cruelty as
property crimes, these amendments send a strong message that animal cruelty
is about violence, and that is completely unacceptable," said Minister
Extensive consultation with animal industry groups has taken place over the
past several years, leading to various changes to the amendments initially
proposed. These amendments strike the appropriate balance between strongly
denouncing cruelty as a crime of violence while, at the same time, making it
clear that lawful and humane practices in a range of contexts, such as
scientific research and agriculture, will not be affected. The proposed
legislation also affirms traditional Aboriginal hunting and fishing rights.
An online version of the proposed legislation is available at www.parl.gc.ca
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice
Media Relations Office
Department of Justice Canada
Barry Kent MacKay
Animal Protection Institute