Friday, October 07, 2016
Why Our Animal Cruelty Laws Must Be Modernized
As you know I hate bullies with a passion. Especially those who bully children and seniors, and those who are cruel to animals.
So it troubles me that although Canada likes to think of itself as an enlightened country, our laws on animal cruelty are barbarous, and haven't been updated since 1892.
And a horrible accident in Ontario the other day, only reinforced my belief that it's time those laws were changed.
For the way some of those pigs were treated was appalling.
The Ontario SPCA is appealing for witnesses as it investigates how pigs were handled after a transport truck crashed near a local slaughterhouse leading to the death of 42 animals.
Witnesses just outside the Appleby Line plant were disgusted to see injured pigs suffering for hours in the sun without medical attention, said Anna Pippus, a lawyer with Animal Justice.
The sight of the bloodied and traumatized survivors being marched to the slaughterhouse on foot, was for me almost impossible to watch....
And I couldn't help wondering how can you cram 180 pigs into one truck?
And what does that say about they way we treat our farm animals?
So needless to say I found this very disappointing.
A fourth attempt to modernize Canada’s century-old animal cruelty laws was put down in the House last night.
Liberal backbencher Nathaniel Erskine-Smith was hoping his private member’s bill would be sent to committee for study, but it was defeated by a vote of 84-198. Although the rookie MP had strong support from the NDP and the Bloc, there was little to be found in his own party caucus.
It's depressing to see even the most modest bill go down to defeat. Or see some cruel monsters get away with murder.
The woeful inadequacies of Canada’s animal cruelty laws are well-known. Erskine-Smith raised the case of one man who killed his dog with a baseball bat but was acquitted because the judge ruled the death was quick.
In 2002, a man who skinned a cat alive and videotaped the deed received a slap on the wrist, in part because the animal was a stray and therefore no human’s property.
And Camille Labchuk from Animal Justice is right to demand that the Liberal government keep its promise to modernize those cruelty laws.
“The fact is we can’t continue to treat animals like tables and chairs. Our cruelty laws need to be strong enough to be able to punish people to the full extent of the law when animals are abused,” Labchuk says, noting Canada has what is objectively known as the worst animal cruelty legislation in the western world.
Laws that shame us and our country.
For the fact is, when it comes to the treatment of pigs I know we can do better. If you travel through Scotland you will see field after field dotted with these little huts...
Which those smart and sentient animals can use for shelter if it rains or snows, but are otherwise free to roam the grassy fields, and live decent happy lives before they are slaughtered.
Unlike these poor pigs comforting each other after the accident...
Who probably only felt the sunshine and grass under their feet in the last hours and minutes before they were killed.
And whose look in their eyes will haunt me forever.
Please write to your MPs, tell them it's time to modernize our cruelty laws.
And the sooner the better...