The Jane Goodall Act (also known as Bill S-241), has passed its first vote in Parliament and is finally moving to the committee stage for further study. The Jane Goodall Act was first introduced in March 2022, and took 14 long months to pass second reading.
The bill aims to completely phase out elephant captivity in Canada, and protect over 800 wild animal species from suffering in captivity. The Jane Goodall Act would also grant some animals limited legal standing. The Canadian legal system is notorious for denying animals legal standing, preventing them from having representation in court. The Jane Goodall Act would allow interested specially-appointed “animal advocates” to make arguments before a court about the best interests of animals, if a zoo or individual is convicted of keeping or breeding the animal illegally.
The Jane Goodall Act builds upon groundbreaking laws banning whale and dolphin captivity in Canada, which passed in 2019. It’s now a criminal offence to capture wild whales and dolphins from the ocean, confine them in tanks, breed them, or make them perform for entertainment.
Similar to the whale and dolphin bill, the Jane Goodall Act has faced many obstacles, primarily from Conservative Senate leader Don Plett. Senator Plett delayed the whale and dolphin bill for years in an attempt to kill it, and now appears to be doing the same thing to the Jane Goodall Act.
Jane Goodall Act Will Protect Captive Wildlife
The needs of wild animals cannot be adequately met in captivity. Life in a cage deprives animals of their diverse natural habitats, and prevents them from expressing natural behaviours. This bill represents a significant step forward and could help address the crisis of cruelty at Canadian zoos, including roadside zoos, which have some of the lowest standards.
If approved, this bill would:
- Completely eliminate the import, breeding, and captivity of elephants.
- Restrict the import, keeping, and breeding of over 800 species of wild animals, including big cats, bears, many monkeys, wolves, sea lions, walruses, and dangerous reptiles like crocodiles and snakes, for individuals and most zoos.
- Empower the federal government to add more species to this list in the future.
- Provide limited legal standing to animals so that the court can consider their best interests in case of a conviction for violating anti-captivity laws.
The bill will now be studied be a series of three Senate committees. Please join us in keeping up the pressure to pass the Jane Goodall Act as soon as possible!
Banner: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals Media | Zoocheck