TORONTO—Animal Justice and Soi Dog Canada are challenging the federal government in court over its recent decision to ban the import of rescued dogs from over 100 countries, including many of the world’s most vulnerable regions. The ban went into effect on September 28, 2022, and is a death sentence for many adoptable dogs, robbing them of the chance to find a loving home in Canada.
In three applications for judicial review filed in Federal Court on Thursday, October 27, Animal Justice and Soi Dog Canada argue that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) decision to ban most international dog rescue is unlawful because it is unreasonable, and because the Agency acted unfairly in failing to consult with directly impacted stakeholders.
Although the CFIA has claimed the ban is necessary to prevent the spread of dog rabies, no other Western countries have a similar ban. Instead, other regions have adopted science-based rabies prevention measures like vaccinations and antibody tests.
The groups also point out that dog rescue organizations were not consulted on the abrupt policy shift, even though it has a major impact on their activities, and will effectively shut down many rescue groups operating internationally.
“This misguided and unscientific ban on most international dog adoption will have devastating consequences for dogs who will be left to die on the streets, in the dog meat trade, or in overcrowded high-kill shelters,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “We hope the court will overturn this ban, so Canadians can continue to offer loving homes to dogs in need from other countries.”
“There are scientifically proven and less restrictive measures available that can keep dogs and humans safe from rabies, while still ensuring rescue organizations can carry out our life-saving work,” said Soi Dog Canada President Lisa Wagner. “Soi Dog and many other established dog rescue organizations have high standards, already requiring vaccination, and blood antibody tests (to ensure dogs have responded to the rabies vaccine), in addition to other measures that ensure dogs arrive to Canada healthy.”
The dog import ban has inspired more than fifteen thousand Canadians to sign a Parliamentary e-petition calling for the ban to be repealed.
The Federal Court filings are available here, here, and here.
Camille Labchuk, Animal Justice
Soi Dog Canada
Animal Justice leads the legal fight for animals in Canada. Our lawyers work to pass strong new animal protection legislation, push to hold industries accountable for abusing animals, and fight for animals in court. Visit www.animaljustice.ca to learn more.
Soi Dog Canada is a registered non-profit organization in Canada and has been welcoming dogs from Thailand for the past 10 years. They work hard to support Soi Dog Foundation to end animal cruelty and neglect in Asia, resulting in better lives for both the animal and human communities. Learn more about Soi Dog at: www.soidog.org