Media Releases

Animal Justice Wins Right to Intervene in Supreme Court Animal Sexual Abuse Appeal

TORONTO — The Supreme Court of Canada has granted Animal Justice leave to intervene in an appeal that will decide whether some forms of sexual abuse of animals are acceptable under Canadian criminal law. Animal Justice is the only national organization dedicated to using the law to fight for animal protection.

In the case of Her Majesty the Queen v. D.L.W., the Supreme Court will hear an appeal from a decision of the British Colombia Court of Appeal, which ruled that non-penetrative sexual abuse of animals does not constitute the criminal offence of bestiality. Animal Justice is intervening to ensure the Supreme Court hears the perspective of countless animals who have no voices of their own.

“To the best of our knowledge, this appeal is the first time ever that the Supreme Court will consider any legislation in an animal’s interest being free from harmful conduct is at stake,” said Camille Labchuk, director of legal advocacy for Animal Justice. “As an intervener in the case, Animal Justice will ensure the Court hears why vulnerable animals should be protected, and why preventing harm to animals is a key objective of Canadian criminal law. We will argue that it must remain illegal to sexually abuse animals in any way, shape, or form.”

If the Supreme Court denies the appeal in the D.L.W. case, some forms of sexual abuse of animals will be legalized across the country.

Animal Justice is represented in the intervention by University of Alberta Faculty of Law Professor Peter Sankoff, expert in animal law and criminal law, and Camille Labchuk, director of legal advocacy for Animal Justice.

The Supreme Court of Canada docket for R. v. D.L.W. can be found here.
Animal Justice’s Motion to Intervene in the appeal can be found here.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal decision can be found here.

For more information, please contact:

Camille Labchuk
Director of Legal Advocacy
[email protected]