OTTAWA – National animal law non-profit Animal Justice is applauding Canada’s federal Parliament for passing two groundbreaking animal protection bills late last night. On Tuesday evening, the Senate passed Bill C-68, which outlaws the trade in shark fin products, and Bill C-84, which outlaws all forms of sexual abuse of animals, and tightens up laws against animal fighting.
“Canada just became a world leader in shark protection by banning the cruel trade in shark fins,” said Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice. “Canada has been the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia, so this strong new legislation will save countless sharks from having their fins sliced off while still alive, and thrown back into the ocean to die an agonizing death. We applaud the government for its work to ensure this law passed before the end of the Parliamentary session, and the many senators and MPs from all parties who have worked so hard for so many years to save sharks.
“Animal Justice also applauds Parliament for taking a small first step toward modernizing Canada’s outdated animal cruelty laws. Bill C-84 closes loopholes in the Criminal Code that allowed people get away with sexually abusing animals, and forcing animals to fight. Now, all animal sexual abuse will be considered bestiality, and Canada’s animal fighting laws are stronger. There is still much more work to be done to improve our animal cruelty laws, but these new measures are progress.”
Bill C-84 closed a loophole identified by the Supreme Court in the 2016 case of R. v. DLW, namely that most sexual abuse of animals in Canada was not illegal. Previously, only sexual abuse that involved penetration was considered bestiality. In addition, animal fighting laws were weak and could not be used to successfully prosecute all those who forced animals to fight and attended animal fighting events.
Last week, Parliament also passed legislation outlawing whale and dolphin captivity, marking the first time since the 1800s that Parliament adopted any serious new animal protection legislation. With the passage of Bills C-68 and C-84 last night, legal progress for animals has entered a new era.
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