International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Zoocheck Canada Inc.

Zoocheck Canada Inc.
Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals

Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals
Animal Alliance of Canada

Animal Alliance of Canada
Humane Society International/Canada

Humane Society International/Canada
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

February 23, 2009 11:00 ET

The Canadian Government Misleading European Leaders Say Animal Welfare Groups

OTTAWA, CANADA--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - Six national animal welfare groups have come together to denounce statements made by the Canadian government to European counterparts about the protection afforded to animals in Canada. Prior to meetings in mid-January, the Canadian delegation distributed documents to European Members of Parliament claiming that "Canada is committed to, and has a long history of setting humane standards for animal welfare."

"From Malaysia to Great Britain, from South Africa to the Philippines, advancements are being made in the field of animal welfare. In Canada animals are still not protected from basic acts of cruelty," said Olivier Bonnet, Country Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, "Canada has been recognized as a leader in many fields but has not demonstrated the capacity in the foreseeable future to take animal protection and animal welfare seriously."

"Animal cruelty section of the Criminal Code of Canada has not been substantially amended since 1892, hardly a long record of humane standards as the Canadian government claims", said Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance. "In 2008, Parliament of Canada voted to increase penalties but refused to correct the flaws that continue to prevent the successful prosecutions of offenders."

In addition the significant problems identified with the haphazard steps taken by the government to address animal cruelty issues from a general federal legislative perspective, there remain fundamental problems with the method in which animals are treated or categorized under other overlapping pieces of legislation.

"Regulations for animal transportation under the Health of Animals Act are 34-years old and seriously outdated. For the past seven years the federal government has been promising new regulations but despite the promises, there are no new regulations in sight. Nowhere are the words "animal welfare" even mentioned in Canada's new $1.3 billion five-year agricultural policy, Growing Forward Framework Agreement. That's a clear indicator of lack of interest in farm animal welfare by the federal government," said Stephanie Brown, Director for the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals.

"Canada is one of the worst places in the industrialized world for animals," said Rebecca Aldworth, Director of Humane Society International/Canada. "Our outdated animal protection laws facilitate serious abuses of animals. From the beating and shooting of seal pups to the proliferation of puppy mills, to the mass force-feeding of geese and ducks to the widespread use of leghold traps--millions of animals are routinely subjected to extreme cruelty in Canada."

"Canada is still in the dark ages when it comes to animal welfare. Most Canadians believe animals should be treated humanely, so it's time our laws reflected that fact", said Robert Laidlaw, Director of Zoocheck Canada Inc.

The letter is available at the following address: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Joint_letter.pdf

Contact Information