On their site, The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) sent a survey to Canada’s 5 main political parties about important animal welfare issues in the country.The (WSPA) encourages people to review their responses before making a decission at the time of voting.
Animal Cruelty Legislation
Canada’s animal cruelty laws were amended recently to increase maximum penalties for some animal cruelty offences. Unfortunately, these changes do very little to address loopholes in the current law that allow animal cruelty to go unpunished.
Does your party support strengthening the animal cruelty provisions under the Criminal Code and if so, what amendments would the party propose?
The Green Party supports strengthening animal cruelty provisions under the Criminal Code, especially since they have not been updated since 1892. Crimes against animals are housed in the property section of the Code, and provide almost no protection from even the worst kinds of abuse. In Quebec, where there is no provincial animal welfare act, these outdated laws are the only ones that can be used by citizens to protect animals. Polling conducted over the past years shows clearly that the majority of Canadians want to see stronger laws for animals in our Criminal Code.
The Green Party of Canada will update Canada’s criminal code as it pertains to animal welfare, moving crimes against animals from the property section, and recognizing animals as sentient beings. The Criminal Code legislation will provide no exemptions for people who are involved in criminal activities, and will mandate progressively stiffer penalties that take into account the severity of the crime.
Are you willing to bring forward new amendments in the next parliamentary session?
When elected, the Green Party will do everything in its power to bring forward these amendments in the next parliamentary session.
On November 6th, 2009, the House of Commons adopted a motion calling on the Canadian government to support (in principle) the development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW). This motion was supported by all of Canada’s political parties. Later, in March, the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed the government’s support for development of a UDAW.
Does your party reaffirm its support, in principle, for development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW)?
The Green Party reaffirms its support for the Universal Declaration. It is in keeping with the Green values of non-violence, ecological wisdom, and sustainability. We acknowledge that human beings are part of the natural world and we respect the specific values of all forms of life, including non-human species.
What should Canada do to affirm its support for this international initiative?
Canada should affirm its support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare by adopting animal welfare legislation and making the acts of cruelty to animals an offence under the criminal code instead of a property offence.
This past fall, the government announced changes to regulations under Canada’s Health of Animals Act, which would more than double administrative monetary penalties for violating these regulations. This was welcome news and WSPA and our many Canadian animal welfare supporters appreciate these amendments. More substantive amendments to these same regulations have, we understand, been proposed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and await the government’s approval.
WSPA has already put forward a number of recommendations for improving Canada’s farm animal transport system including:
• Establishing maximum loading densities that would allow animals to stand in their natural position or lie down comfortably
• Considerably reducing the number of hours farm animals can be transported without food, water and rest.
• Increasing the number of animal inspectors responsible for enforcing the Health of Animals Regulations at slaughterhouses, auctions and roadside checkpoints and increasing the number of veterinary inspectors present during inspections.
Does your party commit to amending Canada’s animal transport regulations under the Health of Animals Act?
If elected, the Green Party will amend Canada’s animal transport regulations to improve the conditions that animals face during transport.
What amendments to the regulations would your party propose?
Specifically, we would implement legislation that incorporates the following measures:
• Transport by road of animals destined for slaughter or further fattening to be limited to 8 hours or 500 km.
• The use of electric prods; clubs and other inappropriate weapons should be banned.
• A ban on live animal exports from Canada.
Animal transport time limits will decrease fossil fuel consumption, promote local businesses, create additional employment, dramatically reduce suffering of millions of farmed animals annually, and bring Canada up to European standards for farmed animal welfare.
What else would your party do to encourage a more sustainable and humane food system in Canada?
We advocate for reduced meat consumption as an aspect of reducing greenhouse gases as well as for health. The Green Party understands that the health of Canada’s population today and in the future depends on the environmentally sustainable production of wholesome food. We want to expand local small-scale agriculture and support a rapid transition to organic agriculture rather than subsidizing costly agro-chemicals, industrial food production and genetically modified crops.
The Green Party of Canada will implement a green tax on animal products produced by factory farms. Following the tobacco model, the green tax would shift the burden of environmental cleanup and increased health care. The Green Party will furthermore remove all government subsidies and tax incentives from industrial scale factory farming operations. The appropriately higher costs of producing factory farmed animal products will create a level market for small farmers, allowing consumers to make choices that are better for their health and animal welfare.
Is there any other animal welfare issue that you feel needs to be addressed? How would your party make a difference?
The wide-spread use of factory farming methods which involve systematic and routine cruelty to livestock is another important issue that needs to be addressed. The Green Party supports adopting legislation to prevent inhumane treatment of farm animals including intensive factory farming methods. The Act will set minimum standards of treatment and have a timetable for the phase-out of intensive factory farming and other inhumane animal husbandry practices. It will set standards for distances live animals can be transported and conditions of animals in slaughterhouses and auctions.
What other things will your Party do to improve animal protection in Canada?
The Green Party is committed to ensuring the protection of animals in Canada in many ways. Our animal protection policies are strong, comprehensive, and necessary. We have policies on: animals in entertainment; animals in research, testing and education; trophy hunting; exotic pets, and more. The complete animal protection policy document can be found on our website at this link:
We are committed to a world where animals are treated as equal and respected for their own sake as well as for what they give us. To bring about change in this area, we must stop seeing animals as mere tools, property, and profit, but as creatures that suffer and feel pain the same as we do.
How do you personally demonstrate a commitment to animal welfare?
As leader of the Green Party, my personal commitment to animal welfare is expressed through support to shelters, adopting rescue animals, being vegetarian and working to protect animal rights.
If animals could vote, what party would they vote for and why?
If animals could vote, they would vote Green. No question.