Canada’s animal welfare after the 2011 elections

The election provided some disappointingly expected results — keeping Harper, but it also gave us some surprises as the New Democratic Party emerged as the official opposition party. This will be good news for animal welfare as the stance the NDP has made public for animal welfare is very much in line with what animal advocates have been asking for.

So with that hurtle behind us, we must hold them to their word. It’s not so much that we can relax from our protests, vigils and petitions, but hopefully we now have voices in Parliment that are hearing us.

I am optimistic about these changes at this point. I hope you are, too, and will resolve yourself to continuing our push for better animal welfare legislation. Let’s hold the NDP to their pre-election stance.

Click to read the NDP's stance on animal welfare in Canada


New Democrats recognize that animal welfare is very important. We support strengthening provisions of the Cruelty to Animals Section of the Criminal Code of Canada to discourage violence and cruelty against animals and to punish those responsible for such acts.

We continue to support meaningful legislation to provide real protection for animals. The abuse of any vulnerable creature, human or otherwise, is something that we should all take extremely seriously.

Specifically, the NDP are on record in support of amending the Criminal Code to:
• move animals out of property law and extend protections to wild animals and strays,
• make it illegal to train animals for fighting or profit from animal fighting;
• close loopholes that allow 99 per cent of those charged with animal cruelty to escape conviction.

We fought tirelessly in the past to get these important amendments through the House of Commons. We agree that the legislation Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals), is deeply flawed and that is why we joined the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in opposing this Bill.

New Democrats also support the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare and will work with the Provinces, Territories, government departments and agencies and stakeholders to update Canada’s laws and policies on animal cruelty and welfare to reflect the principles of UDAW. Furthermore, we will … ensure Canada plays a leadership role internationally to promote animal welfare.

With regard to animal transportation, the NDP’s Agriculture critic, Alex Atamanenko, MP, has been working to promote policies that protect animals from the various stresses they may endure during the excessively long transport times allowed under the current regulatory regime. He has been corresponding with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and meeting with officials since 2006 to urge them to move more quickly to modernize the current regulations around animal transportation. Although the CFIA has been studying this issue for several years, changes in regulations are still outstanding.

In 2008, Mr. Atamanenko had his motion passed at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food (SCAAF) calling for CFIA officials to be brought before the Committee to present a briefing on the status of their regulatory review process. According to their presentation they were still working with the Justice Department and preparing the regulatory amendments for publication in the Canada Gazette to be followed by a public consultation process. In response to Mr. Atamanenko’s November, 2009 follow up letter, the CFIA indicated there was still no movement on this file.

Mr. Atamanenko also re-introduced his previous motion in the House of Commons. It states as follows:
M-436 – September 15, 2009 – Mr. Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior) – That, in the opinion of the House, the government should immediately move to publish the revised regulations governing animal transportation under the Health of Animals Act.

Again, thank you for writing to me about such an important issue.


To quote a comment from Open-Eyes on one CBC newspage:

We must remember the parties do not own the voters, it is the other way around.

Change is slow, but I think we are on the path to seeing a new Canada. We have this opportunity now to create better legislation for our animals — companion, wild and farm animals. It is what we have been asking for for years, so let’s not waste it.

With thoughts of the slaughtered sled dogs, healthy pets killed in our shelters, abused farm animals, pathetic puppy mills, affordable spay/neuter options, stricter legislation for animal cruelty and so much more, I urge everyone to get behind some aspect of animal welfare and apply yourself to it.

Finally, change for our animals is at our fingertips. We CAN make it happen!

Stories about Canada’s election results

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