Canada’s authoritarian stance against animal rights

Canada’s authoritarian stance against animal rights

How Ottawa stifles animal activists

Sun, Mar 6 – 4:53 AM

“Canada,” said the U.S. journalist, “is heading toward becoming an authoritarian state to an extent that surprises observers even in China.” 

Another comment on Bev Oda and the garrotting of Kairos? Nope.

A reflection on the Harperites’ infatuation with harsh sentences and larger prisons? No.

Kyoto, Afghan detainees, the G20 repression, the flouting of the Supreme Court in the Omar Khadr case? Our humiliating defeat in the UN Security Council election? Could have been, but in fact it’s none of the above.

No, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People News, published in Clinton, Wash., is writing about the federal government’s denial of free speech to animal welfare charities in Canada. And he’s in touch with animal rights activists in China. He knows what they think.

“On February 5, 2011,” writes Clifton, the Canada Revenue Agency published “draft regulations governing animal charities which would ensure that any animal charity speaking out against anything that is not already illegal would lose nonprofit status.”

One specific example: the regulations make it clear that a Canadian animal charity would lose its charitable status if it opposed vivisection, which is the practice of operating on living animals in order to gain knowledge of pathological or physiological processes. A charity could suffer the same fate if it opposed the fur industry or the seal hunt.

In fact, says Clifton, the draft regulations provide “that an animal charity may only advocate policies and practices which benefit humans more than animals.”

Really? I hustled off to the CRA website. Sure enough, that’s exactly what the draft regulations say. The logic, if one can call it that, derives from British common law. The courts, says CRA, have determined that “an activity or purpose is only charitable when it provides a benefit to humans. For some purposes and activities, including those relieving the suffering of animals, the courts have decided that the benefit is the promotion of the moral or ethical development of the community.”

But don’t try to argue that supporting animal welfare is a good thing in and of itself. “Promoting the welfare of animals,” the CRA declares, “is only charitable when it results in a benefit to humans.”

“Promoting the welfare of animals,” the CRA declares, “is only charitable when it results in a benefit to humans.”

With respect to vivisection, says the CRA, the courts have decided that “seeking to abolish vivisection is not charitable. This is in part because, as the courts have put it, despite the suffering inflicted on animals, the ‘immense and incalculable benefits which have resulted from vivisection’ and the ‘positive and calamitous detriment of appalling magnitude’ that would result from its abolition, outweigh any possible promotion of the moral and ethical development of the community.”

The gaping flaw in the CRA’s argument, of course, is that it freezes — indeed, prevents — the evolution of the law. The law reflects the moral consensus of the community at a particular moment in time. When the consensus changes, the law must change as well. The law once decreed that women were chattels, slavery was fine, and petty theft warranted hanging. When society reversed its thinking on these matters, the law eventually reversed its position, too.

The CRA argues, in effect, that charitable purposes can only reflect the past — the decisions that the courts have already made. But the very phrase “the moral and ethical development of the community” concedes that moral and ethical attitudes evolve. That’s what the word “development” means. And if moral attitudes have evolved, then someone who demands corresponding changes in the law is very precisely “promoting the moral and ethical development of the community.”

A growing body of opinion now holds that we will not achieve our human potential — or even survive — unless we develop a respectful, ethical relationship with the rest of nature. The coyote, the cod and the chestnut have a right to live and flourish, and advocating on their behalf — with or without a benefit to humans — is a deeply moral activity and a legitimate charitable purpose.

Do the Harperites disagree? We’ll never know. They ignore ideas, and attack people instead. Lie about them. Impugn their motives. Cut their funding. Dissolve their organizations. Imprison them. Deny them charitable status.

“Canada is heading toward becoming an authoritarian state to an extent that surprises observers even in China.”

A chilling remark. I wish I could claim it was wrong.

reprinted from the Chronicle Herald

Download the article | Read the CRA draft

A Walk for the Sled Dogs

A Walk for the Sled Dogs


February 12, 2011

The D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation wants the press to be aware that on Sunday, February 13th there will be a walk at Edworthy Park in Calgary at 2:00 pm in honor of the 100 sled dogs that were murdered.

At 6:00 pm there will be a candlelight vigil in Innisfail, AB behind the aquatic centre at the ball diamond also in honor of the sled dogs. We would like to see a good turnout by the public as we need to send a message of awareness.

Better monitoring of these sled dog venture companies is a must in order to ensure proper treatment of these wonderful sentient beings. The general public is outraged about this incident but they are unaware of how many sled dogs are really put down in any given year in this country. Once there is no more need for a dog, the dog is murdered.

Once again the D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation wants to thank you, the media, for making the public aware.

Heather Anderson

D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation

Mark Holland to BC Tory MPs – Senseless dog slaughter case cries out for tougher laws

Mark Holland to BC Tory MPs – Senseless dog slaughter case cries out for tougher laws

Mark Holland, MP for Ajax-Pickering, Public Safety Critic for the Official Opposition

From the Office of Mark Holland, M.P.
Official Opposition Critic for Public Safety

For immediate release: February 3, 2011

OTTAWA – Liberal MP and Public Safety Critic Mark Holland reached out to British Columbia Conservative MPs today, asking for their help to reform weak animal cruelty laws in light of news about a criminal investigation underway into the slaughter of one hundred dogs near Whistler, BC – a case that has shocked and outraged people across the country. Canada’s animal cruelty laws, as currently written, have loopholes that permit known abusers to evade justice after committing egregious acts of cruelty.

“These loopholes in our laws need to be closed at last,” wrote Holland in a letter to all twenty-one BC Conservative MPs.

Holland has had a private member’s bill to amend and strengthen the Criminal Code section dealing with animal cruelty crimes since 2004. Once a Liberal government justice bill, it is presently numbered C?229.

BC Conservative MPs were contacted because the dog slaughter, the nation’s latest high-profile animal cruelty case, had occurred in their home province.

“As government MPs representing British Columbia constituencies, I am hopeful that this tragic case that occurred in your home province will inspire you to work within your own party for real reforms now.”

Holland, as the Liberal Party’s Public Safety Critic, also raised public safety concerns in a bid to appeal to the Conservatives who claim a law and order agenda.

“A clear relationship exists between animal cruelty and other serious types of crimes, including spousal and child abuse, among other horrific violent crimes. By toughening our animal cruelty laws, we have a better chance of apprehending, convicting and rehabilitating abusers, making our communities safer and healthier.”

Holland has tried on several occasions to get the Harper government to take his bill and expedite it through all legislative stages. In 2009, following a horrific animal cruelty case in New Brunswick, he reached out to NB Tory MP Keith Ashfield, after hearing reports that the MP, who currently serves Minister of National Revenue, expressed an interest in Holland’s bill. Ashfield never responded to several calls made by Holland.

Assuaging concerns of partisanship, Holland stated in his letter that this “issue doesn’t fall into an ideological category. The cause for reforming our animal cruelty laws unites voters of both our parties, indeed all Canadians. It’s a real motherhood and apple pie issue.”

Holland closed off his letter appeal by inviting the BC Tory MPs to call him to discuss this issue further.

Full text of letter follows.

For more information:
Karl Maretic, Office of Mark Holland, MP

Letter from Mark Holland to BC Conservative MPs:

Dear [BC Colleagues],

Recent reports concerning the gruesome and senseless slaughter of one hundred husky dogs near Whistler, BC, remind us all that glaring loopholes persist in Canada’s Criminal Code that hinder the work of law enforcement and the courts to successfully prosecute and convict known perpetrators of serious acts of animal cruelty. In fact, only a tiny fraction – less than 1% – of serious animal abuse cases ever see a conviction; a problem that bill S?203 (2008) did nothing to remedy.

These loopholes in our laws need to be closed at last.

I am writing to you today to respectfully ask you to join me in advancing reasonable and responsible reforms to Canada’s outdated animal cruelty laws. The fastest way to do this would be for the government to draft and expedite its own bill, based on the amendments proposed in my private member’s bill C-229. Let’s not wait for more horrific cruelty cases to surface before we do the right thing and get such a bill through Parliament.

Canadians want action to reform animal cruelty laws.

No other issue generates as much letters, phone calls and emails as animal cruelty does. I note that I have received thousands of communications from your constituents alone living in British Columbia, and I suspect you have too. This issue doesn’t fall into an ideological category. The cause for reforming our animal cruelty laws unites voters of both our parties, indeed all Canadians. It’s a real motherhood and apple pie issue.

It’s also a public safety issue. The facts bear this out.

A clear relationship exists between animal cruelty and other serious types of crimes, including spousal and child abuse, among other horrific violent crimes. By toughening our animal cruelty laws, we have a better chance of apprehending, convicting and rehabilitating abusers, making our communities safer and healthier.

Please consider the calls of countless Canadians, including your own constituents, who are sickened by senseless acts of cruelty, like the dog slaughter in B.C., and who are outraged by the state of our weak laws in Canada. As government MPs representing British Columbia constituencies, I am hopeful that this tragic case that occurred in your home province will inspire you to work within your own party for real reforms now.

I invite you to call me to discuss this further.


Mark Holland, MP for Ajax-Pickering,
Public Safety Critic for the Official Opposition

Read Mark’s press release

Read Mark’s press release

Man charged in connection to family dog’s death

Man charged in connection to family dog’s death

Ben in 2010

CALGARY – Charges have been laid in connection with the death of a dog in Kananaskis Country.

On November 29th, Ed and Lorna Thomas took their dog Ben for a walk near Elbow Falls.

Ben went missing and the couple searched for hours, eventually admitting defeat. The next day, Lorna found him caught in hunters snare trap. He died as a result.

A man has been charged with hunting wildlife during a closed season in relation to the event.

The maximum penalty is a fine of $100,000 and/or a 2 year jail sentence.

The man’s name is not being released.

reprinted from Global Edmonton

Province investigating after snare kills family dog

Province investigating after snare kills family dog


Ed and Lorna

The area near Powderface Trail where a dog was killed by a snare Nov. 30 was closed to trapping at the time, Sustainable Resource Development officials said Monday.

Snare traps are not allowed in Management Unit 406 – which includes Powderface Trail near Elbow Falls – from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, said SRD spokesman Darcy Whiteside, with the maximum punishment for trapping out of season a $100,000 fine and two years in jail.


Ed Thomas, 75, and his wife Lorna, 71, were walking their dogs – Ben, an Alaskan malamute, and Sarah, a small mixed-breed – in the area Nov. 30 when Ben suddenly disappeared.

The couple found their dog dead the next morning with a snare cinched around its neck.

After cutting the dog free, the couple led conservation officers to the spot and said they later ran into a man in a white pickup truck – who Ed said admitted to setting the snare – and passed his licence plate on to authorities.

Whiteside confirmed Fish and Wildlife officers are investigating, but could not comment on the specifics of the case or whether any suspects have been identified.

Trapping is more common than people might think, said Whiteside, noting there are 1,500 registered trappers in the province, most of them in the northern half.

There are currently no rules requiring signs be put up to warn people of trap lines in an area, something Ed said needs to change.

“If they had signs up, people wouldn’t take their dogs in there,” he said.

“Even if they’re in there legally or not, they shouldn’t be setting traps while people it as a recreational area.”

SRD Minister Mel Knight weighed in on the issue, saying a balance has to be found between those who use outdoor areas for pleasure and those who use it for their livelihood.

“One of the issues this points out is there is a tremendous amount of activity on the landscape,” he said.

“Trapping is a livelihood that is recognized and is legal and at this time of the year trapping is open.

“I do realize that pet owners, and specifically dog owners would find some of these areas advantageous because they feel they can release (their dogs) so they can go out and get a good run.

“I do feel sympathy for these people and their pet and we will investigate.”

reprinted from Calgary Sun

Blog post | Read Lorna’s account | Global Edmonton

Calgary couple’s dog killed in hunters trap in Kananaskis Country

Calgary couple’s dog killed in hunters trap in Kananaskis Country

Global News: Monday, December 6, 2010


CALGARY – A Calgary couple is warning other dog owners to be careful when bringing their pooches into Kananaskis Country.

For the past three years, Lorna and Ed Thomas have been walking in the woods near Elbow Falls with their Alaskan malamute Ben in tow. However, they’re trio is now one short after what was supposed to be a relaxing day spent in the country.

“The Powderface is going to close at the end of the month, so this would be the last chance we would have to take Ben up there,” says Ed.

On November 29th, the pair headed out to Canyon Creek for a walk. Lorna says they hadn’t ventured far when suddenly Ben was nowhere to be found. After searching for him for some time, Lorna and Ed gave up and went home.

The next day, Lorna returned to the area and followed Ben’s tracks. She found him only 15 metres from where he was last seen.

“He was strangled in a steel cable and my husband couldn’t even cut it,” says Lorna. “It took the ranger three quarters of an hour to get that cable off him. I mean, it was really traumatic for us and I don’t want anybody else to go through that again.”

Fish and Wildlife officers have confirmed that they are investigating the incident but can’t comment if snaring was actually allowed in the area at the time.

Lorna and Ed say they feel like they’ve lost a key member of their family and wonder why the trapper had waited until December 1st, when the road to Canyon Creek closes to the public.

“There was no information to us that there were any traps or anything like that in the area,” says Lorna.

Outdoor enthusiasts near Elbow Falls agree that trapping too close to trails is cause for concern, not only for animals, but for families and small children.

Conservation officials say that while you must have your dog on a leash in recreational areas in provincial parks, in forestry areas such as Canyon Creek, there are no regulations.

TRIAL: May 6, 2010 | 9:30 AM | Alberta Provincial Court in Cochrane | We’ll be there!

reprinted from Global Winnipeg [and Leader Post]

3rd annual Daisy Duke Memorial Benefit

3rd annual Daisy Duke Memorial Benefit


November 8, 2010

The D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation would like help from the media in spreading the word that on Saturday, November 27th at 7:00 p.m. the 3rd annual Daisy Duke Memorial Benefit will be held at the Dover Community Centre, 3133 30 Av. S.E. in Calgary to honor the death of Daisy Duke who was killed in Didsbury in 2006 by his owner and partner in crime by beating, duck taping and dragging Daisy Duke behind their vehicle and leaving her to die on the side of the road. Another purpose of the benefit is to raise money for our rescue and spay/neuter programs.

Bill Bruce from The City of Calgary Bylaw has recently come on board with the D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation. His goal is the same as ours. He wants to see this city as a no kill by collecting the stray cats and altering them. The goal is to re-home them to warehouses, farms, gas stations, etc. He will be attending our event at which time we will be awarding him with a plaque for all he has done for the animals in this city.

The D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation’s mission is to advocate for stricter penalties for animal abusers and to aid in the rescue of abused animals. We also hope to educate the public about the proven link between those who abuse animals and those who abuse humans. We aim to humanely reduce the number of abandoned and unwanted animals with our spay/neuter program.

A little more about the D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation: We are a dedicated group of animal lovers who want the suffering of animals stopped. We need to educate children on how to treat animals and to teach them that animals feel pain and have emotions just like you and I do. We are determined to get the Government’s attention to enact bill C-229. We also assist in bringing the companionship and friendship of animals to people with special needs as it provides them with the unconditional love and attention that an animal can give. We follow animal abuse cases and attend court cases to be the voice for these animals who cannot speak for themselves.

We would like to invite you, the media, to come out our event to support the animals.

Heather Anderson

D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation

Woman allowed injured cat’s leg to fall off

Woman allowed injured cat’s leg to fall off

By Kevin Martin

Leaving her elderly cat’s broken leg untreated for months, until it became gangrenous and fell off, has landed a Calgary woman a $2,000 fine.

And provincial court Judge Bruce Millar on Thursday also slapped Marlene Payne with a lifetime ban on owning pets, despite a Crown request for only a five-year prohibition.

“It seems simple to me that if people can’t look after, or care for a pet, they shouldn’t be pet owners,” Millar said. “In my view you should never own a pet again so there will be a lifetime prohibition.”

Payne, 57, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Animal Protection Act of allowing an animal to suffer, in this case her cat, Simonne.

Crown prosecutor Gord Haight said Payne first brought the feline to a veterinary clinic on July 18, 2009, suffering a leg injury.

She was told by staff the animal likely had a broken leg, but there was no technician present to do an x-ray and she should make an appointment to have it checked later, said Haight.

But Payne never got the injury checked, misunderstanding the instructions and believing the cat’s diagnosis of untreatable diabetes was the greater concern, he said.

But by March 3, of this year the injury had become so badly infected Payne brought the pet in for further treatment and it had to be euthanized, said Haight.

“The cat was in poor body condition, but most significantly was missing its right hind leg,” Haight told Millar.

He said the untreated broken leg from eight months earlier had “become gangrenous and fallen off.”

Defence lawyer Danusia Bourdon, who agreed to speak for the unrepresented Payne, said the city woman believed the diabetes diagnosis on her earlier visit was the greatest concern.

“She understood that the vet’s main concern was not the leg injury, but the diabetes,” said Bourdon, adding the 18-year-old feline was considered a family member.

Payne was told that at that age it would be useless to treat the diabetes with insulin and believed the lost limb was as a result of the disease.

“Looking back now Ms. Payne recognizes that she could and should have gone to a vet sooner.”

Outside court, DAISY Foundation spokeswoman Heather Anderson applauded Millar’s decision to hand Payne a lifetime ban on owning pets. “A leg falling off, that’s not just an abscess that wasn’t taken care of,” Anderson said.

Read the article

Dog owner jailed for animal cruelty

Dog owner jailed for animal cruelty


A pet owner is going to jail for 30 days after flying into an uncontrollable rage when he returned home to find his seven-month-old German shepherd had damaged some furniture.

“What started out as disciplining the dog turned into physical abuse,” Crown prosecutor Gord Haight told court Tuesday after Thomas James Norman, 23, pleaded guilty to causing pain and suffering to the dog, Aurora.

“The dog was beaten to the point it ultimately fractured its femur — one of its legs — and suffered internal injuries, including a bleeding liver,” said Haight.

The prosecutor said once it was clear to Norman and his common-law wife that the dog had suffered significant injuries on July 15, 2008, they took it to the vet.

He said they couldn’t afford treatment, so they surrendered the dog to the Calgary Humane Society.

Norman has been prohibited from owning or possessing animals for two years.

Read more:

Read the article

Fine in cat killing

Fine in cat killing


Delivering a deadly kick to a young cat earned a Calgary man a fine of $1,800 [plus $270 for the victim fine surcharge], community service and a two-year ban on owning animals.

But in a joint submission, Darren Ronald Lesy was given an exception to see the golden retriever, named Harley, allowed to live with him and his wife although the dog’s care and control will be the responsibility of his spouse.

Lesy, who was 23 at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty at an earlier court appearance and was sentenced Wednesday.

In the April 27, 2007, attack, the cat named Sage died after being kicked in the head.

Court heard Lesy was angry at the cat’s inability to control her bowels – after bathing Sage, he discovered fecal matter on her fur prompting him to launch his violent attack.

He had bathed the cat after she urinated inside a Rosehill Dr. N.W. home.

He took Sage to the vet but it was too late for viable resuscitation efforts and the two-year-old cat died of trauma to the upper cervical spinal cord.

Lesy pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge.

Crown prosecutor Richelle Freiheit said such cases typically lead to jail terms but this case has several mitigating factors including Lesy having no prior criminal record, taking the cat to a vet, pleading guilty and taking it upon himself to get counselling.

While she said “he meant to kick the cat … he didn’t mean to kill her.” She said it was a “one-blow situation with a quick death.”

In addition to the hefty fine, he faces six months probation, must do 50 hours community service, and, other than the exception for Harley, is prohibited from owing an animal for two years.

Judge Gerry Meaher, who is bound to accept the joint submission by the Crown and Lesy’s lawyer David Mohr unless he felt it was unreasonable, said it was fitting.

“This was not intentional,” he told the court.

“It was very reckless with very unfortunate consequences.” Brad Nichol, an animal protection investigator at the Calgary Humane Society, said the sentence was acceptable.

“It was a violent act and incarceration was certainly on the table,” he said outside court.

“I agree, there were mitigating factors. I don’t think he is the picture of the accused we usually see, it was a bad decision.” He said it is not unusual to see existing animals allowed by the courts to stay in a home where someone convicted of such a crime lives and “time will tell,” whether Harley-the-dog is at any risk of similar abuse.

“Past behaviour can be a predictor of future behaviour,” Nichols said.

“Time will tell.”

A group of animal rights activists, including some with young children, were in the court – a mainstay at most cases before the courts involving animal cruelty.