Oh Canada

Posted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on May 26, 2009

Canada and the U.S.A. share many things in common, and a growing interest in animal law is one of them. Canada especially has been on a bit of an animal law tear recently. Last week we released our second annual animal protection laws rankings report which highlights the best and worst provinces and territories. The report received positive coverage across the country – from Prince Edward Island to the Yukon Territory.

In a dramatic move, Ontario, which last year had the infamous distinction as “the best place to be an animal abuser,” shot to the top of this year’s rankings due to the passage of a host of legislative improvements. Ontario’s newly strengthened laws were recently put to use when a convicted offender was banned for life from possessing animals. Prior to the newly enacted legislation, which took effect in March, Ontario courts had no statutory source for such a prohibition. Among many other improvements, Ontario became the first province to require veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse – a provision already the law in many states. In an encouraging trend, other provinces and territories are actively considering ways to strengthen their laws as well and may move up in next year’s rankings.  

However, the emerging field of Canadian animal law is not simply limited to legislation. Currently, seven law schools are offering courses in animal law, and the very first animal law conference in Canada was held last week in Montreal at the University of Quebec. ALDF co-sponsored this successful event and our very own Dana Campbell was one of the many presenters.

A big hat tip to Canada – and our hope for continued good news on the animal law front. 

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