2014 Canadian Animal Protection Laws RankingsPosted on June 15, 2014
Based on a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection laws of each jurisdiction, the 2014 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings recognizes the provinces and territories where laws protecting animals have real teeth, and calls out those like Quebec—the worst in Canada this year for animal protection laws—where animal abusers get off easy.
ALDF’s seventh annual report, the only one of its kind in the nation, ranks every province and territory on the relative strength and general comprehensiveness of its animal protection laws. Manitoba, British Columbia, and Ontario take top honors in 2014 for providing strong protections for animals.
Canada Must Strengthen Its Animal Protection Legislation
Animal Legal Defense Fund Annual Study Ranks Laws across the Country
No Improvement in 2014; Investigations Highlight Need for Farmed Animal Protections
A new in-depth study released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) confirms the wide disparity that currently exists across the country in terms of provincial and territorial animal protection legislation. ALDF’s seventh annual report, the only one of its kind in Canada, ranks each jurisdiction on the relative strength and comprehensiveness of its animal protection laws. The ranking is based on a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection legislation of each province and territory, focusing on sixty study questions spanning eleven categories. Each jurisdiction is attributed a numerical ranking based upon its cumulative score and is grouped into a top, middle, or bottom tier.
For the first time since ALDF began publishing its Canadian animal protection laws rankings, no improvements were noted since last year’s report. Indeed, the rankings are identical to those of 2013. Thus, Ontario continues to occupy the top tier, along with Manitoba, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. Quebec holds its position as the province with the weakest animal protection legislation. It is joined in the bottom tier by Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, which remains the worst jurisdiction in Canada when it comes to animal protection.
Despite this complete absence of improvements to Canada’s animal protection legislation, this past year has been an important one for animals in Canada, particularly for farmed animals. The nonprofit organization Mercy for Animals Canada conducted a total of four undercover investigations into factory farms across the country, including an egg-laying facility in Alberta, a turkey operation in Ontario, a hatchery in Ontario, and, most recently, a veal farm in Quebec. These investigations exposed serious concerns regarding the treatment of animals raised on factory farming operations in Canada, underscoring the importance of proving adequate protection for farmed animals under the law. Currently, only a single province in Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador–prescribes mandatory standards of care for farmed animals. In all other jurisdictions, agricultural activities are expressly exempted from provincial animal protection legislation. Though the exact scope of these exemptions varies from one province to the next, they all allow the agricultural industry to determine on its own what constitutes acceptable treatment of animals, thus essentially enabling the industry to regulate itself. As highlighted by the disturbing footage obtained by Mercy for Animals Canada in the past year, this system falls far short of affording farmed animals any kind of basic protection.
Since ALDF began publishing these rankings in 2008, there has been a marked improvement in the laws of many provinces and territories, and more advances are on the way. However, there continues to be considerable differences across the country, with some jurisdictions making substantial steps forward, and others lagging behind. Irrespective of its current rank, every province and territory has ample room for improvement. It is ALDF’s hope that Canada’s provinces and territories will use these ongoing reviews continue to shed light on this important issue and garner support for both the strengthening and enforcement of animal protection laws throughout the country.
ALDF encourages those who care about the welfare and protection of animals to contact their elected officials about the importance of having strong, comprehensive laws in this field, and to alert law enforcement should they ever witness animal abuse or neglect.
For additional information, including the Animal Protection Laws of the USA & Canada compendium, ALDF’s Model Animal Protection Laws collection, and more, visit aldf.org.
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