2016 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings

Posted on July 21, 2016

Manitoba Holds the Top Position, Nunavut Ranked Last

For immediate release:

Natalia Lima, Animal Legal Defense Fund, nlima@aldf.org, 201-679-7088

OTTAWA — Manitoba holds its place as the province with the strongest animal protection laws in Canada—and Nunavut comes in dead last, according to a recently released report by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals. For nine years, the nonprofit group has released the report, the only one of its kind in Canada, ranking each jurisdiction’s animal protection laws. The ranking is based on a detailed comparative analysis of the legislation of each province and territory. Each jurisdiction is attributed a numerical ranking based upon its cumulative score and is grouped into a top, middle, or bottom tier.

Download the 2016 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Ranking (PDF)
Download the 2016 Rankings Map (PDF)

Top ranked Manitoba features prohibitions related to animal fighting and protects all animals from psychological harm. There is no provincial breed specific legislation, and it is required that veterinarians report suspected animal cruelty. Manitoba also has increased penalties for repeat cruelty offenders. Despite being ranked the best jurisdiction for animals in Canada, there is still plenty of room to grow.  For example, instituting mental health evaluations and counseling for cruelty offenders would go a long way toward better protecting animals and citizens.

Animal lovers in Nunavut have many reasons to demand change. The territory is at the bottom of the rankings in 13th place. While Nunavut can be proud of the fact that cruelty offenders can be incarcerated, it offers very few other protections for animals. However, there are a multitude of ways in which the territory can improve, most importantly by expanding protections beyond dogs to other species. Additionally, Nunavut should establish standards of basic care, increase the range of protections, and offer immunity to anyone who reports suspected animal cruelty.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund encourages those who care about animal protection 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.

Since the Animal Legal Defense Fund first published 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 a wide range of disparity across the country, with some jurisdictions making substantial steps forward, and others lagging behind. Even in the top tier, every province and territory has ample room for improvement.  “We are hopeful that these reports will help garner support for strengthening and enforcement of animal protection laws throughout the country,” says Steven Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Annual Animal Protection Laws Rankings Reports

Canada: 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

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