New Study Names Canada’s “Best Places to be an Animal Abuser”

Posted on June 9, 2010

Northwest Territories and Nunavut Worst for Animals, Ontario Takes Top Honors in Animal Legal Defense Fund’s 2010 Report

For immediate release

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund  
Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund

SAN FRANCISCO – Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Quebec are the best provinces and territories in Canada to be an animal abuser, according to a new report released today by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). Based on a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection laws of each jurisdiction, researching twelve distinct categories of provisions throughout hundreds of pages of statutes, the report recognizes the provinces and territories where laws protecting animals have real teeth, and calls out those like the Northwest Territories and Nunavut–tied again for worst in Canada this year for animal protection laws–where animal abusers get off easy. ALDF’s third 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. For the second year in a row, Ontario held the top spot in the rankings due to its wide array of animal protection laws; New Brunswick showed the most significant improvement overall, moving from the bottom tier last year to fourth best in the country this year.

2010 rankings map

1. Ontario
Nova Scotia
3. Manitoba
4. New Brunswick
5. Yukon
British Columbia
7. Saskatchewan
8. Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland & Labrador
10. Alberta
12. Northwest Territories, Nunavut (tie)

Why are some provinces and territories in the dog house when it comes to getting tough on animal abusers? The legislative weaknesses seen in the jurisdictions at the bottom of the animal protection barrel include minimal fines and other penalties for offenders, a limited range of protections, and a lack of basic care standards for animals. On the other end of the spectrum, New Brunswick skyrocketed from the bottom to top tier for animal protection laws after enacting some of Canada’s stiffest penalties for cruelty offences–abusers in New Brunswick now face fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment for up to eighteen months. Nova Scotia overtook Manitoba as the second best province due to a host of new laws including better standards of care for animals, stronger penalties and requiring veterinarians to report suspected offences; Yukon also showed progress, moving up from seventh to fifth place this year.

“We continue to see significant disparity across the provinces and territories,” says Stephan Otto, ALDF’s director of legislative affairs and author of the report. “Animals do not vote, but those who love and care about them do. It is our hope that these ongoing reviews continue to garner support for both the strengthening and enforcement of animal protection laws throughout Canada.”

The full report, including a rankings map and overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the animal protection laws of each province and territory, is available for download. ALDF’s latest edition of the “Animal Protection Laws of the U.S.A. and Canada” compendium (on which the report is principally based), is also available.

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