Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Animal welfare issues an election issue in Canada

The Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC is urging everybody to make animal welfare a primary issue in Canada's Federal Election.  We need to protect all our animals; we need to speak out on their behalf.  Contact your candidates and give animals your voice on October 14, 2008.  WSPA has a petition you can sign:

Target: Leaders of the Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic, Green and Bloc Quebecois Parties
Sponsored by:
World Society of the Protection of Animals (2009 renamed World Animal Protection)

Dear [Decision maker],

Animals matter to me. They also matter to millions of Canadians who own companion animals, and to the veterinarians and farmers who depend on animals for their livelihoods. So, I'd like to know what you and your party will do to better protect animals from cruelty and abuse and to raise standards for animal welfare in Canada and around the world.

In particular, I'd like to know how you stand on two issues of great concern to me: Canada's support for the achievement of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) at the United Nations and support for further amendments to Canada's animal cruelty laws under the Criminal Code of Canada.

The campaign to achieve a UDAW at the United Nations is strong and growing. The World Organization for Animal Health, comprised of the Chief Veterinary Officers from 172 countries, including Canada, passed a resolution in May of 2007 supporting the development of a UDAW. This past July, the World Veterinary Association, representing veterinarians around the world passed a similar resolution. The UDAW effort is also supported by the World Society for the Protection of Animals which represents more than 900 humane societies and other animal protection organizations in more than 150 countries. More than 1.5 million people, including more than 50,000 Canadians have signed petitions in support of a UDAW.

Such an agreement would recognize that animals have the capacity to feel pain and suffer and that their welfare deserves consideration and respect. It is hoped that this would serve as a catalyst to encourage and enable governments to implement national animal protection legislation and initiatives.

I hope you and your party will commit to supporting this important international initiative. At the same time I would like to see you work with the other parties to bring about real and meaningful improvements to Canada's own animal protection legislation. The animal cruelty provisions under the Criminal Code are woefully inadequate and have not been significantly revised since 1892.

While recently passed amendments under Bill S-203 will raise maximum penalties for some animal cruelty offences, this will not address the problem that only 1% of animal cruelty investigations in Canada result in a conviction under the Criminal Code. Loopholes in our legislation remain, which allow the vast majority of offenders to escape punishment. It is truly shameful to know that Canada continues to lag behind the Ukraine, Philippines and other developing countries when it comes to the laws which protect animals from cruelty.

Will you, as leader of your party, commit to making Canada a leader in animal welfare?
Will you support the international initiative to achieve a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare?
Will you support strengthening the animal cruelty provisions under the Criminal Code of Canada?


Responses (or lack thereof) from the Liberals, Conservatives, Green, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois indicated that animal welfare is not a priority!


BC civic elections are coming up in November.  Again, get your candidates their position on animal welfare issues and attend council meetings. Pet stores, backyard breeders, feral cat programs, pet sterilization, strays, and licencing are some issues that need to be addressed.  Animal rights, welfare, and legislation are on peoples' minds and our politicians need to know this.  Look at the situation with how Kelowna's feral rabbit population has been (mis)handled.  It's stirred up international outrage.  

A year later, November 2009 Update to Animals Matter to Me

Comment: The gruesome way in which this rabbit met his/her end highlights the need for Canada to strengthen federal anti-cruelty laws.  Proving “wilfful intent” is virtually impossible under the Criminal Code, leaving perpetrators to get away with horrendous crimes to “unowned” animals.  The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act does not apply to “wildlife,” under BC’s Wildlife Act.

Mammals, like domestic rabbits released into the environment, are placed in “Class C” regulations, a classification that is afforded very little (or no) protection.  There were recent amendments made to the Act, but no legislation that would protect introduced or alien species, which is the current status of the European rabbit.  They are not included under the “Definition of Domestic Animal.”

The Ministry of Environment has not removed inappropriate terms like “pest” or “nuisance” wildlife from the Act, which is another concern.   Lack of training, regulations, and enforcement of the “pest” control industry in BC must be regulated and subject to standards and regulations. 

The contractor, a retired police officer, hired by EBB to annihilate the Kelowna rabbits was granted a permit by the RCMP.  OUR MUNICIPAL, PROVINCIAL, AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION ALL NEEDS TO CHANGE.  BE THE ONE TO SPEAK OUT.

Related Issue: No laws to protect Canadian livestock rabbits

November 30, 2014 Canada given 'D' rating in animal protection, welfare; 2020 Canada gets failing grade again! **************

Read more: Animal rights moves forward in Europe; AW Party wins; AU under pressure, Canada lags behind; time for an Animal Charter of Rights & Freedoms; WTO hinders global progress

May 16/16 Ontario Green Party members voted overwhelmingly in favour of four separate policy resolutions related to animal protection, including one that adopts key measures in Animal Justice’s Animal Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is an Animal Bill of Rights, which recognizes that nonhuman animals are sentient and deserve legal rights, including the right to be represented in court.

December 2017 Canada ranked 45th out of 50 countries in animal cruelty index; updates Voiceless index (VACI)


NWT, Nunavut in dog house for lax animal rights laws 

CTV.ca News Staff, Thursday Jun. 10, 2010  

The Northwest Territories and Nunavut have the worst animal protection laws in Canada, a California-based animal-rights group says in a new report card.  

The Animal Legal Defense Fund's says the two territories are the "best places" to be if you're an animal abuser, because convictions for animal abuse there carry minimal fines, and the territories have weak laws when it comes to seizing abused animals. Animals in Alberta and Quebec also have rotten legal protection, the group alleges in its report card.  

Animals in Ontario, meanwhile, enjoy the best protection in Canada, the ALDF says, which ranked the province in the top spot. It applauded, in particular, Ontario's mandatory restrictions on future ownership of animals for those convicted of animal cruelty.  

Here's the full ranking list: 

Top Tier:

  • 1. Ontario
  • 2. Nova Scotia
  • 3. Manitoba
  • 4. New Brunswick

Middle Tier:

  • 5. Yukon
  • 6. British Columbia
  • 7. Saskatchewan
  • 8. Prince Edward Island
  • 9. Newfoundland and Labrador

Bottom Tier:

  • 10. Alberta
  • 11. Quebec
  • 12. Northwest Territories, Nunavut (tie)

To create the reports card, the ALDF says it conducted a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection laws of each province and territory, ranking them on the relative strength and general comprehensiveness of their animal protection laws.

The group says New Brunswick showed the most significant improvement overall, moving from the bottom tier last year to fourth best in the country this year. New Brunswick moved up after enacting some of Canada's stiffest penalties for cruelty offences.  

Abusers there now face fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment for up to 18 months. By comparison, animal abusers in Alberta – which the ALDF ranked in the bottom tier -- can be fined only up to $20,000, and abusers can't be incarcerated under provincial law.

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.  

Stephan Otto, ALDF director of legislative affairs and report author, said Alberta ranked sixth in 2008, ninth last year, and now 10th, because the province is simply not keeping up with other provinces in strengthening its laws.  He called for all provinces to update their animal protection laws and enforcement abilities.  

"We continue to see significant disparity across the provinces and territories," Otto said in a news release. "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."  

ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives of animals through the legal system.

2012 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings   2013 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings

2014 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings - sentient legislation motivates change

2015 Canadian Animal Protection Law Rankings (by ALDF)

Green Party Canada Animal Protection Platform

Humane Canada - Animals & the Law

The Declaration of Animal Rights - a project of international animal rights and planet conservation group Our Planet. Theirs Too - was drafted in May 2011 and publicly read and signed on June 3rd of the same year, on the 1st National Animal Rights Day in the US, in the city of New York.
The Declaration was copied onto a large scroll of paper, which since then has been traveling the world and collecting people's signatures, drawings and notes. It is now 300 meters (1,000 feet) long, with more than 20,000 signatures! Once it reaches 50,000 signatures, the scroll will be sent to the White House, the UN, The EU Parliament and other world leaders, in order to show them what we, the citizens of this world, think of our fellow animals and their rights. We will do this until The Declaration of Animal Rights is recognized all over the world, and the rights proclaimed in it are protected by global law!
You can read and sign The Declaration of Animal Rights here.

Read more: 2018 U.S. Animal Protection Laws State Rankings (by ALDF)