Tag Archives: Animals and the Law

Willful Ignorance is the Real Crime

Yikes – it’s been nearly three months since I’ve written a blog post. There’s been no good reason for it, although I did start a new job two weeks ago so my schedule has changed quite a bit.  Mainly my lack of writing has been a combination of procrastination and feeling overwhelmed. One thing I am never far from as a vegan is the awareness of animal suffering. It’s everywhere – in ads, in movies, in conversation, and yet their suffering is made invisible through euphemisms (e.g., “pork” and “beef”) or conveniently ignoring animals as the original victim despite humans often claiming to know how it feels to suffer as they do (e.g., “we were treated like animals”).  Sometimes I go through bouts of not being able to process any of it at all, feeling completely incapacitated by the sheer scale of the issues surrounding animals and their current place of value and low priority in our world. Continue reading

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The Fear of Change

You may or may not know this (I didn’t until I was vegan) but all animals are considered property under the Criminal Code of Canada.  That means that if I had a neighbour who had a dog that they left outside in all kinds of weather and was clearly neglected, if I took that dog out of their yard and gave them food and shelter, I could be charged with property theft or mischief under $5,000.  In that scenario, because the animal was a dog, I would likely have the public on my side and may even avoid charges. But were that a farm animal – good luck.  Anita Krajnc of Toronto Pig Save is currently facing the latter charge for giving water to a pig on a hot truck destined for the slaughterhouse. Though Canada does have animal cruelty laws in place, they also reside under the Property Section of the Criminal Code and not much has been updated since 1892.  Yes, you read that correctly – not 1992. 1892.

Provinces all over Canada have been looking to change that, for several years, and I wrote briefly about Alberta’s efforts back in 2014 to move animals out from under the property section of the criminal code. This would allow for tougher sentencing and/or fines to those who willfully abuse and neglect animals and would allow for the welfare and treatment of animals to be better represented under the law, especially since animals can hardly represent themselves when they’ve been harmed or violated. Continue reading

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The Unspoken Prejudice

I generally don’t write a lot about cruelty cases towards cats and dogs unless it’s to compare the difference in how cruelty towards them versus the animals we eat is generally viewed.  It’s not that cats and dogs don’t need the attention or are immune from suffering at the hands of their owners – far from it.  It’s just that when they are found to be abused, it’s one outcry I don’t feel I need to add my voice to. Stories of animal cruelty that make the headlines involving dogs and cats are usually met with an instant public outpouring of anger and a call to action, having been long-established that it is socially unacceptable to abuse them. What I’m more interested in is A) despite it being socially repugnant to abuse cats and dogs, why do people still do it? and B) why do we continue to view the mistreatment of “pet” animals as any different from the animals we consider to be otherwise? Continue reading

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