New Democrat MP Olivia Chow has launched a petition to amend the laws regarding animals.
Petition to the House of Commons:
- Animals are sentient beings, capable of feeling pain, and are not property;
- Stray and wild animals are not sufficiently protected by animal cruelty laws under the property section of the Criminal Code;
- It is imperative that those who abuse animals face conviction and significant penalty;
- Loopholes in existing legislation too often allow those who abuse animals to escape penalty;
THEREFORE, we call upon the government of Canada to:
- recognize animals as beings that can feel pain and move animal cruelty crimes from the property section of the Criminal Code.
- strengthen the language of federal animal cruelty law in order to close loopholes that allow abusers to escape penalty.
You can sign and share the petition here. (EDIT: link deleted since the original page has disappeared.)
A similar petition—supported by many celebrities—has been launched in Québec asking for the legal recognition of animals in the Civil Code. Please visit the website animalsarenotobjects.ca. You can sign the petition even if you are not resident of the province of Québec.
What do you think of these initiatives? Are they going in the right direction? Or are there risks in creating an intermediate category between “things” and “persons” that would still tolerate the exploitation of animals?