Save the Sled Dog: Reform British Columbia's Anti-Cruelty to Animals Law
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UPDATE 04/07/11: The government-appointed task force has submitted recommendations that align with our requests to reform B.C.'s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Premier Clark has stated that the government will act on every recommendation, giving B.C. the strongest anti-cruelty laws in Canada. Now is the time to keep the pressure on to make sure the recommendations are enacted.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture and is an alarmingly ambiguous piece of legislation. Some of the law dates back over 100 years. Dogs and cats are defined strictly as property and there is no regulation in the act addressing businesses that work with animals such as sled dog companies. Without this regulation, a place of business cannot be shut down for acts of cruelty against animals. This legislation is clearly in place only to protect the rights of owners with “animal property”, not the rights of animals.
A recent article by the Vancouver Sun revealed that the Howling Dog Tours manager who killed the dogs tried to contact the BC SPCA for help on two occasions. The BC SPCA didn’t investigate the business and turned down the request to shelter the dogs, claiming the dogs were not adoptable.
A task force has been assembled by BC Premier Gordon Campbell to do a thorough investigation of this case. The outcome of their findings is to be reforms to the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
We must put a stop to animal cruelty by throwing our voices behind new legislation that regulates the roles of all animal welfare stakeholders and closes the loopholes that fail our animals. The BC SPCA and all animal shelters in British Columbia need to be regulated to follow a “rescue and save” plan, not a “seize and kill” plan.
Premier Campbell’s task force will be reporting to Agriculture Minister Ben Stewart with recommendations for reformed legislation by March 25th, 2011. Let’s raise our voices loud and clear for the Whistler 100 to ensure the task force's recommendiations are in favor of animal welfare. There's needs to be real change to the Act and we must pull together and demand that change.
“The question is not, Can they reason? Nor Can they talk, but Can they suffer? ~ English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham
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