BY SAMREH OSBORNE
A private member’s bill seeking to update Canada’s animal cruelty laws failed to pass last week in the House of Commons.
Oakville MP John Oliver was a supporter of Bill C246, which was aimed at modernizing animal protections. The bill would have toughened laws on the import of shark fins into Canada, and helped close legal loopholes on abusive puppy mills, animal fighting, and prohibit sales of textiles made of dog and cat skin and fur.
“After carefully considering the options and reading the many hundreds of pieces of correspondence that I have received from concerned constituents, it is clear to me that I must support the proposed legislation,” wrote Oliver in a press release last week. “I would like to thank everyone in Oakville who took the time to write to me to thoughtfully express their concerns over this Bill.”
More than 34,000 people signed an online petition supporting the anti-cruelty bill. The petition was created in the spring by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and Humane Society International.
The bill would have closed the numerous loopholes that hinder the prosecution of animal cruelty in the community, said the head of the Oakville and Milton Humane Society (OMHS).
“Those who abuse or neglect animals need to be help accountable,” said Kim Millan, OMHS executive director.
“The vote for second reading was scheduled for last Wednesday (Oct. 5) evening. It did not pass,” said Oliver’s constituency assistant, Fiona Fraser.
The Modernizing Animal Protections Act has not been substantially changed since 1892, Sheila Malcolmson, MP Nanaimo-Ladysmith B.C. said during a House of Commons debate last month.
The bill was defeated due to some politicians’ concerns that it went too far.
“The problem here is that what constitutes recklessness is not clearly defined. Would hitting an animal with a car constitute reckless harm or suffering? We have all hit animals, or most of us have, if we drive in rural Canada. Would hitting an animal cause reckless harm or suffering? I do not think so. It is not intentional, but accidents happen,” Larry Miller, MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, said during the debate.
He added that the bill possibly could put an end to the number of farming, hunting, fishing and trapping traditions across Canada.