Project #9826

Animal Cruelty Legislation

by Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

As the holidays approach many of us are looking forward to spending time with family and friends and with our beloved pets. It is a time of gratitude and reflection, love and compassion.

I was walking my dog Gus after we had a fresh snowfall recently, and it just brought a smile to my face to watch his excitement. But it also reminded me that not every animal has the safety and protection of being part of a loving family - not every animal can count on someone standing up for them when they need it.

That’s why we do the work we do at the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CHFS), we stand up for every animal and I feel blessed to know you have been behind us this year.  Your donations have put me on Parliament Hill fighting to change our woefully inadequate animal cruelty laws.

This year we fought hard for Bill C-246, aimed at updating our dismal animal cruelty laws. Bill C-246 would have protected animals from sexual abuse and shut down dog fighting rings. This bill would have brought Canada’s animal cruelty laws into the 21st century but instead 198 of our elected representatives in the House of Commons voted it down. Now we have to start over.

As a result of this recent vote by our MP’s we will keep seeing horrific cases of animal abuse go unpunished.

This holiday season, I’m asking for your special gift to help us take on the well-funded large, animal use lobby groups with the ear of politicians who sowed seeds of fear claiming things that just weren’t true, blocking Bill C-246.

With your help we can continue to stand up for animals!

Defeating Bill C-246 was not a victory for anyone! I sat in Parliament and watched the vote and I want to let you know it strengthened my resolve to be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves and fight even harder to change these laws. But I can’t do this work without you in our corner.  

Humane societies and SPCAs across Canada investigate an estimated 103,000 animal cruelty complaints each year!   This is within our power to change.

As I look at my own dog Gus and think about how much he is part of our family and how vulnerable he is to abuse, I can’t imagine not keeping the pressure on our MP’s.

We know that you understand that standing up for animals on Parliament Hill ensures we make progress!   

Thanks to your support we have had significant wins in legislation.

  • We secured stiffer penalties in the Criminal Code including an increase from 18 months prison time to a potential five years in jail for those who are cruel to animals.
  • CFHS was also the only animal welfare group on Parliament Hill advocating to establish Quanto’s law.  This law was named for the Edmonton police dog stabbed to death in the line of duty and it gives greater protections to police, military and service animals. In the last year we’ve seen three cases tried under this new law.

I am now meeting with the Justice Minister’s office about their promise to consult the Canadian public and review the animal cruelty provisions in Canada’s Criminal Code. We are demanding immediate action and will ensure these consultations result in real action to improve our antiquated laws.

Just like when we needed you to reach out to your MP’s to voice your support to try and get Bill C-246 approved, we will need you to bring your voice to these consultations when they are scheduled.  

This Bill has likely had more public comment and debate than any other in Canada’s history but we must move forward and take advantage of the public pressure that you helped generate.  I will be working to ensure these consultations result in action to improve our antiquated laws.

You have given us your trust, as Canada’s largest animal welfare movement, to help you achieve what is most important to you.  

I hope you’ll be surrounded by family and friends this holiday season.  Please take a minute to look at your own companion, whether that’s a dog, cat or pot-bellied pig and think about how their life could have been so different if you hadn’t found them.   I wish I could give every animal the protection you give your best friend that keeps them safe.

Can I ask you to take a minute today and make a gift to Canada's largest movement for animal welfare to keep other animals safe?  

Your donation will give us the much needed resources to change Canada's outdated animal welfare laws and to ensure animal abusers receive the maximum sentence possible!   To give every animal a life worth living we need you! 

I wish you and your family love and comfort this holiday season.  

Barbara Cartwright

CEO, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

P.S. Animal abusers are escaping criminal conviction for extreme acts of cruelty against animals, like skinning a cat alive, starving a dog to death or committing acts of bestiality.  You have told us loud and clear you want this to be a priority in our work. Your donation means I can do that by being on Parliament hill to fight to update animal cruelty

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) continues to work on meaningful updates to the Criminal Code of Canada with regards to animal cruelty, transportation regulations and on-farm standards for egg laying hens.

Your support has allowed us to work on 3 areas over the past few months where we know that we can make meaningful changes to ensure animals have a life worth living.

Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act moves to second hour of debate in the House of Commons on September 28th. We have been meeting with the Justice Minister’s office, the Agriculture Minister and with several key MPs including three cabinet Ministers to discuss not only C-246 but animal welfare and legislation in general.

A new child pornography and bestiality case emerged at the end of August in Ontario. CFHS has written a letter to the Minister of Justice highlighting that three such cases have come forward in the last 18 months across Canada and continuing to urge the Liberals to update the bestiality clause in the Criminal Code to ensure animals are protected from all sexual abuse.  As Canadian’s we are loathe to admit that bestiality happens in our country and often coincides with child sexual abuse.  The link between these two crimes is proven, yet in our attempts to get this link on the radar screen, we’ve heard crickets – from the public, the media and the federal government.  In fact our laws on bestiality are now weaker than they’ve ever been.  

Canada’s outdate Transportation Regulations are under public scrutiny with the high profile case of Anita Kranjc, criminally charged in Ontario for giving water to pigs on the way into a slaughter plant . CFHS has been in contact with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture. The responses vary but there is a suggestion that updates to the Transport Regulations will be released by the end of 2016.  

I’ll cut right to the chase, Canada is failing it’s animals, and it’s time for change.

There is a strong and sustained will on the part of the Canadian people to see that justice is done for animals in this country.  If we all work together and raise our voices, the changes that are needed will be possible.

Your continued support of Canada’s largest movement for animal welfare ensures we have the resources to change Canada’s outdated animal welfare laws and to ensure that animal abusers receive the maximum sentence possible.


Puppy at risk
Puppy at risk

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies is shocked by the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on Thursday of last week in which they ruled 6-1 that bestiality is only illegal if it involves acts of penetration. This horrifying loophole will remain open unless Parliament takes action to create a broader definition of bestiality under the Criminal Code of Canada. This is one of the amendments proposed by Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act, which is currently before Parliament.    To take action and work to ensure this bill is passed we need your support!

As the leader of Canada’s largest animal welfare community we are best positioned to represent you.  CFHS helped draft this bill and we have been meeting with MP’s for months and talking to the Canadian public but our voice now needs to be even louder.

Bill C-246 offers us a timely opportunity to address this egregious loophole in Canadian law.  Bestiality used to be a legal grey area, but we’re now facing a serious vulnerability for animals. We’ll likely see an increase in the sexual exploitation of animals as a result of this ruling. Parliament must act to right this wrong now.

The Liberal Government has said it wants to kill Bill C-246 in favour of a larger review of the whole Criminal Code – blatantly ignoring the fact that this Bill emerged out of a Parliamentary review of animal cruelty in Canada and has been debated for almost 20 years.  They also say the Bill requires more “public comment” – ignoring the fact that this Bill is the very same Bill that has been before Parliament no less than 13 times in the last 16 years, passed through the House of Commons 3 times and made it to third reading in the Senate. Every time it fell victim to the same animal use industry lobby and delay tactics – stalling until Parliament called an election each time. This Bill has likely had more public comment and debate than any other in Canada’s history.

There is a strong and sustained will on the part of the Canadian people to see that justice be done for animals in this country. If we all work together and raise our voices in support of this bill, the change that animals need will be possible.

Your support can go even further tomorrow June 15th thanks to Global Giving’s Bonus Day.  Starting at 9 a.m. EDT until the funds run out your donation will be matched to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies by 40% and we will have two chances to win an extra $1,000.00 if we have the highest number of donors that day or the most funds.

We are only $6,545.00 from our goal which would allow us to focus on working with the public to make these changes happen to Canada’s antiquated animal welfare laws.   If we receive just $3,927.00 from our donors the match would help us hit our goal.   Can you help us reach our goal?  Please donate early!


Your support is paying off and while it may seem like a slow process we are making changes that will have lasting impact on animal welfare in Canada.

Thanks to your donations, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies has been working hard to press to modernize Canada’s outdated and inadequate animal welfare laws.   We can report to you that this work has reached a critical point.

We have to act now if we want to take advantage of the best chance we’ve had to modernize Canada’s animal welfare laws in over 100 years!   

On February 25, 2016 MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith brought a bill to the floor of the House of Commons that will ensure those who abuse or hurt animals get the maximum sentence possible and that all animals have a humane life and death.   Bill C-246 is an opportunity that we must act on now!  

Already fellow MP’s and special interest groups are publicly making comments that are designed to cloud the issue and confuse the public.   Those who support the bill are being called radicals and being accused of trying to destroy traditional ways of life and end all animal consumption in Canada.   Instead of focusing on making an animal’s life worth living they are focusing on interpretations and future unintended consequences of giving animals protection.

The CFHS is taking a leadership role in not only advocating for this bill to pass on Parliament Hill but in educating Canadians on how to show their support and what this bill really means.   This means not only being on Parliament Hill to answer questions for our MP's but also we need to be in front of the Canadian Public talking about the importance of these proposed changes. 

Modernizing the Criminal Code of Canada is long overdue and it is one of the most important steps we can take to ensure those who abuse or hurt animals get the maximum sentence possible and that all animals have a humane life and death.

What does Bill C-246 do for animals? 

  • It closes loopholes making it illegal to breed or train animals to fight
  • It stops people from profiting from animal fighting
  • It creates a gross negligence offence for animal cruelty making it easier to prosecute cases such as deplorable puppy mill conditions, where it can be difficult to provide that the owners wilfully intended to neglect the animals or cause harm.
  • It creates a new offence for killing an animal “brutally or viciously” regardless of whether the animal dies immediately.   You’ve heard in the news about the case of the owner who killed his dog with a baseball bat and was acquitted by the judge because the dog died immediately without suffering.  This provision closes that loophole.
  • It increases the penalty for repeat animal cruelty offences and it lets judges ban abusers from owning an animal for life!
  • It defines bestiality as sexual conduct between a human being and an animal so sexual abuse of animals can be prosecuted no matter what the act and will not be legalized because of an interpretation of the law.

Bill C-246 is an opportunity that we must act on now!  

Right now, we estimate there are more than 10 million cats and almost 6 million dogs in Canada.  More than 696 million animals are raised every year in our country for food. 

Canada offers virtually no protection for wild and stray animals and severe and on-going neglect of farm animals continues to be tolerated.

If we don’t speak for them who will?

Your donations allow us to educate the Canadian Public and mobilize them to be active and to reach out to their MP's to fight hard to modernize Canada's animal welfare laws.   


Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill

You have already shown your dedication to helping improve conditions for animals in Canada – whether they are on the farm, in the wild, used in research, or our companions at home!

We want you to know your donation made 2015 a landmark year! Together, we are making Canada a more humane nation, and your support will keep that momentum going.

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) turns 60 next year and we are proud to be Canada’s national organization representing SPCAs and Humane Societies in your local communities – some of the oldest and most trusted organizations in our country.

It’s not always easy being at the forefront of animal welfare in Canada. We have to change attitudes, confront cultural beliefs and stay focused on the big picture to make lasting changes. Your gift means so much, even more than you may realize!

2016 is just beginning but already we are working closely with one of our newly elected MPs to bring in a bill to update the Criminal Code of Canada. We expect to see it hit the floor in the next couple of weeks.  We are also working with two senators to bring bills forward to ban cruel and unnecessary cosmetic testing and to end the captivity of whales and dolphins.

Sadly, almost every day we hear stories about animals being abused. Canada’s federal animal cruelty legislation hasn’t been adequately updated since 1892, but our relationship with animals has changed dramatically in the last 124 years – and we need to protect them with strong, modern laws.

We saw the results of our work just this week when a 32-year-old Ontario man, Michael Earl Hill, received the highest sentence possible imposed for animal cruelty. The sentence of 2 years in federal prison and a 25-year-ban on having pets was issued for taping a dog’s muzzle shut with electrical tape, binding its legs and leaving it to die in a field. This sentence is the second time in two years that a full, 2-year imprisonment penalty was given, which means we’re making good progress. Do you remember the case of Breezy, a black Labrador-shepherd mix brutally and viciously beaten by Steven Helfer of Ottawa in September, 2013? Our work to update the Criminal Code was cited by the judge when she handed down the first 2-year prison sentence for animal cruelty. What we’re doing is working – we’re changing minds and evolving expectations.

As CEO of the Federation, I am proud of how much we are accomplishing together.  I wanted to send you a special thank you because you see that making change happen is not a short-term goal. It will take all of us working over a number of years to create the changes we want to see.



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Organization Information

Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

Location: Ottawa, ON - Canada
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Barbara Cartwright
Ottawa, ON Canada

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