Project #9826

Animal Cruelty Legislation

by Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

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continued support of Canada’s largest movement for animal welfare ensures we have the resources to change Canada’s outdated animal welfare laws and to ensure that animal abusers receive the maximum sentence possible.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


Edmonton Police Dog Quanto in action
Edmonton Police Dog Quanto in action

Thanks to your support of our work to update animal cruelty legislation in Canada, it is now an offence to “wilfully and without lawful excuse, kill, maim, wound, poison or injure a law enforcement animal while it is aiding a law enforcement officer in carrying out that officer’s duties; a military animal while it is aiding a member of the Canadian Forces in carrying out that member’s duties; or a service animal.  Bill C-35 has become LAW!

With your donation, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) has been able to ensure Bill C-35, better known as Quanto’s Law, passed before parliament dissolved for the election.

Quanto, a police dog, was stabbed to death chasing down a suspect in an Edmonton parking lot in 2013.  His assailant received 26 months in prison after pleading guilty to six charges, including one for killing Quanto.  At that time the toughest available charge was animal cruelty, and the assailant’s short sentence prompted concerns about the limited laws around service animal cruelty.

With public support behind us CFHS jumped into action. We met Members of Parliament and Senators, consulted with the Justice Minister, hosted events highlighting the importance of the law and spoke in both the House of Commons and the Senate.

C-35 put in place a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for anyone wilfully injuring or killing animals protected under the new law and a minimum mandatory sentence of six months for those convicted of killing such an animal.  The law applies to police animals, military animals and service animals that assist people with disabilities, removing them from the property section of the criminal code.

At the CFHS we understand and appreciate the bond between human and animals.  We promote respect and humane treatment of all animals believing they should be provided with the highest levels of protection to ensure their health, welfare, and safety. The animals covered in Bill C-35 protect us and provide us a multitude of services.  These are jobs that they do willingly, and sometimes, they make the ultimate sacrifice.

We thank you and celebrate this success with you!   A new Federal government means we need to move quickly forward and ensure more updates are made to our archaic criminal code.  Quanto’s Law is a great first step to protect some animals.  Your support is needed to continuing making changes and to ensure protection for all animals.  

Please subscribe to Humane News for updates on this and other stories on animal welfare and please support our critical work in creating a more Humane Canada.



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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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