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Criminal Code amendments

The CFHS has been calling on the government to amend the animal cruelty sections of the Criminal Code of Canada for more than 25 years. In 1999, the government launched a consultation process to gather input on what changes were needed to the animal cruelty provisions, which were originally enacted in 1892. In December 1999, then Justice Minister Anne McLellan tabled Bill C-17 in the House of Commons.

Bill C-17 died shortly after it was introduced, due to an election call early in 2000. Over the next five years, the Liberal government repeatedly brought the bill forward, but it repeatedly died due to prorogation of Parliament. Over those years, the bill was named Bill C-15, C-15B, C-10, C-10B, C-22, and C-50. In 2003, Bill C-10B came extremely close to passing, when it was supported by all parties in the House, but the Senate stood in its way.

Once the Conservative Party was in power, Member of Parliament Mark Holland brought forward a private member’s bill in October 2006 that was virtually identical to Bill C-50. Mr. Holland retabled his bill repeatedly as it died with prorogation. In addition, the NDP tabled its own bill, C-558, in June, 2008.

In February 2005, Liberal Senator John Bryden from New Brunswick, tabled Bill S-24. This bill took the entire penalties section from the Liberal government bill, but made no changes to the offences. The CFHS and other animal protection groups strongly opposed this bill. So did the Canadian public – a petition with almost 112,000 signatures was tabled in the House of Commons in 2007 opposing Senator Bryden’s bill. The introduction of this bill changed things dramatically, as most industry groups supported the Senator’s bill. This bill also fell victim to parliamentary prorogation three times, but Senator Bryden retabled it as Bill S-203 and then S-213. It ultimately passed through The Senate and the House and was enacted in June 2008.

Look below to read what happened with all these bills.

Click here to view the full text of the current animal cruelty provisions of the current Criminal Code (with S-203 implemented).

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