Nunavut ranks last, again, in animal welfare report
Stronger protection required, says Animal Legal Defence Fund
Nunavut is letting its animals down.
That’s the message from the latest 2015 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings from the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
“Quebec continues to occupy the bottom tier when it comes to animal protection, along with Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut,” the rankings report said.
This is the eighth year the Animal Legal Defense Fund has published a “detailed comparative analysis” of laws in each Canadian jurisdiction.
And it’s the seventh year in a row Nunavut has come either last or tied for last in the national rankings.
Manitoba has the strongest animal protection legislation, followed by Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Ontario, the report states.
The report has 21 “potential improvements” Nunavut can make.
Among those include:
• principal protections applicable to wider range of species, not just dogs;
• prohibitions related to animal fighting;
• penalties for animal abuse including both fines and incarceration (currently it’s one or the other);
• larger fines;
• increased penalties for repeat offenders;
• mandatory seizure of mistreated animals;
• inspection powers for animal protection officer (do not need “reasonable grounds” to enter premises);
• mandatory forfeiture of animals and restrictions on future ownership or possession of animal upon conviction;
• mandatory reporting of suspected animal cruelty by veterinarians or to select non-animal related agencies; and,
• immunity for anyone who reports animal in distress and assists in the enforcement of animal protection legislation.
The report lists the jurisdictions that have improved their laws — like higher mandatory standards of care or increased maximum penalties — since the organization’s first Canadian report in 2008.
Nunavut isn’t listed once on any of the improvements.
“Irrespective of its current rank, every province and territory has ample room for improvement,” the report said.
“It is ALDF’s hope that these ongoing reviews continue to shed light on this important issue and garner support for both the strengthening and enforcement of animal protection laws throughout the country.”
In its report, ALDF did name Nunavut’s few strengths regarding animal protection legislation.
Those include possible seizure of mistreated animals and penalties that may include incarceration.
“ALDF encourages those who care about the welfare and protection of animals to contact their elected officials about the importance of having strong, comprehensive laws in this field, and to alert law enforcement should they ever witness animal abuse or neglect,” the report said.
To read the full report, click here.