July 5, 2016

Urgent Animal Welfare Issue: We Need You To Take Action

(Warning: Graphic Content)
OHS Executive Director Bruce Roney has written the Federal Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, calling upon her to  amend the Criminal Code following  a shocking Supreme Court ruling.

On June 9, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 7-1 that bestiality is only illegal in Canada if it involves acts of penetration.

The Globe and Mail reported that a man from Prince George was sentenced to 16 years for all the offences upon which he was convicted, including two related to the bestiality count. The judge in that case decided that bestiality in the Criminal Code meant touching between a person and an animal for sexual purposes, and penetration was not required. The details are horrific: the man used peanut butter to compel the dog to perform a sexual act with his stepdaughter while he used a video camera to record the incident. But the man’s bestiality conviction was overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal, so lawyers for the province took the case to the Supreme Court.

All but one of the Justices ruled to uphold that bestiality must involve penetration. The lone dissenter, Justice Rosalie Abella, said she had a great deal of difficulty accepting that in modernizing amendments to the Criminal Code, “Parliament forgot to bring the offence out of the Middle Ages.”

In his letter to the minister and OHS’s local MP Anita Vandenbeld, Roney wrote, “This abhorrent loophole will remain open unless Parliament takes action to create a broader definition of bestiality under the Criminal Code of Canada.” He called upon the government to either support Bill C-246 currently before parliament as a private member’s bill, or to introduce its own legislation to ensure that “this form of heinous crime against animals becomes illegal.”

Add your voice to protect animals from sexual abuse, contact Minister Wilson-Raybould at Jody.Wilson-Raybould@parl.gc.ca. You can also write her postage-free at House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0A6.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director