Liberals to introduce changes to bestiality law in bill to crack down on animal cruelty

Liberals to introduce changes to bestiality law in bill to crack down on animal cruelty
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould will make an announcement Thursday morning in Ottawa outlining a new bill prepared by the government to amend the rules around both crimes.

The notice of the bill makes specific mention to the bestiality and animal fighting provisions of the Criminal Code as the targets of the legislation.

But a press release issued ahead of the announcement mentioned only that it will address “ animal cruelty. ”

There have been two attempts in the last two years to reform Canadian animal welfare laws, which followed a controversial decision by the Supreme Court in June 2016 to limit the crime of bestiality to acts that specifically involve penetration between a person and an animal.

Both have failed.

The first was brought as a private member’s bill by Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.

That bill sought to make it easier to convict people who cause suffering to animals through “gross negligence” rather than through the current legal standard of “willful negligence,” which can be difficult to prove.

As well, it would have broadened the definition of bestiality.

It also wanted to ban shark fins as well as selling cat and dog fur in Canada, and to move animals out of the property section of the Criminal Code.

But most Conservative MPs and Liberal MPs, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, voted against it and the bill was defeated in October 2016.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel was one of only two from her party to support Erskine-Smith’s bill.

In December 2017, she introduced her own.

Rempel’s bill proposed an amendment that was only one sentence long.

She tried to get MPs to agree to amend the definition of bestiality to “any contact by a person, for a sexual purpose, with an animal.”
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