"It was inspiring to listen to the
editors explain their inspiration and passion for the project:
the book was dedicated to
Lucy, an elephant held in captivity by an Edmonton zoo,
for which a
legal challenge failed in 2011, but for which the dissenting
opinion of Chief Justice of Alberta Catherine Fraser marked a
potential turning point in Canadian jurisprudence.
Those in attendance were also treated to a speech from the
Hon. Justice Louis LeBel, former puisne justice on the Supreme
Court of Canada (2000 to 2014) for whom Katie clerked in
2002-2003. The theme of the evening was change, with both
Peter Sankoff and Justice LeBel highlighting the point that the law
of today rarely reflects the law of tomorrow. This notion is echoed
in the Forward to the book by another former justice of the Supreme
Court of Canada, the
Hon. Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé (1987 to 2002).
The authors and editors of the book are clear that the legal status
and treatment of animals in Canada are deeply rooted in a belief
system that recognizes animals as no different than other property,
with no independent status or rights that reflect their true nature
as sentient beings capable of suffering.
L'Heureux-Dubé's forward states that while
Canadian courts "have yet to consider the merits of legal
claims raised on behalf of animals in any serious way, this does
not mean they never will." She explains that the book
"looks at today's law and suggests a different future. It
is an admirable and audacious attempt to think about how the law
might evolve, and my hope is that it will play a role in getting a
wide range of Canadians to think about these possibilities as
Royalties from the book are being donated to support
Animal Justice Canada in its work to improve the lives of
animals. The book also contains a chapter on false advertising
claims in connection with animal suffering written by Camille
Labchuk who is the Director of Legal Advocacy for Animal Justice
Canada, Canada's only animal law advocacy organization.
Congratulations to the book's authors, contributors and
A summary of the book's contents is below:
Part I: A Philosophical Prelude
Chapter 1: Philosophy and the Case for Animals Angus Taylor
Part II: The Fundamental Prohibition: Unnecessary
Chapter 2: Rethinking the Application of Canadian Criminal Law to
Factory Farming Katie Sykes
Chapter 3: Traffic Tickets on the Last Ride Vaughan Black
Part III: The Fundamental Classification: Property
Chapter 4: A Monkey in the Middle: Reflections on Darwin the
Macaque and the (R)evolution of Wild Animals in Canadian Common
Law Mary J Shariff
Chapter 5: The Canadian Seal Hunt as Seen in Fraser's
Mirror Lesli Bisgould & Peter Sankoff
Part IV: Different Communities: Municipal, Aboriginal, and
Chapter 6: Municipal Governance and Innovative Shark Conservation
Efforts: Problems and Prospects Cameron Jefferies & Eran Kaplinsky
Chapter 7: Animal Rights and Aboriginal Rights Will Kymlicka & Sue Donaldson
Chapter 8: Indigenous Rights and Relations with Animals: Seeing
beyond Canadian Law Constance MacIntosh
Chapter 9: Whales and Seals and Bears, Oh My! The Evolution of
Global Animal Law and Canada's Ambiguous Stance Katie Sykes, Joanna Langille, & Robert Howse
Part V: New Tactical Approaches
Chapter 10: Charities, Animals, and Social Change: Charting a More
Charitable Approach to Animal Advocacy Maneesha Deckha & Sarah Runyon
Chapter 11: What Does False Advertising Have to Do with Animal
Protection? Camille Labchuk
Chapter 12: Bringing Animal Abusers to Justice Independently:
Private Prosecutions and the Enforcement of Canadian Animal
Protection Legislation Sophie Gaillard & Peter Sankoff
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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