Status of Animals Act – A draft bill for Canada inspired by Zoopolis

Will Kymlicka made me aware of the final paper that Elizabeth Pan, graduate of the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law, finished in April 2014: “The Legal Status of Animals in Canada – A Policy Paper” Pan 2014 The Legal Status of Animals in Canada – A Policy Paper and Draft Bill. She kindly agreed to publish it on this blog.

Her paper discusses legal aspects and policy issues but most importantly it proposes a concrete draft bill, the “Status of Animals Act” which defines all legal aspects relevant to animals: Representation (animal commission), basic legal rights, special provisions for domesticated,wild and liminal animals, reports and investigation, penalties and transitional provisions.

Especially this last point is interesting as it defines which provisions come into force right away (with the approval of the Act) and which ones ten years later. That way the companies and individuals that use animals (farms, zoos, etc.) have time to adapt (i.e. to close their operation). They need to apply for an approval for their operation with the Animal Commission and have a plan in place “to ensure compliance with the future requirements of this Act” – and the future requirements are that such operations are prohibited.

It would be interesting to define similar acts or laws for other jurisdictions to create awareness (especially within the legal community) about how animal rights can be deployed and enforced within the current legal frameworks.

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