Andrew Monro is Apt613’s correspondent at Impact Hub Ottawa, writing about the many innovators that call Hub home. Hub is a co-working space at 123 Slater Street for projects with a positive local and global impact.
Animal Justice, Canada’s leading legal advocates for animal protection, are celebrating their 10th year of putting animals on the legal map in our country. To learn more about the work of the charity, we had a chat with Camille Labchuk, Animal Justice’s Executive Director, at the workspace of their Ottawa staff, Impact Hub Ottawa.
“Canadians are deeply compassionate and care a lot about protecting animals, but our laws in Canada are shameful. We are doing a poor job of protecting animals from horrific suffering. We need Canadians to get involved with solving this problem —becoming politically active, get informed on these issues and supporting solutions,” says Camille.
The organization was founded in 2008 by Nicholas Wright, a Toronto lawyer with a long history of involvement in animal issues and animal law. He noticed there was no organization in Canada involved in animal law, while in the United States, there have been groups engaged in the work for over 30 years. They have three main areas of focus: lobbying for better laws that protect animals, improved enforcement of those laws, and fighting for animals in courtrooms across the country. Since then, Animal Justice has engaged in a multitude of campaigns to protect household pets, animals bred for medical and scientific research, aquarium-captive marine mammals and more.
On what they are working on now, Camille points to Canada’s animal transport laws. “This is one of our bigger campaigns: the federal government is updating animal transport regulations, but their new proposed rules fail to protect animals from suffering. They still allow them to be transported with for long periods without food, water or rest, exposed to extreme weather, and shocked with electric prods. Animal Justice is also looking into issues of protections for farm animals in Canada – there are no federal laws government the treatment of farm animals. This needs to change.”
To commemorate their 10-year anniversary, Animal Justice is hosting a gala on Friday, June 8, at the Burroughes in downtown Toronto. The event will feature a dinner, awards, special guests and a silent auction fundraiser.
Going forward, Animal Justice will continue to raise the profile of animal protection issues. “We are looking to build the movement. If you are interested in or care about animal justice, get in touch with us.” Animal Justice also publishes a podcast, Paw & Order, which covers topics related to animal law and the future of legal animal protection, breaking the issues down so that everyone can better understand them.
Animal Justice is incredibly grateful for their supporters and volunteers, especially their Advisors: law professors, lawyers and other professionals that lend their skills to help the organization with their causes. They are also very grateful for their supporters, notably Lush cosmetics, who are staunch advocates against cosmetic animal testing and Wully Outerwear, who make ethically sourced and vegan-friendly jackets and parkas.