CVMA | News & Events | CVMA Presents in Support of Bill C-84, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)

News & Events

CVMA Presents in Support of Bill C-84, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)

February 8, 2019

On February 5, 2019, Dr. Alice Crook, past chair of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)’s Animal Welfare Committee, appeared on behalf of the association as a witness at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The Committee was conducting a hearing on Bill C-84, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting). Dr. Crook is Coordinator of the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre and Adjunct Professor, Health Management, at the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island. She was one of two lead authors on the section of the CVMA website that addresses animal abuse.
The CVMA has actively lobbied for a number of years for amendments to the Criminal Code aimed at strengthening the law with respect to animal cruelty. In late 2017, the CVMA, along with other interested stakeholders from the agricultural and animal welfare organizations, noted in a letter to the Minister of Justice that gaps currently exist in the law with respect to bestiality and animal fighting. View the letter here.
In her presentation to the Committee, Dr. Crook indicated CVMA’s strong support for Bill C-84 given that in contrast to the current legislation it proposes an unambiguous definition for bestiality and a much more comprehensive treatment of animal fighting. 
The CVMA believes that Bill C-84 will close a current gap that effectively legalizes sexual abuse of animals that falls short of penetration. As proposed in C-84, bestiality means any contact for a sexual purpose with an animal. In CVMA’s view, the Bill will help support One Welfare—that is benefitting animals as well as addressing the sexual exploitation of other vulnerable members of society, including children.   
With regard to animal fighting, the CVMA is pleased that Bill C-84 updates the Criminal Code provisions to deal with gaps within the current legislation so as to include all species of animals, and to add the offences of training animals for fighting and profiting from such activities. In her presentation, Dr. Crook highlighted the pain and suffering, both emotional and physical, that animals experience during acts of cruelty, including bestiality (animal sexual abuse) and dog fighting. 
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is pleased to see notable progress in improving the welfare of animals in Canada in the form of amendments to the Criminal Code through Bill C-84. It remains ready to assist the government of Canada in any way to further enhance legislation to protect animals from cruelty and abuse and in this way help build a more humane and compassionate Canada.
  • View the full details of the meeting here.
  • Listen to audio of the meeting here.
  • Find a copy of Dr. Crook's presentation to the Standing Committee here.