Canadian Senate: Pass the Game-Changing Jane Goodall Act

Canadian Senate: Pass the Game-Changing Jane Goodall Act

This alert is no longer active, but here for reference. Animals still need your help.

It's not every day you get the opportunity to act on something so clearly good for animals, but today is just such a day. Canadian Senator Murray Sinclair has partnered with Dr. Jane Goodall to introduce the Jane Goodall Act, which, if passed, will become one of the strongest animal laws in history. This bill could send shockwaves that transform the legal standing of animals not only in Canada, but across the world. Please join us in imploring the Canadian Senate to pass this landmark law to give elephants, dolphins, great apes and other animals the right to live free from hunting, captivity and abuse!

The Jane Goodall Act, S 218, would accomplish a number of things. It would ban all new captivity of great apes and elephants, and ban the use of great apes, elephants, and cetaceans in performances. It would also strengthen an existing but flawed ban on the importation of elephant ivory and other hunting trophies, and would grant legal standing to great apes, elephants, whales, and dolphins. Granting animals legal standing would be a watershed event that would transform the landscape of animal protection in Canada.

All of these things are desperately needed. Great apes, elephants, and cetaceans are all intelligent animals capable of suffering, with rich emotional and social lives. And yet, in the case of animals in zoos, we force them to live their lives imprisoned behind bars, then ship them away or kill them when they are no longer needed. And in the case of the trade in exotic species, we either kidnap them from their homes, separating them from their families and condemning them to a life behind bars, or kill them outright for their horns or furs.

More broadly, however, this bill would formalize a new language in the discourse of animal protection, one that acknowledges their sentience, their emotional and social intelligence. It would be founded on the principle that animals deserve to be treated as individuals with legal standing and rights.

The bill is not perfect. Unfortunately, it will grandfather in animals who are currently in captivity, and it allows for exceptions to the ban on captivity for the sake of “conservation, welfare, or non-harmful scientific research.” All of this is lamentable and must be remedied with time. Importantly, however, the bill has been structured to allow the government to extend provisions to other species kept in captivity, such as big cats, through the Noah Clause. Additionally, to stress a crucial point, the bill would point the way towards a transformation in how Canadian society treats and regards animals.

The ultimate fate of this bill is unknown, but we are very hopeful. Not only does it have to make it through the Senate, but after that it will have to make it through the House of Commons as well, facing opposition from animal exploitation industries including zoos, hunting, and safari organizations.

While Senator Sinclair retired on January 31, he is projecting confidence that there is “very broad” support for the bill across the Canadian Senate. Should the bill ultimately pass the Senate, Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith has said he will sponsor the bill in the House.

Should it pass, the Jane Goodall Act will join the ranks of the most important pieces of animal protection legislation in world history.

What YOU Can Do — TODAY:



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