On March 1, 2009, the government of Ontario amended animal cruelty lesgislation, last changed significantly seven years after the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on that fateful night in 1912. Ninety years ago, these laws were avant-garde, showing a society that was ready to care for its animals as well as its hungry, sick, and homeless human citizens.
The new legislation sees increased fines and tougher sentences brought upon those who harm animals. Veterinarians are now required by law to report cases of suspected animal abuse, the government assuming all responsibility for liability.
Strangely, animals used in law enforcement will have separate (and likely increased) protection. Why not a seeing eye dog? Why not an eighty year-old whose only companion is her Golden Retriever? Why not my cats whom I care for deeply?
I am elated and proud of the changes brought on by the government of Ontario. Now why not set the bar high enough to view all animals as equal, regardless of whether or not that animal has a "job"? Punishments for cruelty or causing distress in animals should be severe in every single case, regardless of species and use of that animal in contemporary society.
From a very early edition of a publication of the Toronto Humane Society