Animal advocate groups will be rallying at Queen's Park tomorrow to urge the province to protect animal rights throughout Ontario. Animal lobbyists are concerned that animals in Ontario will no longer remain protected once the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) stops enforcing animal cruelty laws next month.
Back in January, a judge for the Ontario Superior Court determined several of the enforcement powers held by Ontario's animal welfare agency to be "unconstitutional" and decided that the provincial government was incorrect to authorize police powers to the OSPCA.
For the past century, the OSPCA has enforced animal cruelty laws across the province. But once its contract with the provincial government reaches its expiry date on March 31st, the OSPCA vowed to stop.
According to Durham Radio News, a three-month transition phase will allow the province adequate time to adjust to the OSPCA's new "supportive" role. However, the OSPCA claims that the organization will no longer be accepting complaints or cases involving livestock during that period.
The owner of the Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue in Hagersville, Brenda Thompson, is one of the many animal advocates that are paving the way to protect Ontario's animals. Thompson - who also happens to be the coordinator of Animal Welfare Watch - is concerned that the OPP won't be able to "do it all".
She reportedly said, "Where is the training for these police officers? Where is the training on animal cruelty? As of April 1, Ontario will be the only province in Canada without a functional animal welfare system."
Thompson (among others) believes that farm animal welfare should be managed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Thompson also explained that a request is being submitted to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, which has supervised animal protection in Ontario, to implement temporary controls to guarantee animals are protected.
Animal advocates also urge the government to introduce legislation that establishes a new animal welfare system for Ontario. The legislation should be "effective and accountable with provincial oversight and service delivery by the public sector including municipalities and provincial ministries."
The rally will take place on Wednesday, March 20th from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM at Queen’s Park. Anyone looking for more information on the rally can call Brenda Thompson at 905-531-8460. You can also visit the Facebook event page for more details.
*Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.