Traffic Tickets on the Last Ride

AuthorVaughan Black
 
Traff‌ic Tickets on the Last Ride
Vaughan Black*
The modern animal welfare movement bears anity to other progres-
sive social developments of the sixties and seventies. It has a kinship with
rights-based interest groups seeking to eliminate legal discrimination
and social subordination on grounds such as race, gender, sexual orien-
tation, and disability. As well, it has similarities with eorts to temper the
harsher consequences of current modes of production and economic or-
ganization — for instance, by prompting reforms to protect consumers,
the poor, and the environment. However, the animal welfare movement
diers from those just mentioned in one crucial respect: it has been singu-
larly unsuccessful in bringing about the changes its adherents advocate.
No one f‌ighting for the elimination of gender or racial inequality would
claim that those struggles are nearing an end. But proponents of those
equality-oriented groups have at least made signif‌icant advances. Con-
f‌ining ourselves to the legal sphere, these include the adoption of human
rights legislation and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and
the litigation victories associated with those legislative changes.
* Thanks to Sue Donaldson, Will Kymlicka, Matthew Pike, Peter Sanko, Katie
Sykes, and Sheila Wildeman for comments on a dra.
Part I of the Constitution Act, , being Schedule B to the Canada Act  (UK),
, c  [Charter].
58  
Animal allies can point to no such triumphs, and indeed not more than
a handful of hopeful signs. True, in the academy animal rights has taken a
couple of steps in from the f‌lakey periphery, as measured, for instance,
by the volume of writing on that subject in ethical and political philosophy,
and the appearance in law school curricula of courses in animals and the
law. But in the broader social (and especially legal) world, the pro-animal
movement can point to few gains. Since the seventies, governments have
added ministries dealing with issues of the environment, consumer af-
fairs, Aboriginal aairs, the status of women, social development, children,
seniors, and so on. But, at least in Canada, there is no federal or provincial
ministry whose chief mission is to promote animal welfare. A decade-long
eort to make modest modernizing improvements to the animal cruelty
provisions of the Criminal Code met with frustration and eventual de-
feat. Animals have enjoyed little benef‌it from the Charter, and their ad-
vocates can point to no transformative courtroom triumphs. Perhaps a
glimmer of hope may be discerned in the reasons of Fraser CJA in Reece
v Edmonton (City), which has been celebrated in articles by a number
of animal advocates. Ultimately, however, it cannot be ignored that this
Criminal Code, RSC , c C- [Code].
Good accounts may be found in John Sorenson, “Some Strange Things Happening
in Our Country: Opposing Proposed Changes in Anti-Cruelty Law in Canada”
()  Soc & Leg Stud ; Christina Skibinsky, “Changes in Store for the
Livestock Industry? Canada’s Recurring Proposed Animal Cruelty Amendments”
()  Sask L Rev ; and Antonio Verbora, “The Politics of Animal Anti-
Cruelty Legislation in Canada: An Analysis of Parliamentary Debates on
Amending the Criminal Code,” University of Windsor Electronic Theses and
Dissertations No  (), online:cgiviewcontent.
England has the wonderful exception of the McLibel case, McDonald’s
Corporation v Steel, [] EWHC QB , but there is no Canadian equivalent.
There is, of course, the World Trade Organization decision in the CanadaEU
seals dispute, dealt with in Chapter . That must count as a victory for Canadian
animal allies. However, the fact that it was imposed by an external body tempers
its claim to be an instance of progress in Canadian law.
 ABCA .
Katie Sykes & Vaughan Bl ack, “Don’t Think about Elephants” ()  UNBLJ ;
Maneesha Deckha, “Initiating a Non-Anthropocentric Jurisprudence: The Rule
of Law and Animal Vulnerability under a Property Paradigm” ()  Alta L
Rev ; Peter Sanko, “Opportunity Lost: The Supreme Court Misses a Historic
Opportunity to Consider the Question of Public Interest Standing for Animal
Interests”()  Windsor YB Access Just .

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