Game changing legislation reintroduced in the Canadian Senate – the historic Jane Goodall Bill
Earlier this month, we saw the most sweeping animal protection legislation in years be introduced in the Senate. We estimate that the private Members’ bill sponsored by Senator Marty Klyne would significantly restrict the ownership of more than 800 species of wild animals in Canada and effectively end roadside zoos here.
Pictured: Captive elephant at a Canadian venue. The Jane Goodall Act, if passed, would provide better protection for hundreds of wild animal species including elephants, great apes, monkeys, tigers, lions, most bears, wolves and several reptiles.
The Honourable Murray Sinclair first introduced the bill in 2020, to protect wild animals in captivity. With his and Dr Jane Goodall’s blessing, as well as contributions from a coalition of animal welfare groups including World Animal Protection, the bill contains exciting new legal protections for wildlife and was reintroduced by Senator Klyne on March 22nd, 2022.
“I am honoured to take the handoff from the Honourable Murray Sinclair and to be able to work with Canada’s leading zoos and animal advocates toward achieving the strongest protections for captive wild animals in the world,” said Senator Klyne.
“This is a historic bill that would make Canada a global leader in protecting wildlife and animal welfare. It would phase out the practice of keeping certain animals for entertainment and exotic pets,” said Melissa Matlow, Campaign Director at World Animal Protection. “And we hope it will motivate the government to pass stronger regulations to curb the commercial trade of wild animals to prevent cruelty, extinction and future pandemics.”
Hundreds of wild animal species are included in the legislation such as: elephants, great apes, monkeys, big cats (such as tigers and lions), most bears, wolves and hundreds of reptiles. It would ban the commercial trade and use of these animals for entertainment (e.g., elephant rides and shows).
“This legislation will further reconciliation with the natural world. When we treat animals well, we act with both self-respect and mutual respect,” said the Honourable Murray Sinclair, a former senator and Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, who authored the original legislation.
“I am honoured to lend my name to this world-leading legislation that is supported by a wonderful coalition of government, conservationists, animal welfare groups and accredited zoos. Together we can and will provide a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and put an end to the misery that is wildlife trafficking,” said Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, world-renowned conservationist, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace.
The bill also proposes a ban on the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horns, as well as trophies, to conserve the struggling wild populations.
World Animal Protection provided research and advice for the drafting of the legislation.
Across all levels of government, we have been advocating for decades for changes to zoo and exotic animal regulations. Our advocacy has led to the closure of roadside zoos and the passing of stronger regulations in Saskatchewan and municipalities like Newmarket, Ontario. Our campaigns convinced African Lion Safari to end elephant rides and CAZA to prohibit his activity at all member zoos and we have mobilized 240 global travel companies to stop selling tickets to zoos that offer elephant rides. Some of the largest travel companies in Canada and the world have committed to end the sale of whale and dolphin attractions and other wildlife entertainment attractions and have worked with us to adopt comprehensive animal welfare policies.
We will demonstrate to Senators that there is significant support and evidence for passing this bill without delay. At the same time, we will encourage the Federal government to adopt this legislation as a government bill and make it a priority to pass. We will watch it closely and keep you up to date on our progress.
Both the legal and illegal wildlife trade have been a persistent problem in Canada, and World Animal Protection will be working alongside Senator Klyne and the Jane Goodall Institute to encourage the Federal government to pass regulations to curb the commercial trade to reduce the many risks it poses to animal welfare, human health and biodiversity.