All forms of sexual abuse against animals in Canada will now be considered bestiality, after the Canadian government passed Bill C-84 this week.
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Bill C-84 closed a loophole identified by the Supreme Court in the 2016 case of R. v. DLW, namely that most sexual abuse of animals in Canada was not illegal.
Until now, only sexual abuse that involved penetration was considered bestiality.
Animal welfare organization Animal Justice applauded the passing of the bill, which also closes loopholes that allowed people to get away with activities such as dogfighting.
According to Animal Justice, animal fighting laws could not be used to successfully prosecute all those who forced animals to fight and attended animal fighting events.
“There is still much more work to be done to improve our animal cruelty laws, but these new measures are progress,” said Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice.
The government also passed Bill S-238, a Ban on Shark Fin Importation and Exportation Act, which bans the export and import of shark fins into the country.
“Canada just became a world leader in shark protection by banning the cruel trade in shark fins,” said Labchuk.
The new legislation, she added, “will save countless sharks from having their fins sliced off while still alive, and thrown back into the ocean to die an agonizing death.”