Canadian Animal Rights Activist Calls for Revision of Animal Rights Laws

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. at the hands of / æt ðə hænds ʌv / (idiom) – through someone’s actions

    The rescued pet dog had suffered at the hands of its previous owner.

  2. blacklist / ˈblækˌlɪst / (v) – to include someone in a list of banned people

    The animal adoption center blacklisted the man who was suspected of animal abuse.

  3. humanely / hyuˈmeɪn li / (adv) – in a manner that shows compassion

    All animals should be treated humanely.

  4. mentality / mɛnˈtæl ɪ ti / (n) – a person’s way of thinking

    She needs to change her mentality if she wants to become successful.

  5. opinion piece / əˈpɪn yən pis / (n) – a published article that expresses the author’s opinion on an issue

    The popular journalist wrote an opinion piece about animal cruelty.


Read the text below.

An animal rights lawyer in Canada is pushing for amendments in the country’s laws on animal rights after a pet pig died at the hands of its owners.

Last January, a couple—Austin Manson Forget and Laura Combes—from Vancouver Island adopted a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig called Molly. Molly was one of the 57 pot-bellied pigs rescued in 2017 by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The couple signed a contract that forbids the killing and consumption of adopted pets. However, the pet pig was slaughtered and consumed by the couple weeks after the adoption. According to Forget, they only did it because Molly had become aggressive and hard to control.

Despite the breach of contract, the couple will not face criminal charges but will only be blacklisted from adopting any animal. This is because Canadian law considers animals as property, so slaughtering them is not illegal as long as it is done humanely.

No specific details were disclosed on how Molly was slaughtered, but Forget assured through a Facebook post that Molly was not killed merely for pleasure.

The incident triggered a violent reaction from Animal Justice executive director and lawyer Camille Labchuk, who asserted that the existing laws on animal ownership are inadequate. She argued that the current laws do not provide protection against animal killings and only spare animals from torture.

Labchuk is strongly calling for a shift in mentality in an opinion piece she wrote for the Canadian online news platform The Globe and Mail. She pointed out that people need to reconsider current animal protection approaches in order to acknowledge that animal lives are morally valuable.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you believe that the couple deserves a much more serious punishment? Defend your answer.
• In your opinion, should owners be given the freedom to do anything they want with their pets? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What is the process of adopting animals in your country? Discuss.
• Do you think it is better to adopt pets rather than buy them? Why?