Recognize Animals as Legal Beings

canada animal law

Target: Mayor Anthony Housefather

Goal: Upgrade animals’ legal status from things to beings

In Quebec’s Civil Code, animals are legally regarded as objects. However we all know that animals are not simply human property. Much like when slaves’ legal status was one third of a person, this legislation is just another form of unnecessary inequity. While it may be an innocent oversight, the government of Quebec should make a simple and much-needed update: change the legal status of animals from property to living beings.

Quebec was reported the worst Canadian province in regards to animal welfare legislation. Animals’ legal status is a primary example of how they are falling behind. While it’s a small nuance, regarding animals as objects limits our respect for them and puts animal abuse in a gray area. If animals are regarded as property, animal abuse suddenly loses its perceived severity.

Updating this legislation is also important because it combats the outdated and faulty belief that animals exist only to be utilized by humans. This is a dangerous, human-centric belief.

It is obvious that animals do not equate to objects, and having this legislation in place in unethical and incorrect. Ask that Quebec update this simple piece of legislation to better represent the reality of what an animal is.


Dear Mayor Housefather,

In Quebec’s Civil Code, animals are legally identified as things. While this seemingly has no impact on the lives of animals or humans, it contributes to a careless mindset in regards to animal abuse. A simple update of the legal status of animals would raise Canadian standards for the humane treatment of animals.

Conceptually, having animals coded as things lessens the perceived severity of animal abuse and downgrades our understanding of other living beings. It provides more room for animal abusers to skirt the legal system and downplay their actions as normal.

Updating the Civil Code would take animals out of a legal gray area, and place them in a category they’ve always been a part of: living beings. We know from scientific research that animals experience pain, communicate, and exhibit emotions like fear and excitement. After considering all of this research, the legal status of animals does not match what they factually are.

As Quebec was ranked last in animal rights legislation amongst all Canadian provinces, it is crucial that this change be made. We ask that you help bring attention to this issue and upgrade the legal status of animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: yasmapaz via Flickr

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