Will Canadians Vote With Their Hearts?
A survey conducted by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) finds strong views on animal welfare among Canadians; 95% agree that animal suffering and pain should be reduced as much as possible.
Animal welfare appears to weigh heavily on the minds of Canadian voters. Most would like to minimize and eventually eliminate all forms of animal cruelty, though responses varied by voting preference (Conservatives 78%, Liberal 89%, NDP 95%, Green 89% and BQ 97%). Further, respondents who rarely or never hunt or fish (91%) were considerably more likely to support this notion than those who frequently engage in these activities (74%).
With respect to legislation, nearly three-fourths of respondents would like to acknowledge that animals are more than mere property by making separate provision for animal cruelty crimes instead of including it under the Crimes Against Property section of the criminal code. Furthermore, 84% say that the brutal and vicious killing of an animal should amount to a more serious offense than it currently does, while 85% would support making it illegal to injure, kill, or poison a police dog or horse. And, additional support was garnered among Canadians for laws that would:
- Recognize animals as sentient (87%);
- Oppose cockfighting as strongly as those against dog fighting (87%); or
- Support removing a loophole allowing animal owners to escape prosecution for animal neglect unless willful intent to neglect was proven (78%)
On farm animal-related issues, the vast majority of voters would support laws that would ensure that farm animals have adequate space to turn, lie down, and stretch. By political party, those in favor of such laws include Conservatives 87%, Liberals 94%, NDP 98%, Green 95% and BQ 96%.
Animal welfare and protection was identified as important to Canadians across many situations including animals as:
• Endangered species (97%); • Companions or pets (94%); • Wildlife (94%); • Zoo and aquarium exhibits (91%); • Raised for food (90%); • Research in laboratories (86%); • Entertainment in circuses and rodeos (85%); and, • Entertainment in racing (83%).