Animal Justice
Founded2008; 16 years ago (2008)
FocusAnimal law
  • Toronto, Ontario
Area served
Key people
Camille Labchuk
(Executive Director)

Animal Justice is a Canadian nonprofit organization with three main areas of focus: lobbying for stronger animal protection laws, improved enforcement of those laws, and fighting for animals in court.[1]

It is Canada’s only national organization dedicated to advancing the interests of animals in the law. The organization makes submissions in court to obtain intervenor status and provide the perspective of animals.[2] The organization was founded in 2008 and is led by animal rights lawyer Camille Labchuk.[3]

Cases and campaigns

Papanack Park Zoo investigation

In 2017, Animal Justice released undercover footage taken by a whistleblower who worked on the grounds of Papanack Park Zoo near Ottawa, Ontario.[4] The zoo was investigated but no charges were laid.[5]

Ban on bestiality

In 2016, Animal Justice was the first animal advocacy group to make oral arguments as an intervener in a Supreme Court of Canada case in order to provide context to the Court's assessment.[6] The case identified a loophole that most sexual abuse of animals in Canada was not illegal.[7] Following the case, Animal Justice campaigned for Bill C-84, which closed the loophole and banned all forms on bestiality in Canada.[8]

Ban on whale and dolphin captivity

Animal Justice supported the passage of Bill S-203 that phases out the practice of keeping cetaceans in captivity in Canada and prohibits breeding of cetaceans and collecting reproductive materials from them.[9]

Ban on shark fin imports

Animal Justice supported the passage of Bill C-68, banning shark finning in Canadian waters and the import and export of shark fins.[10]

Paragon pig farm investigation

In 2020, W5 (TV program) aired Animal Justice’s undercover investigation showing alleged abuse at a pig farm in Puntam, Ontario.[11]

Cedar Valley organic dairy farm investigation

In 2021, Animal Justice released an undercover video showing allegations of animal abuse at an organic dairy farm in Abbotsford, BC.[12] The footage prompted an investigation from British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the farm had its licence suspended.[13]

Ag gag lawsuit

In 2021, Animal Justice filed a constitutional challenge to anti-whistleblower laws in Ontario that would make it illegal for journalists and animal advocates to go undercover on farms to expose animal cruelty, known as “ag gag” laws.[14] The organization is arguing that the Ontario law violates Canadians’ right to freedom of expression. [15]

Canadian Animal Law Conference

The organization has held an annual national animal law conference since 2019.[16] Philosopher Peter Singer was the keynote speaker at the first conference in 2019.[17] The 2022 Canadian Animal Law Conference had 200 attendees and discussed legal developments furthering animal rights in Canada.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Animal Justice celebrates 10 years of fighting for legal protection for animals in Canada". Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Live from the SCC: The Significance of Animal Advocates in the Court in R v DLW". 16 November 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  3. ^ "WARRIOR LAWYER PROFILE: CAMILLE LABCHUK". Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  4. ^ McSheffrey, Elizabeth (11 August 2017). "Secret footage shows shocking animal abuse at Ottawa-area zoo". National Observer. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  5. ^ Gillis, Megan (11 April 2018). "'Not sufficient evidence' for charges in Papanack Zoo probe, says OSPCA". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  6. ^ Gacek, James; Jochelson, Richard (2017). "'Animal Justice' and Sexual (Ab)use: Consideration of Legal Recognition of Sentience for Animals in Canada". Manitoba Law Journal. 40 (3): 340. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  7. ^ "Legislative Summary of Bill C-84: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)". Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  8. ^ Aiello, Rachel (18 October 2018). "Feds to ban all forms of bestiality, crack down on animal fighting". CTV News. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  9. ^ "Canada passes 'Free Willy' bill to ban captivity of all whales, dolphins". 11 June 2019. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  10. ^ Braun, Liz (19 June 2019). "Canada leads with groundbreaking shark protections". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  11. ^ Derrick, Chad (28 November 2020). "Undercover footage from Ontario pig farm shows alleged abuse but new laws may ban future probes". CTV News. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  12. ^ Hopes, Vikki (8 November 2021). "PETA calls for closure of Abbotsford dairy farm accused of animal abuse". The Abbotsford News. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  13. ^ Grochowski, Sarah (5 November 2021). "'Troubling' footage prompts B.C. SPCA investigation into Abbotsford dairy farm". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  14. ^ Freeze, Colin (9 March 2021). "'Ontario hit with lawsuit challenging 'Ag-Gag' legislation". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  15. ^ Kopecky, Arno (13 October 2022). "Exposing Animal Abuse May Land Canadian Farm Activists in Jail". Mother Jones. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  16. ^ "The Canadian Animal Law conference returns to U of T". Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  17. ^ Beswick, Aaron (18 March 2019). "Controversial philosopher's Halifax appearance raises ire". SaltWire. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  18. ^ Birnbaum, Elisa (24 September 2022). "Canada's animal-welfare push is gathering steam. Here's what's on the agenda". Toronto Star. Retrieved 22 October 2022.