Animal Justice Urges Toronto to Appeal Shark Fin Ruling

Animal Justice Canada is urging Toronto to appeal a court ruling that strikes down the bylaw banning the sale, possession and consumption of shark fin products.

Justice Spence of the Superior Court ruled on Friday that the by-law lacks a proper municipal purpose. He found that it could not be supported by the City’s authority to pass by-laws in relation to animals; the economic, social and environmental well-being of the city; the healthy and safety of persons; or consumer protection.

“The court decided that a by-law regulating shark fin has nothing to do with animals or animal welfare, even though it was enacted to protect sharks from the cruel practice of shark finning,” said Camille Labchuk, an advisor to Animal Justice. “This decision appears to narrow the scope of Toronto’s authority and could have broad implications for the ability of cities to pass by-laws supported by their citizens.”

In October 2011, Toronto joined a number of Ontario municipalities by banning shark fin products to help conserve shark populations, protect sharks from the cruel practice of shark finning, and protect consumers from mercury that may be found in shark fin products.

Animal Justice had applied for intervenor status in the case but the bid was rejected on October 25th. The case proceeded without the court having the benefit of Animal Justice’s perspective and arguments on the critical issue of why and how the shark fin by-law relates to animals their welfare.

The full decision can be downloaded HERE.

Animal Justice Canada is a Canadian Registered Charity dedicated to advancing public knowledge of animal practices and preventing the abuse and killing of animals through the enforcement of existing laws.

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