OTTAWA – Lawyers from the animal law organization Animal Justice appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada today as interveners in a case that may redefine the country’s bestiality laws. The case of Her Majesty the Queen v. D.L.W. (docket #36450) is an appeal regarding a British Columbia man who compelled the family dog to lick his stepdaughter’s genitals.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal overturned his conviction ruling that the offence of bestiality includes penetrative conduct only.
The appeal is the first time in decades (and only the second time in history) that the Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments from an animal advocacy organization. Animal Justice was represented by lawyers Peter Sankoff, Professor of Law at the University of Alberta, and Camille Labchuk, Executive Director of Animal Justice.
“Today’s appeal was a landmark moment for animal law in Canada. It’s the first time the country’s top court will consider any legislation protecting an animal from harmful conduct,” said Camille Labchuk, Executive Director of Animal Justice. “Animal Justice was there today to represent the perspective of countless animals who have no voices of their own.”
Animal Justice argued today that not only is protecting animals a key objective of Canadian criminal law, but that modern societal morals include a deep concern for protecting vulnerable beings from sexual conduct to which they cannot consent.
If the Supreme Court denies the appeal, non-penetrative sexual abuse of animals would essentially be legalized across the country. If necessary, Animal Justice will take the fight to Parliament and demand that the new Liberal government take decisive action to criminalize any and all sexual abuse of animals.
The Supreme Court of Canada docket for R. v. D.L.W. is found here.
Animal Justice’s Factum is found here.
Animal Justice’s Motion to Intervene in the appeal is found here.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal decision is found here.
Note: Due to a publication on the identity of a witness, the proceedings were not livestreamed. A videorecording of the proceeding will be available on the Supreme Court’s website later this week.