Senator Murray Sinclair joined forces with famed primatologist Jane Goodall to protect captive animals and ban imports of elephant ivory and hunting trophies. The groundbreaking bill has been introduced in the Senate of Canada on November 17, 2020. The new bill builds on an existing law that the federal government passed last year that bans whale and dolphin captivity in Canada. Called the Jane Goodall Act, the bill will ban apes and elephants from being held captive unless it’s licensed and for conservation and non-harmful scientific research. The proposed law will also outlaw the use of great apes and elephants for entertainment purposes and establish legal standing for protected animals. Courts will be authorized to issue orders to move the animals to new care or to improve their living conditions.
“I’m introducing a bill in the Senate of Canada that will establish some of the strongest animal-protection laws in the world,” Sinclair announced at a news conference. “Certainly, the strongest animal-protection laws in Canada.” Canada is reportedly home to 20 elephants and 33 great apes along with nine chimpanzees, 18 gorillas and six orangutans. According to Sinclair, the bill is based on the principle that animals have rights. “That’s the principle that some people have a difficult time getting their heads around,” he said. “At the very least, [animals] have the right to personal safety and protection. They have the right to be treated humanely.”
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During the news conference, Goodal stated that it’s extremely important to recognize that animals have feelings and personalities. “Some people torture animals. It’s because they don’t understand. Other people deliberately choose not to understand how (animals) feel pain and fear and distress,” Goodall said. “A lot of education is needed.” Goodall added that she said she felt honored acknowledging that the bill has been named after her. “It would be just wonderful if this bill is passed, so that Canada can prove that it is on the forefront of humane treatment of animals.”