The Goldwaters are back! After a little hiatus, the podcast is returning this summer with new episodes.

In this very special edition, Anne-France Goldwater is talking about the latest in animal rights law in Canada. Joining her is Camille Labchuk, an animal rights lawyer and the executive director of the advocacy group Animal Justice. She’s also the co-host of the Paw & Order podcast.

Before chatting with Labchuk, hear Anne-France’s update on her fight to squash breed-specific legislation (BSL) or the banning of pit bull-type dogs in Quebec; a fight that is nearly won! She also details why her law firm is attempting to save Shotto, a Montreal-North dog slated to be put down by municipal authorities.

For Labchuk, animal advocacy is about looking after those in society who are at risk because they have no voice.

“Part of the reason I care so much about animals, is because animals are really vulnerable. They can’t always report abuse when they experience it themselves, they really depend on others to help them out,” Labchuk said. “And that same thinking applies to children. They’re also very vulnerable individuals.”

That’s what drives both her and Goldwater to put their efforts into improving the lives, and the laws, of animals.

Anne-France, along with her son, attorney Daniel Goldwater, have found the dog a shelter for troubled dogs where Shotto can go and live out his days peacefully, without being a risk to people. Anne-France said she took the case because she doesn’t believe in the death sentence, even if it’s for a dog. Because the province’s laws recognize that animals are sentient creatures, she believes the dog should be spared.

“I’ve always felt in life that our laws don’t exist to protect you and me—the people who are respectful and hold the door open for our elders and give up our seats on busses to pregnant women—polite people never have to worry about the law of the land. The laws are always tested on the less polite people, or animals,” she said.

You can read more about the case here. A decision is expected soon.

They also talk about the heartbreaking story of Penny, a chicken found abandoned in an egg farm, left to die. Animal Justice are sharing the video, embedded below, to shed light on the brutal conditions many farm animals face in Canada. And to show how when treated right, animals can make a huge recovery.

They also talk zoos, circuses, and other animal parks designed for human amusement.

“I always say about zoos or aquariums .. is that if they didn’t already exist, nobody would invent them today,” Labchuk said. “Our attitudes have moved so far away from the idea that it’s okay to take these beautiful creatures out of the wild, take them away from their families, put them in tiny cages, put them in little concrete bathtubs, and then watch them while they do tricks—that’s just not something that people think is okay anymore.”

Further Reading

  • Anne-France Goldwater: The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, by Andrew Westoll A book about a refuge for chimpanzees in Québec who were once lab subjects. “These were chips that were saved from the most abhorrent treatment,” Goldwater said. “The idea was to rescue these animals, and to try to give them an opportunity at a reasonably normal life in a natural environment. It’s a very, very moving book.”
  • Camille Labchuk: Sea of Slaughter, by Farley Mowat A story about the history of the natural life in North America, and how the abundance of animals living up and down the east coast have been successively wiped out. “The biodiversity was just staggering. I’m from the east coast, from Prince Edward Island. If you walk outside today there’s no more bears and in PEI there’s no more deer, the you really don’t see very many wild animals,” Labchuk said. “But 500 years ago, if you went outside, you probably see a ton of wild animals. We just don’t have that anymore.”

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