Monday, March 03, 2008

SPCA "Destroys" 1200 Roosters in Accordance with Canadian Law

An odd provision in the Canadian Criminal Code may cause more harm to animals than good. When 2 cockfighting rings were discovered on 2 different farms in the Surrey, British Columbia area, the SPCA, who seized the roosters, were forced to destroy the more than 1, 200 birds in accordance with section 447 (2) of the Canada Criminal Code which reads:

(2) A peace officer who finds cocks in a cockpit or on premises where a cockpit is located shall seize them and take them before a justice who shall order them to be destroyed.
The Vancouver Sun reports:

When two roosters duke it out in a cruel and illegal cockfight, one may die. But when authorities bust an illegal cockfighting ring, all the birds must die.

The injustice of federal legislation was enough to bring the SPCA's Eileen Drever to tears Friday as she provided details about what is considered Canada's largest cockfighting ring, in the Cloverdale area of Surrey.

"Our staff work for this wonderful organization because they love animals," said Drever, senior animal protection officer. "Because of the legislation, we had no choice but to destroy the birds.

"It angers me that all these birds had to lose their lives in the name of sport, a game."

…Charges will be sought against up to 30 individuals, predominantly members of the southeast Asian community, under Criminal Code sections related to unlawful fighting of birds and unlawful keeping of a cockpit.

Moriarty added she also believes maximum penalties are too low at six months in jail, a $2,000 fine and a two-year ban on keeping animals. "It's ridiculous, an absolute slap on the wrist. We need more effective legislation."

Under current laws, Eccles said, the SPCA had sought charges against 37 individuals after the discovery of an illegal cockfighting operation in Burnaby. Only three were charged, resulting in just one conviction with a minor penalty

- Annie Noa Kenet, Toronto

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