Just this spring
A Simcoe area farmer, Ben Stein let 1500 pigs starve to death. Stein, 28, pleaded guilty to four counts of animal cruelty and was sentenced on Thursday in Simcoe, Ont., court.
His punishment - he was fined $10K and he cannot own livestock anymore.
Ontario SPCA officers went to his pig farm in Langton, Ont., on Feb. 17, 2017, after receiving a concern about the welfare of pigs on the property. They say the officers found dead and dying pigs, and moved the surviving animals to a dry, well-lit area of the barn where they set up triage. An estimated 1,265 pigs were dead when officers arrived , and an additional 250 pigs had to be euthanized due to the severe condition in which they were found.
The bar for charges under the Criminal Code is too high, and because of problematic wording like ‘willful neglect’ many SPCA officers will instead opt to pursue charges under provincial animal cruelty acts which carry no real penalties.
So what can we do about it?
February 2016, Ontario Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches-East York) introduced Bill C-246, a private member’s bill, into parliament. Called The Modernizing Animal Protections Act, Bill C-246 sought to make changes to weak areas of the Criminal Code that make it difficult to prosecute animal cruelty and negligence.
It was voted down after lobbying by hunters and angler and cattleman's associations. We need to start a public awareness campaign to get a public body on side that can counter these organizations. Your thoughts?