Justice for animals but not for humans?

07/01/2013 / blog posts 

JusticeLast month Vancouver, British Columbia resident Brian Whitlock was charged under the Criminal Code with wilfully causing suffering to an animal. Mr. Whitlock faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a lifetime ban on owning animals and a $75,000 fine.

It is alleged that in July of 2012 Whitlock left his German shepherd for dead in a dumpster in an upscale area of Vancouver. The shepherd was found after passersby heard its cries. It was so malnourished and unresponsive that it died the next day. In the days following, the BCSPCA held a vigil in the shepherd’s honour and more than $70,000 was donated in an online campaign to raise money for the investigation. In an interview, Lorrie Chortyk of the BCSPCA said, “We deal with thousands of cases every year and deal with heartbreaking cases every day, but I think this particular case – the image of this dog, critically ill, lying in a dumpster – really touched people’s hearts.”

Unfortunately, this is not the only case of animal cruelty which has received national attention. It was only  a short time ago that Canadians learned of the controversial cull by Robert Fawcett in Whistler, BC.  This case also received widespread media attention and was dutifully investigated by the British Columbia SPCA and the RCMP. Canadians were infuriated that 56 sled dogs were killed in such inhumane fashion: some were shot at point blank range while others had their throats slit before being dumped into a mass grave. The media reported nationwide outrage. Mr. Fawcett received three years probation for killing the sled dogs after an intense investigation that included exhuming the dogs over a year after they were killed.

These two cases are examples of despicable behaviour, of human barbarity toward defenceless animals. The stories received proper attention and the public’s reaction was commensurate with the act. 

I can’t help but wonder what the reaction would be by Canadians to the news that humans were killed in a similar manner and we were treated to images of new-born babies left to die in stainless steel pans on tables in private, profit generating clinics funded with taxpayer dollars.  How would they take this news? Would it touch their hearts?

The appalling fact is that it is happening, and it’s only because of Canada’s refusal to wake up from our infatuation with so-called “reproductive rights” and decades-old, pro-choice rhetoric that this story hasn’t appeared on the front pages in similar fashion to the sled dogs with their throats slit. It would, of course, lead to uncomfortable questions: Why should a tiny baby mewling on a hospital bed be entitled to any more rights than he or she did mere inches away in utero? How far has the cognitive dissonance between what we know about embryology and what we believe about “abortion rights” pushed us when we can straight-facedly call a complication of a pregnancy termination “live birth”?

Statistics Canada reports that from 2000 to 2009 there were 491 late term abortions where the baby survived the procedure. Despite being so lucky, these children were left to die. Not only has this not yet been reported, but there is no evidence to suggest that criminal charges were laid against the doctors who performed these procedures. Canada has a law that deals with children just prior to and immediately following birth. Section 223 (2) of the Criminal Code states, A person commits homicide when he causes injury to a child before or during its birth as a result of which the child dies after becoming a human being.” For the 56 sled dogs and the German shepherd there was justice. Not so for 491 members of the human family.

Is Canada really so stuck to its “abortion on demand for any reason through all 40 weeks of pregnancy”? Is “choice” enough reason for law enforcement and the media to remain silent?

When animals are violated, there are appropriate consequences. When born humans are left to die inside the cold tomb of a stainless steel saucer, are we then going to be willfully silent?

It’s time to grow up Canada, this shame has gone on long enough. Let’s put an end to this brutal behaviour before our human rights record becomes even more tarnished.

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