Windsor

Liberal MP defends efforts to update animal-protection laws

A group representing hunters and anglers in Ontario claims that a private member’s bill aimed at protecting animals may put many people on the wrong side of the law.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith introduced Modernizing Animal Protections Act as a private member’s bill

A group representing hunters and anglers in Ontario claims that a private member's bill aimed at protecting animals may put many people on the wrong side of the law.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, the MP for Toronto's Beaches-East York riding, recently introduced a bill that is aimed at strengthening animal protections at the federal level.

Among other things, the proposed Modernizing Animal Protections Act is seeking to ban the practice of shark finning, and also the selling of dog and cat fur.

It also would make changes to the Criminal Code that relate to offences against animals.

These broader changes are what Greg Farrant, the manager of government affairs for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, believes are a concern.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, the MP for Beaches-East York, introduced a private member's bill that seeks to strengthen Canada's animal protection laws. (nerskine-smith.liberal.ca)

And he fears they could put hunters, anglers, farmers and others in legal jeopardy

"This bill has been portrayed as being a very simple piece of legislation, but when you look at some aspects of the bill, it is anything but simple," Farrant told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive on Wednesday. "And it opens up anybody in the animal-use community across this country to the possibility of criminal charges."

However, Erskine-Smith says this is not the case.

"This is about stopping animal abuse, not legitimate animal use," Erskine-Smith told Afternoon Drive in an interview on Wednesday.

Erskine-Smith also said he is open to amending the bill, if there are issues that need to be addressed.

With files from the CBC's Bob Steele and CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive

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