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Bill to protect elephants and great apes advances


Bill to protect elephants and great apes advances

Senator Marty Klyne is sponsoring Bill S-15 in the Senate.

A Government bill to protect elephants and great apes was referred to committee for further study after completing second reading in the Senate.

Bill S-15 would ban the new captivity of elephants and great apes in Canada – including breeding – except if licenced for the best interest of the animal’s welfare, conservation or scientific research. The prohibition would not apply to animals currently in captivity, who are grandfathered in.

The legislation also prohibits the use of elephants and great apes in performances for entertainment purposes.

“Elephants and great apes are self-aware, highly intelligent, emotional and social. They love their friends and families, mourn their dead and use tools. Great apes can even learn and communicate in American Sign Language, sometimes teaching the skill to each other. In many ways, these remarkable creatures are very much like us,” said Senator Marty Klyne, who is sponsoring the legislation in the Senate.

“For elephants and great apes in captivity, Bill S-15 provides the enhanced legal protection they deserve, according to their scientifically established characteristics and needs.”

  • Read his full speech here.

Senator Klyne highlighted that the legislation builds on the Senate’s recent successes to protect animal welfare, including Canada’s whale and dolphin captivity laws, a ban on the import of shark fins, and Senate amendments to Bill S-5 to phase out animal toxicity testing, which became law in June 2023. Senator Klyne views these measures as based in both science and Indigenous values of respect for nature.

The legislation is now before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for further study.

Bill to protect elephants and great apes advances