Illegal to Kill Cattle?

I was cruising the Criminal Code of Canada, looking to see what I could find on civil disobedience and if I could lose my spotless police-check record (which I need for my field of work) should I ever feel like being a little stubborn in a protest at some point. I didn’t find what I was looking for, because I got sidetracked by a criminal offence pertaining to cattle.

  • 444. (1) Every one commits an offence who wilfully
    • (a) kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures cattle; or
    • (b) places poison in such a position that it may easily be consumed by cattle.

And the following offence.

  • 445. (1) Every one commits an offence who, wilfully and without lawful excuse,
    • (a) kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose; or
    • (b) places poison in such a position that it may easily be consumed by dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose.

According to section 444 of the Criminal Code, it is illegal to kill cattle. There is no mention of any exceptions (such as those found in section 287 regarding the exceptions to the legal restrictions on abortion) and if you’ve ever taken a high school law class, you know how nitty-gritty those legal folks can get with precision of language.

On the topic of language, I would like to note the given definition of cattle.


« bétail »

“cattle” means neat cattle or an animal of the bovine species by whatever technical or familiar name it is known, and includes any horse, mule, ass, pig, sheep or goat;

Upon finding this, I was surprised to see that the term cattle officially refers to other “farm” animals as well; not exclusively bovines.

So… the Criminal Code states the killing of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, horses etc as a criminal offence punishable by fine and/or imprisonment, with no exceptions listed… yet there are no slaughterhouse-busts. Apparently mind altering substances that individuals (consent to) take illegally is worth substantially more police attention than the endless number of lives being taken illegally (and without consent).


Pig Island

To the man at the red light who held my gaze for what felt like hours: Thank you. Thank you for looking. Thank you for not intentionally choosing ignorance. Thank you for not scoffing and turning away like so many others. You gave me hope. And I really needed that today. You looked at me and you seemed confused. But you didn’t look away. Then you looked concerned. But you didn’t look away. Then you looked sad. And you continued to look into my eyes. I felt like we had finally come to an understanding, and I swear I saw you give the tiniest of nods. You understand now. You understand where your food comes from, and you understand that it’s wrong. Thank you for looking me in the eye for that minute that felt like an eternity. Thank you for looking. Thank you for seeing.

When my class was canceled this morning, my friend and I decided to join Toronto Pig Save to bear witness to the pigs about to be slaughtered, and to protest meat in general to passers-by. We had signs, we had pamphlets, and we wanted you to see us. That was my experience with one person in particular and possibly the highlight of my day. There were obviously many low points too. Today I learned that SEVEN THOUSAND young pigs are slaughtered daily at that one death-house in Toronto.

We only had one truck pass by us when I was there. As it was getting closer I got angry at the people in the cars. I was waving and pointing ferociously, yelling THEY’RE RIGHT THERE! LOOK AT THEM! No one seemed to care. Or maybe I was just too heartbroken to notice. Then the truck was in front of us. It stopped with a jolt, and the pigs were shaken. I couldn’t control the tears by that point. Then the asshole lurched the truck again, just to shake them another time. I stuck my hand through. I rubbed them. One of them sniffed my fingers intently. I told them I was sorry. I told them I was so sorry and I couldn’t stop crying.

Jo-Anne McArthur was there taking pictures. I hope she got some of me crying. I need my friends and loved ones to understand how much this hurts me, to know that people that I love and value are participating in this. My heart is always breaking.





Photos taken by my friend E