Madam Speaker, I want to thank the minister for giving us a wonderful legal speech, including legalese galore. One has to really think hard about some of these things, especially when one says that if killing is done without unnecessary pain, then it is done without unnecessary pain. That is awfully close to circular reasoning, but I guess that is what lawyers do in court and that is one of the things that is necessary to make our legal system work.
I would like to comment on Bill C-10B, cruelty to animals. In general it would be fair to say that the purpose of any such law would be to prevent the abuse of animals, the infliction of unnecessary pain, in fact to assure the humane treatment of animals in all instances. On the other hand, it should also serve to protect people who use animals in normal everyday living and they should hopefully, by our laws, be prevented from being continually dragged into the courts and having to defend themselves against practices which are judged by some others to be cruel, yet they are practices which have been used for many years.
I think for example back when I was a youngster. I know that probably, Madam Speaker, you tire of my stories from my youth, but we did among other things have animals on the farm, obviously. We had cows, pigs, horses, sheep, chickens and on occasion we had geese. Without those animals in those years, we would not have been able to live. They provided us with, in some case, the bare necessities of life, including food and other things.
I remember very fondly, even though at that time there were no laws that governed this, my dad particularly was very careful that we treated our animals with respect. We did not treat them as if they were humans, by no means, but we treated them in such a way that they did not have to endure unnecessary pain.
I know occasionally animals, especially large animals like cows, have to be dealt with rather harshly because they have to be controlled to prevent human lives in the barn from risk. I know for example that when we had bulls on the farm, they always had rings in their noses. When we took the bull out, we had a rope around his neck but we also had a rope through that ring. If he misbehaved, then there would be a tug on the ring on the nose. It was a very good persuader. He always followed us exactly the way he was supposed to because he wanted to avoid that pain.
Now the question is, is it painful to have a ring in the nose of an animal? Is that cruel? Should a person go to jail if he does that or be fined? I say that is much to be preferred to having one of the children in the family, of which I was one, suffer injury or death. We had to do these things to control these animals. Of course, once they are trained, they behave reasonably well and normally we do not have to take these extraordinary efforts.
It would be a tough sell to say that having a ring through one's nose is an act of cruelty because all we have to do is go down to the mall nowadays and we will see many teenagers and even older with rings in their noses and, dare I say it, in a whole bunch of other places, which really boggles the mind in my view, but then I guess I am a little old fashioned.
In any case it is very important that we continue to permit those who deal in animal husbandry to do so without fear of being prosecuted and to have to spend a lot of time in court and a lot of money on lawyers.