Madam Speaker, I come from an area that is a mixture of both urban and rural communities. I have had animals most of my life. I have a small hobby farm in a rural community on Vancouver Island with hobby farms on all sides of me. People are concerned about animal cruelty. We have had some nasty incidents of people neglecting animals or doing horrendous things to them. People want our existing laws enforced or at least toughened up.
I do not believe it is true when the member says that all the groups requesting this legislation understand the objection our party is putting forward and which he is overlooking. It was very clearly brought forward by the member from St. Albert who said that it was the very sloppy and loose clauses that say that one is guilty of an offence if one kills an animal brutally or viciously regardless of whether it dies quickly. Clauses like that without exemptions for slaughter houses, for hunters and for fishermen will be tested in the courts. I am sure there are members opposite who would like their friends in the courts, the judges and the lawyers to have lots of work testing these cases and prosecuting duck hunters and fishermen. I am sure it hurts a fish to have a hook in its lip. It is not nice but people do fish and we eat those fish.
Our objection with this legislation is the hidden language. It is the clauses that most people have not read. Members opposite know full well that those clauses were put in the bill to make lots of work for lawyers and the courts and to give room to people with another agenda to persecute these people and try to condemn practices that have been around for a long time. We do eat fish and animals whether the member opposite likes it or not.
From our point of view, it is not fair to obstruct good legislation with clauses that will be misused and thereby create all kinds of legal tangles, when it could be simplified very easily by making it very clear that there are exemptions for those who have legitimate animal practices for human food consumption.