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Over thirty Quebec public figures demand a revision of animals' legal status

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MONTREAL, Jan. 22, 2014 - A manifesto announced today in La Presse calls for a reconsideration of animals' legal status in the Civil Code of Quebec. The manifesto is signed by influential public figures from the media, the arts, and the sciences, and is supported by the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Signatories include Julie Snyder, Anne-France Goldwater, and Georges Laraque.

The manifesto is the result of the collaboration between food ethics author and blogger Élise Desaulniers, moral philosophy researcher Martin Gibert, and the Montreal SPCA.

"Currently, the Civil Code of Quebec considers animals moveable property, no different from a toaster or a chair, and thus assimilates the act of hurting or abusing an animal to the destruction of property" states Me Sophie Gaillard, lawyer and campaigns manager for the Montreal SPCA's Animal Advocacy Department. "Not only is this concept morally questionable, but it also clashes with how the majority of Quebec citizens think about animals."

The manifesto therefore demands that we grant animals a legal status that is distinct from that of inanimate objects, and that takes into account their capacity to feel pleasure and pain - to grant them, in short, the status of sentient being.

The public is asked to join Gilles Proulx, Nat Lauzon, and Daniel Weinstock by signing the manifesto online at animalsarenotobjects.ca

First signatories:

  • Nicolas Basque, musician (Plants and Animals)
  • Josée Blanchette, journalist
  • Léa Clermont-Dion, journalist and director
  • Martine Delvaux, author and professor of literature (UQAM)
  • Élise Desaulniers, author
  • Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy, Montreal SPCA
  • Anne Dorval, actress
  • Jacques Godin, actor
  • Me Anne-France Goldwater, lawyer (Glodwater, Dubé)
  • Stevan Harnad, Canada research chair in cognitive science (UQAM)
  • Jean-Thomas Jobin, comedian
  • Georges Laraque, ex hockey player and activist
  • Claudia Larochelle, television host and author
  • Jacques Languirand, television/radio host, playwright and actor
  • Nat Lauzon, radio host
  • Franco Lepore, Canada research chair in cognitive neuroscience (Université de Montréal)
  • Pascale Lévesque, journalist
  • Marie Soleil Michon, television host
  • Joëlle Morin, actress
  • Christian Nadeau, professor of philosophy (Université de Montréal)
  • Annie-Soleil Proteau, television host
  • Gilles Proulx, journalist and radio host
  • Benoît Roberge, television host and author
  • Michel Seymour, professor of philosophy (Université de Montréal)
  • Julie Snyder, television host and producer
  • Élise Turcotte, author
  • Patricia Tuslane, actress
  • Simon Tremblay Pepin, Ph.D. candidate in political science (York University)
  • Julien Villeneuve (Anarchopanda)
  • Daniel Weinstock, director of the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy
  • Laure Waridel, co-founder of Équiterre
  • Matthew Woodley, musician (Plants and Animals)
  • Marc Zaffran/Martin Winckler, physician and author
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