The Tuxedo Party of Canada Election Platform
Nova Scotia 2013
The Tuxedo Party was formed in 2012 by a group of friends seeking solutions for the over-population of cats in the Halifax Regional Municipality. They were creative, and had Tuxedo Stan (a cat) run for mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). While not officially on the ballot, it was a clever campaign to raise awareness of the plight of cats in HRM, and the dire need for a low cost spay-neuter program (as other cities have). The success of the campaign surprised even the organizers – it reached news media/people around the world. It also spawned a line of Stan merchandise the proceeds of which support Stan’s favorite charity Spay Day HRM – a registered charity that helps people on low income spay and neuter their cats.
Tuxedo Stan’s campaign was successful. In April 2013, HRM Council unanimously approved a grant of $40,000 to the SPCA to construct a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. A low-cost clinic is the first important step in addressing the cat over-population.
Tuxedo Stan next set his sights on the provincial political scene, however he succumbed to cancer one day after the official announcement of the provincial election. The fight for the rights of cats will continue; Stan’s brother Earl Grey has taken over the reins of the Tuxedo Party and will run for Premier of Nova Scotia. He plans to continue to lobby for affordable spay/neuter programs province wide, to ensure cat issues are included in the revised Animal Protection Act, and to fight for fairness for cats.
– The Act
On April 22, 2013 the province announced plans to update and strengthen the Animal Protection Act, with the amending statute The Protection of Animal Welfare and Security Act (PAWS). In the revised Act, penalties for animal abusers will be increased: there will be standards for shelters/tethers/restraints, standards regarding the sale of dogs, and standards regarding the transportation/care of dogs. The statute also expanded the definition of animal distress.
While we support increased protection for ALL animals, there was a clear oversight in that issues related to cats are not included.
Our point: Revise/update the Animal Protection Act to include issues specific to cats. There are several areas in which this could be done.
The proposed changes include provisions whereby it is illegal to sell a dog whose health has not been certified by a veterinarian. This is intended to address the issue of puppy mills, and to confirm that sellers ensure the health and well-being of their dogs.
Our point: There are also kitten mills, in which breeding cats are kept in poor conditions, and sick kittens are sold. These animals need protection also.
In the Act it is not illegal to abandon a cat – this is a huge issue in our province. These cats are usually unspayed/unneutered, and (through no fault of their own) contribute to the overpopulation. They also suffer through starvation, dehydration, disease, parasites, predation, and trauma.
Our point: It must be made illegal to abandon companion animals, including cats, in the province of Nova Scotia. This clause should be added to Section 22 of the Act: Duties of owners of animals other than farm animals. It is a myth that cats are “fine” on their own, in reality they live in miserable conditions and suffer greatly. Cats are not disposable!
The care of abandoned farm animals is covered by the Act, however there is nothing to ensure that abandoned companion animals (cats, etc) receive the help/care that they need.
Our point: In addition to identifying abandonment of companion animals as an offense, we must also ensure there are measures (legal and financial) to assist them eg. grants to the SPCA or other rescue organizations.
The word ‘cat’ appears nowhere in the Act.
Our point: Identify cats specifically in the Act; other species are identified. Cats are (after all) the most popular companion animal in North America. This would also demonstrate they have importance and value, and that their issues are unique.
The cat over-population crisis is province wide. Affordable spay/neuter programs are the most effective way of controlling cat populations, reducing the spread of disease, and preventing suffering.
Our point: Provincial assistance is needed for affordable spay/neuter program in other communities. In this way, the government models responsible behavior and leads by example. There are various models that could be successful, including mobile spay/neuter clinics.
- Cruelty Investigation and Prosecution
In order to uphold the Animal Protection Act, resources (financial and human) must be increased to support cruelty investigations and judicial proceedings. Currently the SPCA does not have regular funding, and there is no prosecutor who specializes in animal welfare.
Our point: Provide increased/ongoing funding to the SPCA for cruelty investigations, it is more economical than investigations through the Department of Agriculture. The SPCA also regularly deals with issues of domestic pets and works with pet owners to achieve long term solutions. Additionally, a Crown Prosecutor who specializes in animal cruelty should be hired/appointed. This would allow the prosecutor to develop focus and expertise. There is a precedent for this – it was done several years ago for sexual assault cases.