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Canada’s Criminal Justice System plays a critical role in ensuring the overall safety, wellbeing and productivity of Canadians. When we have confidence in our justice system, we feel safe in our communities and our quality of life improves, as well as our contribution to Canada’s prosperity.

Evidence-based research shows the direct link between animal violence and human violence . Cases of partner violence, gang violence, youth crime, organized crime, assault, homicide, sexual abuse and child abuse, weapons and illicit drugs also commonly involve animal abuse. This pattern is known as the Violence Link.

These are just some of the ways in which animal health and human health are interconnected.

Cruelty to animals, the use of animals to victimize vulnerable persons, and the humane treatment of animals in human care are therefore important aspects of the criminal justice system and the laws that underpin it. 

Criminal justice stakeholders such as law enforcement, victim services, social services, the judiciary, and animal care professionals must be trained on the Violence Link. Evidence points to the benefit of a collaborative, hollistic approach in order to provide both outcomes for people and animals. Similarly, Canada’s prosecution community needs to be trained on the effective prosecution of animal abuse cases and the Violence Link.

Unfortunately, Canada’s criminal justice system and laws do not adequately recognize or account for animal welfare and the Violence Link, nor is there sufficient awareness, training and resources available for stakeholders.

In order to address these issues, Humane Canada has launched the groundbreaking Criminal Justice System Reform Program. This Program integrates:

two dog paws on human hand

The Criminal Justice System Reform Program is lead by a dedicated member of Humane Canada staff, Kerri Thomson.

If you are interested in learning more about the Criminal Justice System Reform Program, please contact

The National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty (NCPAC) is a community of Prosecutors and allied professionals from across Canada who are working together in the service of the public interest to support the effective and efficient prosecution of animal welfare offences.

As a program of Humane Canada the NCPAC includes representative Crown Prosecutors from the majority of Canadian provinces together with allied professionals working in any field involved in prosecuting animal welfare offences (for example animal enforcement and animal protection officers, veterinarians (and other animal care professionals), lawyers, policymakers, academics and articled students interested in pursuing a career as a prosecutor).

Our aim is to assist Prosecutors and allied professionals in achieving appropriate, consistent and proportional outcomes for animal welfare offences.

For more information and resources, and to sign up to the NCPAC newsletter visit the NCPAC site.