Judge dismisses advocacy group’s bid to speak on behalf of animals in court

An Ontario judge has dismissed an advocacy group’s bid to secure the right to speak on behalf of animals in legal settings.

Superior Court Justice Lorne Sossin says several of the issues raised by Canadians for Animal Protection have merit and deserve to be heard before a court.

But he says the group, led by retired Toronto lawyer Sandra Schnurr, failed a test to determine if a group has the right to have standing in court.

The case began earlier this year when Schnurr filed a notice of application against five retail giants selling glue traps, which are commonly used to catch rodents.

Schnurr argued the traps subject animals to agonizing, prolonged deaths and filed an application seeking to ban Canadian Tire, Walmart, Home Depot, Home Hardware and Lowe’s from selling them.

The retailers countered that Schnurr did not have standing to bring such a matter before the courts and therefore had no right to proceed with the complaint, a position Sossin supported in a ruling released Thursday.

But while the judge’s written decision said Schnurr failed to meet the threshold for public standing, he said she is still free to pursue her primary complaint through other avenues.

“This is not a case where the denial of public interest standing will mean that … the lawfulness of the use of glue traps will not reach the courts,” Sossin said in his decision. “Such a conclusion would be premature. Rather, various paths exist to bring this serious issue to court, which have yet to be pursued.”

Schnurr issued a statement expressing disappointment with Sossin’s decision but confidence that courts would eventually view the matter in a different light.

“There will be other, similar Canadian court cases in the future in which activists will ask for the right to speak on behalf of animals,” she wrote. “It is only a matter of time before a court grants that right.” MORE

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