I don't really know how bad or good it is there, but with them shooting dogs like they do, I would not want to live in a country where there is a bounty on them and where they beat the seals to death. then you can't even talk about it without being in fear of your well being. That is really gross THE ABOVE WAS A MSG. I RECEIVED FROM AN ON-LINE FRIEND. SHE INVITED ME TO LIVE WITH HER IN THE STATES. PERCEPTIONS . . . SOUNDS STRANGE WHEN SOMEBODY PUTS IT TO YOU THE WAY IT ACTUALLY IS. SHE SENT ME THE ABOVE-MENTIONED NOTE (WITH INVITATION TO MOVE) WHEN SHE READ OF THE LAW SUIT FILED BY THE INFAMOUS S.P.C.A. WHICH IS LISTED BELOW MY PERSONAL PARAGRAPH.
ANIMAL ADVOCATES SOCIETY FIGHTS BC SPCA LAWSUIT
Large amounts of SPCA funds have been spent trying to silence the small volunteer, not-for-profit group and its AAS website. Examinations for Discovery: April to June: Lawsuit Time Line: scroll down
Animal Advocates Society (AA is a BC based organization that acts on behalf of abandoned and suffering animals. AAS works around the principles of research, rescue, rehabilitate, rehome, and reform.
“In order to defend this lawsuit, which could cost up to $300,000, I’ve had to use my home’s equity. Whose money is the SPCA using?” said Judy Stone, founder of the Animal Advocates Society. “Wouldn’t that money be better used on spaying and neutering the animals it sells and treating disease instead of killing or selling sick animals?”
February 2007: the BC SPCA attempted to silence the Animal Advocates Society by applying to the BC Supreme Court for an extraordinary "confidentiality order". The order would have prevented AAS and the other defendants from making any use of documents included in the BC SPCA's List of Documents for any purpose outside the litigation, unless they could establish the document was "otherwise lawfully available in the public domain".
AAS opposed the application. The Order the BC SPCA was seeking would have covered several hundred documents that the AAS already possesses. AAS argued that this action would unfairly limit its freedom of expression as an animal welfare advocacy group, to have to prove those documents were "lawfully available in the public domain", before it could use them in ways related to its work but unrelated to the lawsuit.
In its affidavit sworn in response to the BC SPCA's application, AAS referred to seven other specific instances where the BC SPCA had either threatened or brought defamation actions against other persons or groups that had made negative statements about the organization. It has always been AAS's position that the BC SPCA's lawsuit against it and the other defendants is a "SLAPP" suit, meant to discourage AAS and others from making statements about the SPCA that it considers critical.
“We are not the first organization to be threatened or sued by the SPCA,” said Stone. “The SPCA won’t disclose how much it has spent to silence people by paying them or threatening them.”
“Surely something is very wrong when BC SPCA Directors quit and post their reasons on the AAS WatchDog board, saying that the only place to know what is really going on with cruelty prevention in BC is to read AAS,” said BC SPCA past-president Rick Sargent.
The BC SPCA recently abandoned its application for the extraordinary confidentiality order it was seeking.
By publishing materials concerning the BC SPCA, whether critical of it or not, on the AAS website and in WatchDog posts, emails, newsletters, and letters to the SPCA and others, it has always been the goal of AAS, to bring about lasting positive change to the BC SPCA and its policies, practices, and procedures, as the largest and most powerful animal welfare organization in the province. This has been stated on the AAS website for seven years. AAS has repeatedly written that it does not want to do the SPCA any financial harm; that in fact we want the SPCA to be financially strong so that it may practice real animal welfare and do real cruelty prevention according to the standards we believe animal-lovers expect and the many small alternative societies practice. For several years after the SPCA announced in 2001 that it would reform its animal-disposing policies and practices, AAS defended some very questionable actions that the SPCA continued, for the oft-stated reason that we were trying to be fair to the SPCA and give it the time necessary to radically change an entrenched animal-disposal business. Over the last four years, we also organized letter-writing campaigns that resulted in the SPCA finally changing a number of important animal-welfare policies that many people found shockingly unethical. Although the SPCA held a Community Consultation process in 2001, and in its report pointed out that the contracting business of animal control/disposal (the dog-catcher) was causing the most public dissatisfaction and loss of support for the SPCA, the animal control/disposal contracting business is still being aggressively pursued by the SPCA.
What AAS urges for the BC SPCA is animal welfare reform similar to that of the San Francisco SPCA, which came several years ago. The first thing the reformers of the San Francisco SPCA did, was refuse animal control contracts.
In August, 2004, the BC SPCA, a large and powerful statutory body, commenced an action in B.C. Supreme Court (L042174) against AAS, a tiny unincorporated group of concerned citizens; Judy Stone; and some other supporters of AAS, claiming that postings critical of the BC SPCA on the AAS website are defamatory. AAS, Judy Stone, and the other defendants engaged counsel and filed defences to the 65 page statement of claim.
In October 2005 all parties attempted mediation of the BC SPCA claim, which attempt failed because of what we considered problematic clauses in the pre-mediation agreement.
Several days before Christmas 2005, all the defendants were served with an amended statement of claim.
In the Spring of 2006, the SPCA began serving the defendants with Notices to Admit.
Between August 2004 and March 2007 the parties exchanged documents and materials, made motions, attended court, and carried out all the other expensive
procedures inherent in litigation. This process is ongoing and trial of the BC SPCA claim is set for September 2007. The SPCA reserved 20 days for this trial. A 20-day trial could easily use $100,000 that consequently won’t be spent on sick and suffering animals.
From April to June 2007 the defendants must attend examinations for discovery where they will be grilled by SPCA lawyers like common criminals.
AAS believes that the purpose of this litigation against it, is to suppress criticism of the BC SPCA and its operations by AAS and others. In other words, AAS believes that this lawsuit is a "SLAPP" suit.
"Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation", or SLAPP, is a phrase coined by US researchers to describe a class of lawsuit that seems designed more to silence public criticism than to receive legitimate compensation. The researchers state: "In contrast to most litigation, the SLAPP suit is brought, not to resolve a problem, but to remove a controversy from the political arena..." As the target of one SLAPP suit stated: "The law of defamation is supposed to protect people's reputations from unfair attack. In practice its main effect is to hinder free speech and protect powerful people from scrutiny. Defamation actions and threats to sue for defamation are often used to try to silence those who criticize people with money and power."
AAS considers that instead of funding improved animal welfare, the BC SPCA funds lawsuits and threats of lawsuits against the advocates of reform. How many more attempts have been made by the SPCA to use or threaten to use the courts to suppress complainants' information? How many lawyers have been hired to negotiate out-of-court settlements with complainants and ex-employees? BC SPCA members and donors deserve an answer to that question. BC SPCA members and donors also deserve to know how many hundreds of thousands the SPCA has paid in legal bills for the litigation against AAS. SPCA members have asked and received no answer at all.
The defendants abhor this litigation as they consider that every dollar spent by the BC SPCA and by themselves on this litigation, is a dollar that will not be used to assist animals in need. However, they believe that they must nonetheless continue to defend their right to express their opinions on animal-welfare and to speak out against what they perceive to be animal-welfare errors made by the BC SPCA.
Judy Stone, using the equity in her home, is paying for the defense of the lawsuit. In order to meet the onerous costs imposed not only by the statement of claim but by processes such as mediation, amended writs, Notices to Admit, the Application for an Order for Confidentiality, and Examinations for Discovery, the SPCA has driven the costs so high, that Judy Stone may soon have to sell her house to continue to defend the action.
Time Line of Activity
January 2001: First legal threat October 2002: Second legal threat August 2004: The SPCA starts a legal action for defamation in BC Supreme Court October 2005: SPCA-demanded mediation abandoned over wording of SPCA’s pre-mediation agreement December 2005: Amended Statement of Claim Spring 2006: Notices to Admit February 2007: BC SPCA Application for an Order of Confidentiality (see page 1) 2007:Application abandoned April to June 2007: Oral Examinations for Discovery
GREEN SCARE: The Constitutional Cost of Prosecuting Animal Rights and Environmental Activists as Terrorists
Wed, March 7, 2007, 6 – 8 PM Brooklyn Law School, Subotnick Center 11th Fl. 250 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn
Presented by: Brooklyn Law School Chapters of the National Lawyers Guild and Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
DON'T MISS THIS TIMELY PANEL!
Special Guest Speaker: Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
Camille Hankins directs Win Animal Rights (WAR), a New York based grassroots animal rights group, whose primary campaign is to stop the killing at Huntingdon Life Sciences. Camille uses her 20 years of corporate expertise to effectively influence animal exploitation businesses. She was awarded the "Grassroots Animal Activist – 2006" award and also serves as Press Officer for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office.
Gráinne O'Neill, a 3L at Columbia, has been researching and collecting information on the extent to which the government has been targeting individuals based on political affiliation. Gráinne is currently a leading expert on the Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF). She is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.
Will Potter, an award-winning reporter based in Washington, D.C., focuses on how the so-called "War on Terrorism" affects civil liberties. Will has tracked how law makers and corporations have labeled animal rights and environmental activists as "eco-terrorists" and has testified before the U.S. Congress on his reporting.
David Rankin, an attorney in private practice in New York City, is the lead attorney defending Win Animal Rights against Huntingdon Life Sciences, and is currently litigating numerous freedom of information law issues. David is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and plays a pivotal role in its Mass Defense Committee.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007, 6-8 PM Brooklyn Law School Subotnick Center, 11th Floor 250 Joralemon Street A reception with vegan food and wine will follow This event is free and open to the public
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