OTTAWA - The House of Commons has passed animal-cruelty legislation designed to toughen Canada's century-old law.

The bill, introduced by a Liberal senator, passed easily by a vote of 189 to 71, with most Conservative, Bloc Quebecois and many Liberal MPs supporting it.

The NDP and some Liberals opposed it.

Animal welfare groups oppose the bill because they see it as a weak update of a bad law.

They say it simply raises the penalties in cruelty cases, and doesn't make it any easier to get convictions.

They support a more comprehensive private-member's bill introduced by Liberal MP Mark Holland.

Holland's bill would make it easier to prosecute abusers and would offer protection to strays and wildlife.