The SPCA insists on the need for legislation to regulate the living conditions of farm animals in Quebec

Montreal, October 26, 2023 – Yesterday, TVA released images from a Quebec pig farm. These images reveal several highly problematic, yet completely standard, common and legal animal welfare practices to which pigs are subjected in our province such as confinement in cages so small that they deprive the animals of all freedom of movement.

They shed light on the repeated demands of the Montreal SPCA that the living conditions of animals raised for food finally be regulated, as is the case in many countries around the world. The SPCA launched a campaign to this effect last spring, which garnered broad popular support with more than 28,000 Quebecers having signed the manifesto “All Animals Deserve to Be Protected”.

“The millions of animals currently raised for food in Quebec are systematically excluded from the main protections granted by the province’s animal welfare law” affirms Émilie-L. Sauvé, Campaign Manager of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA. “This explains why the living conditions revealed by TVA yesterday are allowed for pigs, while it would be illegal to keep dogs or cats in such conditions.” The images show sows permanently immobilized in gestation or farrowing crates. Other images show dying piglets left with veterinary care, as well as unsanitary conditions.

A new federal bill seeks to discourage the reporting of animal abuse

The release of these shocking images follows on the heels of the launch of the Montreal SPCA’s campaign Behind Closed Doors, which strongly opposes Bill C-275, a federal bill specifically targeting whistleblowers who seek to document animals’ living conditions and abuse on farms. While the Montreal SPCA does not encourage illegal acts, it deplores the fact that whistleblowers are being specifically targeted in an industry whose public regulatory framework is already inadequate.

“These shocking images reveal the suffering inherent in the industry’s practices. It is simply unacceptable today, in 2023, to allow this sector to self-regulate and thus continue to deprive millions of vulnerable animals of the basic protections they deserve,” maintains Mme Sauvé, “At a time when concerned citizens are demanding greater transparency and accountability, such a bill would give an already opaque, self-regulated industry the latitude to operate in secrecy” she concludes.

The protection of animals raised for food in Quebec: a legal void

Despite being known for its progressive values, Quebec society has fallen far behind many jurisdictions around the world that adopted laws or regulations decades ago establishing mandatory standards of care for all animal species, including animals used for agricultural purposes. In 2015, through the passing of the Act to Improve the Legal Situation of Animals, a new provision was added to the Civil Code of Quebec recognizing that animals are not things but rather sentient beings. A new law focusing exclusively on animal welfare, the Animal Welfare and Safety Act, was also enacted. However, animals used for agricultural purposes are excluded from this law’s main protections. In 2023, the industry still holds the power to determine which practices are legal or illegal, regardless of the degree of suffering they inflict on animals.


Source : Montreal SPCA

Montreal SPCA public relations officer : Élodie Létourneau-Venne, public relations account manager, tök communications, 514-247-0526, elodie@tokcommunications.ca

About the Montreal SPCA
Founded in Montréal in 1869, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now better known as the Montreal SPCA) was the first animal-welfare organization in Canada. The SPCA has come a long way since its beginnings and is today the largest animal-protection organization in Québec, speaking on behalf of animals wherever there is ignorance, cruelty, exploitation or neglect.

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