Upcoming Meeting Provides Critical Opportunity for Action
MONTREAL – Humane Society International/Canada and the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals applaud the recent steps by the Quebec government to improve animal protection laws, but note that further action is needed. An upcoming taskforce meeting on January 13 will provide an important opportunity to set an action plan for strengthening the law, and the public is urged to monitor the process closely.
“We are encouraged by the actions the Quebec government has taken to date to address cruelty to animals in our province,” said Lauren Scott, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada. “However, more action is desperately needed to protect companion animals in Quebec. We view the upcoming taskforce meeting as a crucial opportunity for the government to work with animal protection groups and set a clear timeline for implementing the necessary improvements to the law.”
“While the initial draft version of the regulations published in June by the Quebec government in the Gazette Officielle du Quebec lacked several important components, such as provisions dealing with psychological well-being – they provided greater protection than the version recently enacted”, said Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy at the CSPCA. “The enacted regulations are a watered-down version of the draft regulations published”.
In 2009, due to the massive public outcry regarding the insufficient animal welfare standards in Quebec, the Charest government established a special task force under MAPAQ to improve legislation and enforcement in the Province. For nearly three years, this special task force —consisting of animal welfare groups (including HSI/Canada and the CSPCA), veterinarians and industry representatives — worked on draft regulations to improve the security and welfare standards for dogs and cats in Quebec.
While newly enacted regulations improve some standards for animals, they do not address all of the key recommendations of the taskforce. HSI/Canada and the CSPCA have identified the following as the key deficiencies in the current Quebec animal protection legislation:
- There is no limit on the number of animals or breeds that can be confined in a commercial breeding operation.
- There is no requirement for a ratio of minimum numbers of staff people to dogs in their care.
- There is no prohibition on the use of wire flooring (which is often used in large scale puppy mills and causes injuries and deformities in dogs).
- There is no prohibition on permanent tethering of dogs, allowing commercial breeders and other operations to chain dogs 24 hours a day.
- There are no minimum requirements for animals to receive socialization, enrichment or other important components of psychological well-being.
- There is no inclusion of appropriate euthanasia protocols, allowing the gassing of dogs with outdated methods and equipment.
- There is no requirement that an animal housed outside has access to a shaded area, allowing animals to suffer in extreme heat during summer months.
- Critical provisions relating to minimum housing and cleanliness standards do not apply to all cat and/or dog guardians or owners.
- Penalties for the most serious offences do not include jail time. Quebec is the one of the few Provinces that does not have incarceration as a possible punishment for an infraction under the Provincial Animal Welfare Act, even in cases of repeat offences.
HSI Canada and the CSPCA are confident the Quebec government will work with animal protection groups and provide a clear action plan for improving the law during this week’s taskforce meeting. Both organizations will continue to work with the Provincial government to advocate for greater protections for all animals in Quebec.
To view the report that HSI Canada, and the CSPCA took part in drafting in response to the original P-42 amended regulations presented in summer 2011, please click here.