Press release – For immediate release

The Michel-Chartrand Park deer will not be culled until a trial is held on the merits

Montréal, December 14 2022 – In a decision rendered this afternoon, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the arguments presented by the Montreal SPCA and ordered the City of Longueuil to suspend any plans to cull the deer in Michel-Chartrand Park until the case can be heard on its merits.

In their decision, the Honourable Justices Jacques J. Levesque, Stephen W. Hamilton and Michel Beaupré of the Quebec Court of Appeal state that “to the extent that the case on the merits proceeds expeditiously, the harm to the public interest alleged by the City should not worsen, while the harm alleged by the appellants if the deer cull were to commence would become irreparable”. (SPCA translation)

“The Montreal SPCA is delighted with this victory in the Court of Appeal and is relieved that the deer in Michel-Chartrand Park will be safe until the case can be heard on its merits,” said Sophie Gaillard, Acting Executive Director and Director of Animal Advocacy and Legal Affairs at the Montreal SPCA. “We are pleased to know that we will have the opportunity to bring before a court the important societal and legal issues raised by this case.”

As part of its intervention, the Montreal SPCA will argue that animals’ status as “sentient beings” in the Civil Code of Quebec, which was granted to them in 2015, requires that governments take into account their sentient nature and therefore their welfare, as well as their interest in remaining alive. In this context, the decision by the City of Longueuil to put the deer to death is problematic in several respects:

The City’s chosen method of killing, bow hunting, frequently causes wounds that do not kill the target animal instantly, such that the time until death can be prolonged and the animal remains conscious while dying from massive blood loss. This method therefore presents a high risk of suffering.

By apparently omitting any preventive component (such as sterilization or chemical contraception of the deer due to remain on site at Michel-Chartrand Park), the City of Longueuil’s plan condemns these animals and their offspring to repeated lethal interventions as the population increases over the years. Because of the sentient nature of deer, population control methods that keep animals alive should be prioritized, and lethal measures should only be considered as a last resort.

“Our relationship to animals has evolved considerably in recent years,” said Sophie Gaillard. “Resorting by default to killing wild animals, simply because they are considered “nuisances”, is no longer considered socially acceptable today, particularly given that when we look at what is being done elsewhere, we see that responsible, ethical and innovative wildlife management that is science-based and supported by expert opinion, is indeed possible. It is crucial for Quebec to develop expertise in this type of approach.”

The Montreal SPCA is represented in this case by Marie-Claude St-Amant, a partner at Melançon Marceau Grenier Cohen, LLP, who also chairs the SPCA’s board of directors.

The trial on the merits will be heard by the Superior Court in Longueuil on April 24, 25 and 26.


Source : Montreal SPCA

Media contact: Jeanne Beauchamp, chargée de comptes relations publiques, tök communicatons, 514-535-0326 | extension 201, jeanne@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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