Montérégie fur farmer charged with criminal animal cruelty: a first in Canada

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Montreal, November 10 2014 – Following the Montreal SPCA’s criminal investigation into Visons JNJ Inc., a Montérégie fur farm, the farm’s owner, Jean-Luc Rodier, has been charged with 6 counts of animal cruelty and neglect related to approximately 90 foxes, 10, 000 mink and two dogs held captive in the facility. The accused could face up to 18 months in prison and 10, 000$ in fines for each count, as well as a lifetime prohibition on having the custody or control of an animal. To the SPCA’s knowledge, this is the first time that a fur farmer has ever been charged with animal cruelty in Canada. Rodier was previously convicted of animal cruelty in 1996, however those charges were in relation to dogs that he was breeding for commercial purposes.

Acting on a complaint received for animal cruelty, the Montreal SPCA first visited the fur farm, accompanied by veterinarians, in early May 2014. Several foxes had to be euthanized as they were suffering and had no chance of recovery. Two dogs were also seized from the property. This initial intervention led to the criminal charges announced today. Given its limited powers to intervene on behalf of the remaining animals under the Criminal Code, the Montreal SPCA was forced to subsequently transfer the file to the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec (MFFP), hoping that the ministry would use its unique provincial law enforcement powers to remove the animals from the facility. However, despite repeated efforts to convince MFFP authorities to do so, the ministry remained adamant in its decision not seize the animals and to work “in collaboration” with the fur farmer. For more information about the Montreal SPCA’s efforts to get the MFFP to act, see https://www.spca.com/?p=9772&lang=en and https://www.spca.com/?p=9826&lang=en

“Though we are pleased that the person responsible for the suffering of the foxes and minks on this specific fur farm will be facing criminal charges, this case points to a much bigger problem,” said Alanna Devine, Director of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA. “Every year in Canada, over 2.5 million animals are raised on fur farms, subject to intensive farming practices that seriously compromise their welfare, including confinement in cramped wire cages that deprive them of the ability to satisfy their most basic behavioural needs and death by anal electrocution – practices which are standard in the industry and, sadly, completely legal.”

In order to raise awareness of the plight of animals in the commercial fur trade, the Montreal SPCA, in partnership with the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals (APFA) and LUSH Cosmetics, recently launched the Make Fur History campaign. In addition to providing educational materials aimed at raising consumer awareness via its website, this campaign is an action-oriented, interactive campaign. There are all sorts of ways people can get involved:

  1. Take the fur-free pledge at www.makefurhistory.com, share it with family and friends, and upload inspiring photos to social media sites using the #makefurhistory hashtag.
  2. Go to http://www.spca-mtlaction.com/mfh/retailer  to send a letter to retailers, asking them to #makefurhistory by going fur-free. Also send a letter to the federal Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, requesting that fur farming be banned in Canada by visiting http://www.spca-mtlaction.com/mfh/minister.
  3. Go to www.makefurhistory.com to learn more about the fur industry  and additional ways you can get involved in the campaign.


Media contact: Anita Kapuscinska, Media Relations Coordinator, Montreal SPCA, 514-226-3932, or anitak@spca.com.

About the Montreal SPCA

Founded in Montreal in 1869, we were the first humane society in Canada and our mission is to:

  • protect animals against negligence, abuse, and exploitation;
  • represent their interests and ensure their well-being;
  • raise public awareness and help develop compassion for all living beings.

For many years, the Montreal SPCA has been working hard with the three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal) to improve laws on animal protection. In 2013, our inspection service investigated 1,102 new complaints and conducted the inspection of 2,846 animals, all species combined. A total of 195 animals were seized as a result of their investigations and several criminal prosecutions or charges have been brought.

For more information about the Montreal SPCA, please visit our website at www.spca.com

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