Montérégie fur farmer pleads not guilty to animal cruelty charges

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur
Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur

Montreal, January 6th 2015 – Jean-Luc Rodier, the owner of Visons JNJ Inc., a Montérégie fur farm that was the subject of a Montreal SPCA criminal investigation, pleaded not guilty to six counts of animal cruelty and neglect at the Saint-Hyacinthe courthouse yesterday. He will be due back in court on April 13th. The charges concern foxes and mink that Mr. Rodier breeds for their fur, as well as two dogs. The accused could face up to 18 months in prison and 10, 000$ in fines, as well as a lifetime prohibition on having the custody or control of an animal. To the Montreal 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 Me Sophie Gaillard, lawyer and campaigns manager for the Montreal SPCA’s Animal advocacy department. “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 or gassing – 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, launched the Make Fur History campaign last fall. 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.

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

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