Over 40 000 Quebec Citizens Demand a Revision of the Legal Status of Animals: Incoming Justice Minister called upon to update the Civil Code

Montreal, April 29 2014 – Since its launch on January 22nd, over 40 000 individuals have signed the Animals are not things manifesto. The manifesto, which is supported by the Montreal SPCA, calls for a reconsideration of the legal status of animals in the Civil Code of Quebec. Currently, our Civil Code considers animals to be moveable property, no different from a toaster or a chair. The act of hurting or abusing an animal is viewed as tantamount to the destruction of property.

The manifesto demands that animals be granted a legal status distinct from that of inanimate objects, and that takes into account their capacity to feel pleasure and pain – to grant them, in short, the status of sentient beings.

France recently made a step forward in this direction. On April 15th, in response to a petition launched by the animal protection organization “Fondation 30 million d’amis“, a new category was created in the French Civil Code. Whereas they were previously classified as moveable property, animals in France are now classified as “living, sentient beings”, a status that animals in Quebec are yet to be afforded.

“The manifesto’s success in Quebec clearly shows that it is high time for this province to address the question of animals’ legal status,” said Me Sophie Gaillard, Lawyer and Campaigns Manager for the Montreal SPCA Animal Advocacy Department. “We are calling on Stéphanie Vallée, the new Minister of Justice, to ensure a debate on this issue takes place at the National Assembly, and to initiate the necessary reforms.”


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

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

About the Montreal SPCA: The SPCA was the first humane society in Canada, founded in 1869. Guided by the humane ethic, it is the mission of the Montreal SPCA 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.


Keep in touch

Sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of our activities and get news about our furry and feathered residents.