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April 27, 2011

Canadian SPCA and HSI Canada Call on the Government to Ensure Humane, Effective Animal Services Throughout Quebec

Humane Society International/Canada

MONTREAL—In the wake of a recent exposé involving Quebec’s largest for-profit animal control facility, the Canadian SPCA (CSPCA) and Humane Society International/Canada call on provincial and municipal governments to ensure more humane and effective animal control services throughout Quebec. A recent broadcast of Radio-Canada’s investigative program “Enquête” revealed a number of shocking practices, including needlessly painful euthanasia methods, at the Berger Blanc, a private animal control company currently contracted to deal with about half of Montreal’s unwanted companion animals.

“The city of Montreal needs to completely re-think the way they look at ‘animal control’ and start realizing that nothing will change as long as they continue to work with a for-profit company that benefits from overpopulation of animals,” said Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy at the CSPCA. “We feel that the Berger Blanc does not have the space, service revenue, or expertise to humanely care for the more than 30,000 animals it takes in annually.”

“The disturbing practices documented at the Berger Blanc underscore a failure by the Quebec government to address the animal welfare crisis in our province. Without a strong provincial law to ensure basic standards for animal services throughout Quebec, municipalities can continue to award animal control contracts to the lowest bidder, sacrificing animal welfare for profit,” said Lauren Scott, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada. “We are calling on the public to pressure their provincial and municipal representatives to ensure all animal services contracts in Quebec put animal welfare first.”

Quebec lacks legislation that would provide uniform standards for animal control throughout the province, allowing animal services facilities in Quebec to operate with highly varied standards of care.

The city of Montreal is suffering from a marked increase in unwanted companion animals, with at least 50,000 animals taken into animal shelters and rescues each year (or around 30/1,000 people which is much higher than other Canadian cities such as Edmonton at 15 per 1,000 people).

For-profit pounds in Quebec actually benefit from pet overpopulation, which increases the number of animals entering their facilities and ensures a constant source of income. Both the CSPCA and HSI Canada called for a shift from an outdated “animal control” model to a modern solution where emphasis is placed on responsible pet ownership and other proactive initiatives to reduce overpopulation problems.

The CSPCA and HSI Canada strongly believe Quebec municipalities must run animal control facilities on a non-profit basis, with strict standards for animal welfare and proactive overpopulation initiatives. The cities of Calgary, Toronto and Edmonton successfully run non-profit animal care and control services—and Montreal must follow suit to ensure the city acts responsibly and ethically.

The CSPCA and HSI Canada are calling for strong provincial standards for animal services, including the operation of pounds and shelters, under the Quebec Animal Health Protection Act (P-42). In addition, more effective municipal by-laws, permits and fines should be integrated into all animal services contracts going forward. The public can expect an announcement in the coming days introducing a committee dedicated to improving animal services in Quebec, which will include the Canadian SPCA and HSI Canada, as well as concerned citizens, veterinarians, and leading animal welfare organizations.

Members of the public are urged to visit hsicanada.ca/bergerblanc to contact their provincial and municipal representatives and sign an online petition.


Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI/Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International — one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than 10 million members and constituents globally — On the Web at hsicanada.ca.

The Canadian SPCA was the first Humane Society in Canada, founded in Montreal in 1869. Guided by the humane ethic, it is the mission of the CSPCA 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 creatures.

Our role is to prevent cruelty to animals through a number of actions that benefit animals and humans. Find us on the Web at www.spcamontreal.com

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