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June 8, 2015

Quebec Government Proposes New Law to Protect Animals

HSI/Canada praises Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis for strong legislation to improve the welfare of animals

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Francis Vachon/AP Images for HSI

A bill introduced last week into the National Assembly would overhaul the province’s approach to animal protection. Humane Society International/Canada welcomed the proposed law, introduced by Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis, Bill 54, and other changes aimed at improving animal welfare standards in Quebec.
 
“Quebec has consistently ranked last or nearly last in independent assessments of provincial animal welfare legislation, and for years our organization has seen the devastating results for animals,” stated Ewa Demianowicz, campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada. “If this bill passes and the government invests resources to ensure the new laws are enforced, Premier Couillard’s government will have forever changed how animals are treated in Quebec, and how they are viewed in the eyes of the law. The Animal Welfare and Safety Act would affect the lives of millions of animals and bring Quebec’s legislation more in line with public values about how animals should be cared for.”

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Due to unprecedented public outrage over the treatment of animals in recent years, successive governments in Quebec have pledged to improve the province’s animal care regulations and penalties for those found guilty of animal cruelty. Previous regulatory updates have been largely superficial, however, with changes such as increased fines for offenders and the expansion of basic care standards to farm animals. The new proposed bill would make much more significant changes, by introducing possible jail sentences for those found guilty of animal abuse and giving increased powers to inspectors.
 
If adopted, Bill 54 would create the Animal Welfare and Safety Act, replacing the current Animal Health Protection Act in covering the welfare of domestic and farm animals, and expanding coverage to wild mink and fox farmed for their fur. HSI/Canada urges the National Assembly to pass Bill 54 quickly.

Facts:

  • For the past five years, Quebec has ranked lowest of all Canadian provinces for its animal welfare legislation.
  • Quebec is known as the “puppy mill capital of Canada” with estimates of the number of mills ranging from hundreds to thousands.
  • Since 2008, HSI/Canada has helped rescue more than 1,000 dogs from inhumane conditions in commercial breeding facilities across the province.
  • Quebec has little enforcement capacity, largely due to a lack of charitable donations and government funding for the SPCAs and SPAs. To address this problem, HSI Canada has proposed a one percent tax on pet products sold in Quebec, which would generate in excess of $8 million for enforcement purposes annually. Polling shows 73 percent of Quebeckers support this plan.

Media contact: Christopher Paré: 514 395-2914, cpare@hsi.org

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