The Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) recently published draft animal welfare regulations and will be holding public consultations on these regulations until February 22, 2019.
In response, the Montreal SPCA released the following statement:
The Montreal SPCA congratulates the MAPAQ on this initiative. However, we believe that the proposed regulations do not go far enough and that several modifications and additions are necessary in order to truly improve animal welfare in Quebec. To facilitate citizen participation, the Montreal SPCA has launched a platform that individuals can visit to send an email to the MAPAQ with just a few clicks: spca.com/en/regulations.
Strengths of the regulations:
- Additional species will now be protected under the Animal Welfare and Safety Act;
- Several sections of the Act establishing compulsory permit systems, in particular for pet stores, fur farms, and persons with 15 or more horses under their care, will now come into force;
- Detailed requirements for equines, guinea pigs, ferrets and rabbits, in addition to dogs and cats, will be put in place.
Weaknesses of the regulations:
- Several species, including farm animals and even some companion animals, such as pot-bellied pigs, continue to be excluded;
- Exemptions for agricultural, educational and scientific research activities, which, among other things, would remove some existing protection for dogs and cats used in research;
- Several measures necessary to improve animal welfare in a meaningful way are absent, including:
o A ban on the permanent chaining of dogs;
o A cap on the number of breeding animals that cat or dog breeders can own;
o Requirements dealing with psychological well-being for all species covered by the Animal Welfare and Safety Act.
“The development of draft regulations represents a great opportunity for the MAPAQ to introduce stricter animal protection requirements to ensure an acceptable level of welfare for all animals in Quebec”, explains Sophie Gaillard, lawyer and Director of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA. “We are asking the public to get involved by visiting spca.com/en/regulations in order to demand some key changes to the government’s proposal.”