I am very pleased to report that the Quebec government has made good on its promise to act on necessary changes to animal welfare. This has been something animal welfare activists such as myself have been calling for. It was a major focal point at an animal welfare conference I attended recently in Montreal and reported on here.
Minister Pierre Corbeil makes important announcements about animal welfare
QUÉBEC CITY, Dec. 6, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Pierre Corbeil, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Minister responsible for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and the Nord-du-Québec region, and MNA for Abitibi-Est, announced two major courses of action in response to the recommendations of the pet welfare task force: tabling of a bill in the National Assembly to amend the Animal Health Protection Act, primarily with regard to animal safety and welfare, and passing into law of the Regulation respecting the safety and welfare of cats and dogs.
Bill to amend the Animal Health Protection Act
The bill to amend the Animal Health Protection Act provides for stiffer fines and penalties. For example, the current fine ranging from $200 to $5000 for a first offence could go as high as $25,000 or even $75,000 in the case of certain repeat offences.
To better address citizens' concerns, new powers will be added to the Act to enable the Minister to:
- Require permits for certain owners or custodians of cats and dogs and for operators of a location where dogs and cats are kept, i.e. shelters, pounds, and locations run by individuals or organizations dedicated to animal welfare;
- Set standards for dog or cat euthanasia and for prescribing or prohibiting certain methods;
- Determine the skills or qualifications required of permit holders or their employees;
- Determine the maximum number of cats or dogs that can be kept at a single location or by any one individual.
The bill is slated for study by a parliamentary committee this winter.
Regulation respecting the safety and welfare of cats and dogs
The Regulation respecting the safety and welfare of cats and dogs has been passed into law and will be published in the Gazette officielle du Québec on December 14. It will come into force on June 14, 2012.
The regulation includes standards for keeping animals and will make the job of inspectors easier.
"I'm convinced that these new measures, combined with the efforts of all the partners, will make us even more effective in fighting abusive practices and strengthening pet protection. Better treatment of animals requires everybody's cooperation. It all starts with greater accountability by everyone who acquires a pet," said Minister Corbeil.
Minister Corbeil went on to say that as soon as the amendments to the Animal Health Protection Act are passed, he will table a new draft regulation with Cabinet making a permit with pre-conditions mandatory for keeping certain numbers of animals.
Lastly, some aspects of the issue remain especially sensitive, including euthanasia, overpopulation, spaying, and dogs kept tied. To help him in his deliberations, Minister Corbeil will ask the Kelley task force on animal welfare, which is continuing its excellent work, to produce recommendations on the action to take, in collaboration with the partners.
For further information about the proposed amendments, go to www.mapaq.gouv.qc.ca/securitebienetreanimal.