For immediate release
Press Release: Bill 54: Will Quebec really treat animals better?
Montreal, December 4th 2015 – Law 54, accepted today by Minister Paradis, has received much praise for its role in changing Quebec’s position as the worst province for animal protection. The Law claims to ensure that the biological imperatives of animals are met by those responsible for their care. “Changing the status of animals to one that considers them as sentient beings is one thing, respecting the implications of this in practice is another matter entirely,” contends Gabriel Villeneuve, Director of Campaigns for SPA Canada. While the new law aims at improving animals’ legal situation, what of their actual living situation in the countless industries that exploit them?
Over 95% of animals in the agriculture and fur industries are kept in tiny cages their entire lives, and those activities are entirely excluded from the Law. This implies that, for example, the over 4 million pigs and over 500 million chickens in Quebec are not protected. “There is no clause that stipulates that a lifetime in a cage is illegal. How can we claim to respect the biological imperatives of animals if they are in cages, a situation against their basic nature?” demands Dominique Routhier, animal biologist for SPA Canada.
Furthermore, SPA Canada has been lobbying since 2006 to make for-profit dog breeding illegal in Quebec. In response, the only requirement mentioned in Bill 54 is that animals have the possibility to have sufficient mobility, the question is: as defined by who? “No animal should spend its life confined to a cage, no matter its size,” maintains Mr.Villeneuve.
SPA Canada sees other such contradictions with regards to certain veterinary practices that go against the biological imperatives of animals. “Onychectomy, popularly known as declawing, consists in amputating cats’ first phalanges, a permanent and purely esthetic operation that goes against cats’ biological imperatives,” states Mrs. Routhier. Declawing is already illegal in 18 European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and certain cities in the United States. Given the nature of the surgery and its implications, declawing, as well as all other forms of esthetic amputations, should be rendered illegal in Quebec. “If declawing remains legal, how can Minister Paradis state that Quebec is now at the forefront of animal protection laws on an international scale?” questions Mrs. Routhier.
These are but a few examples of how this new law does not fulfill its mandate in respecting the biological imperatives of animals and thus must be revised and improved. While the Minister claims to be inspired by the best animal welfare laws in the world, Quebec will remain ranked in the bottom half of Canadian provinces with regards to their animal protection laws.
About SPA Canada:
SPA Canada is a national nonprofit animal rights organization dedicated to creating awareness and educating people on respecting all animal species.
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