Two and a half years after the adoption of Bill 54 aimed, which aimed to improve the legal situation of animals, we have come to a sad conclusion: animals in Quebec are no better protected than before!
The law itself is good. However, the way the Quebec government chooses to apply it is so lax that animals continue to suffer and puppy mills continue to proliferate!
The Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) frequently denies inspectors the authorization to remove animals from premises where they are being mistreated, even when there are clear violations of the law.
The MAPAQ continues to give permits to puppy mills that contravene the law. Even individuals who have been convicted of animal cruelty are being granted permits.
Despite there being a permit system for this type of facility under the law, the government has not put it into force, allowing fur farms to operate in the absence of adequate government oversight.
To this day, compliance with these codes remains strictly voluntary. There are no regulations that govern the way that animals raised for food are treated on farms.
For a period of over three months, the government failed to renew agreements giving SPAs and SPCAs the power to enforce the law. The government recently indicated it was willing to renew the agreements, but under the exact same conditions - leaving SPAs and SPCAs with their hands tied and with little power to protect animals under the provincial law.
Even before the agreements expired, the government refused to allow SPAs and SPCAs to enforce the law with respect to species other than dogs and cats, despite the fact that the law covers many other species.
Even before the agreements expired, the government had not provided any training to SPA and SPCA inspectors since 2014, before the new law was passed. Given that completing government training is required to become an inspector, this lack of training prevented SPAs and SPCAs from hiring new inspectors and even replacing those who leave their jobs.
1. The law must be strictly enforced! The government must favour the removal of animals from their owners in the event of an offence that jeopardizes the animals’ well-being or safety, as provided for by the law.
2. SPAs and SPCAs must be able to enforce the law without having their hands tied and with respect to all species!
3. Transparency is key! The government must make public information related to animal seizures and other coercive measures taken against offenders.
“As soon as I came into office [...], I stated that animal welfare was a priority. The various cases of animal cruelty exposed in the media have raised concerns and shocked the Quebec population. Quebec needs to tighten its legislation.”
“We often hear that Quebec is the best place in Canada to operate a puppy mill, but I want it to become the most difficult place to do so.”
“Quebec has found itself in the bottom tier of animal protection and I do not want us to stay there. I want us to be in the top tier, and am setting that as our goal.”
Pierre Paradis, Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation de 2014 to 2017