MONTREAL (June 19, 2013) — Quebec’s Agriculture Minister François Gendron has announced plans to create a permit system to address the abuse of animals at Quebec puppy mills, drawing mixed reaction from animal welfare organizations (link to interview: http://bcove.me/q7gp8480). Humane Society International/Canada and the Montreal SPCA applaud the announcement but note that the proposed permit system is flawed, and Quebec’s current animal protection laws provide ample tools for ending abuse at puppy mills. However, there has been a lack of action to enforce the laws by the Quebec government to date.
Ewa Demianowicz, campaigner for HSI/Canada said, “While we appreciate the Minister’s enthusiasm, there is no reason whatsoever for the Quebec government to further delay shutting down abusive puppy mills. Major improvements to our animal welfare laws and new regulations have been in force for a year now and Quebec’s animal protection laws are more than adequate to put an end to unethical breeders. But even the best piece of legislation is useless if it is not properly enforced. We know that hundreds, if not thousands, of horrific puppy mills are still in operation in Quebec. Unfortunately, the Provincial government has yet to take the steps needed to shut them down.”
Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy at Montreal’s SPCA said, “The Quebec Animal Health Protection Act, if properly enforced, can be effective in shutting down unethical breeding facilities. Regarding the proposed permit system, we continue to ask for a cap on the maximum number of animals permitted in any breeding facility to ensure a minimum standard of care and to limit the number of dogs and cats entering an already over-saturated market. We also want to see a basic registration system for any commercial transaction involving animals so that there is accountability and traceability for animals sold by any means – including online. These are legislative measures that the provincial government has the power to adopt, and they will be critical in putting an end to unethical and irresponsible breeding in this Province.”
Both political parties in power in Quebec have announced measures against puppy mills, but only a handful of these commercial breeding facilities have been effectively shut down over the years. SPAs and SPCAs receive numerous complaints and tips from the public. HSI/Canada and the Montreal SPCA are urging the Quebec government to take urgent action to properly enforce the current animal welfare laws. The groups also call for development of a permit system that includes a cap on the number of companion animals used for breeding in a given facility as well as registration for all sales or transaction involving companion animals.
- Puppy mills are mass-production facilities that churn out puppies for the pet trade with an emphasis on profit over animal welfare. Breeding dogs in puppy mills have no real quality of life, and are often confined to small wire cages for most of their lives with little or no socialization, exercise or veterinary care.
- In 2009, after massive public outcry regarding puppy mills and insufficient animal welfare standards in Quebec, the Charest government pledged to address the crisis and launched a special companion animal task force under Agriculture Quebec to identify solutions to animal welfare problems in the Province.
- Since 2008, Montreal’s SPCA has rescued hundreds of dogs from inhumane conditions in breeding facilities.
- In June 2012, the Quebec government adopted Bill 51, an act to amend the Provincial Animal Health Protection Act, which improves the safety and welfare standards of companion animals in Quebec.
- In April 2013, ANIMA-Québec announced a change of orientation, transferring its mandate of inspections and enforcement of provincial animal welfare laws to the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.