New animal protection regulations have been enacted in Quebec, Canada, in May 2022. The new Animal Welfare and Safety Act 2021’s purpose is “to establish rules to ensure the protection of animals with a view to guaranteeing their welfare and safety throughout their lives”. It bans declawing in cats for non-therapeutic reasons, the tail-docking and ear-cropping of dogs, the use of gas chambers for euthanasia, and the use of prong collars for dogs, among other measures. It also sets a maximum of 50 cats or dogs allowed to be owned by one breeder, in an attempt to tackle the problem of puppy mills.
Dr Isak Kasuto, a veterinarian, said to CT News about declawing and prong collars, “We’re trying to make clients understand that these are invasive procedures, not a simple procedure but an actual surgical amputation…Prong collars, people don’t understand that they are a lot more harmful than they think, and it won’t correct the behavioural issue. There are a lot of non-aggressive other ways of managing the behaviour that you’re trying to stop.”
Ewa Demianowicz, senior campaign manager of the Humane Society International Canada, said regarding the maximum number of cats and dogs allowed the following: “When you consider it, 50 animals in just one facility it can equal hundreds of puppies per year, and it’s usually one or two people caring for them…It’s great to have improvements legislated on paper, but it won’t make a difference for animals concretely if we don’t have inspectors.”
This law doesn’t protect all animals, though. Although it says in Section 5 that “the owner or custodian of an animal must ensure that the animal’s welfare and safety are not compromised” and in Section 6 that “A person may not, by any act or omission, cause an animal to be in distress,”, in Section 7 it says “Sections 5 and 6 do not apply in the case of agricultural activities, veterinary medicine activities, teaching activities or scientific research activities carried on in accordance with generally recognized rules. Agricultural activities include, in particular, the slaughter or euthanasia of animals and the use of animals for agricultural purposes or at agricultural exhibitions or fairs.” Therefore, this new animal welfare law only improves the conditions of a very small proportion of animals living in the Canadian province.