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Natural Resources
March 1, 2010

New Animal Protection Legislation on Spring Legislative Agenda

The Provincial Government confirmed today that a new Animal Health and Protection Act will be introduced into the House of Assembly during the spring session.

"We have been reviewing our existing six live animal statutes and consulting with special interest groups on the consolidation of these acts into a new, modern and tougher Animal Health and Protection Act," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency. "We are now ready to bring forward an all encompassing piece of legislation for debate that will address concerns and issues raised over cruelty to animals in this province and stiffer penalties for such behavior."

The Provincial Government announced last April that it would be reviewing its existing live animal statutes. The Department of Natural Resources consulted the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), municipalities and representatives from the livestock industry and considered submissions from other special interest groups and the public in this process. Officials are now in the process of developing a draft bill for the consideration of the legislature.

The six acts being consolidated into one are the Animal Protection Act, Dog Act, Heritage Animals Act, Livestock Act, Livestock Health Act and Poultry and Poultry Products Act. Most of this legislation was enacted in the 1970s and has not been significantly updated. The new Animal Health and Protection Act will address the definition of animal cruelty and appropriate penalties, enforcement and animal control activities. As part of this review, the Animal Health Division of the Department of Natural Resources also evaluated animal welfare legislation across Canada.

"Our comprehensive consultation process helped determine the areas in which improvements are required," said Minister Dunderdale. "What we heard reaffirmed the importance of consolidating the current legislation into one comprehensive act, and placing greater emphasis on increased penalties around animal cruelty. Our department has received letters and e-mails from concerned citizens about the recent cases of animal abuse and neglect in our province, and this public awareness and outrage will go a long way in improving the reporting of these incidents and the rescuing of animals that may be in crisis. Cruelty to animals is illegal and we all have a responsibility for reporting any incidents. Our new legislation will provide stiffer penalties for those individuals convicted of these crimes."

Societal expectations and attitudes towards the care of animals have changed since much of the existing legislation was introduced. The new legislation will provide the greatest protection and enforcement possible in regards to animal welfare and will address the fines and penalties for inappropriate treatment of animals and neglect. Details will be provided when the draft bill is released during the spring session.

All six existing pieces of legislation continue to be enforced as the draft bill is developed. Extreme cases of death and grievous treatment can also be dealt with under the Criminal Code of Canada. Cases of abuse can be reported to Crimestoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). For further details on the review process, please visit

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Media contact:

Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-8241

2010 03 01                                                      11:05 a.m.

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