March 1, 2010
New Animal Protection Legislation on Spring
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
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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Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
2010 03 01 11:05 a.m.