CAQ wants to better protect horses and wildlife in captivity

The Quebec government is proposing changes to the Animal Welfare and Safety Act that would require more licenses for breeders of wild animals and pet stores, set health, safety and welfare standards and identify other animals that should be covered by the law.

The proposed changes focus on wild animals or fish that are kept in captivity for breeding purposes, for the fur trade or meat and other food products. The government included wild boar, white-tailed deer, red fox, Arctic fox and American mink in its first draft of the regulation.

When the Quebec government passed Bill 54 to better protect animals in 2015 it was criticized by animal welfare groups for excluding exotic animals and some species of wildlife that are kept in captivity.

The proposed regulations would force companies breeding fox or mink to obtained a new class of license for fur trade purposes, which also requires the companies to follow a number of regulations including: indicating the number of animals capable of reproducing, isolating sick or parasite infected animals and ensuring any cage that houses several mink by equipped with a hammock, a shelf, platform or nest box.

The Quebec government also included new regulations for horse owners.

Owners of 15 or more horses will be required to obtained permits similar to those already in place for keeping 15 or more cats or dogs. The new Animal Welfare Act would also require horse owners provide fresh food and water, groom their animals, keep the animals in a shelter protecting them from bad weather, take the horse outside daily and ensure the animal gets the exercise it needs.

In its assessment of the regulatory changes the government estimated it would cost the animal industries anywhere from $555,000 to $2.5 million to comply with the law.

With the release the government has launched a 45-day public consultation. Anyone who wishes to comment on the draft regulation can do so by sending their written comment to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.