QUEBEC’S NEW ANIMAL WELFARE LEGISLATION

Such good news.  In June, legislation was tabled in the Quebec Assembly that will revamp the existing sections of that province’s Criminal Code, Crimes Against Animals section.

Fundamental to this Bill is the inclusion that animals are sentient beings, that they should no longer be considered solely as property.  Currently, in the eyes of the law in Quebec, an animal has as much value and worth as a piece of furniture.  Now, instead of this 19th Century assumption, animal welfare laws in Quebec will recognize what the vast majority of Canadian citizens understand, namely that animals, like humans, are sentient beings.  They possess conscious perception which allows them to be aware of and feel life through their senses and intelligence.  Given those facts, when animal abuse occurs, it will be recognized for the heinous crime that it is.

Quebec MLA Pierre Paradis, who tabled this Bill, believes that it will transform Quebec from the jurisdiction with some of the least strict animal welfare in North America to one with some of the toughest.  Fines for animal abuse will range from $250- $250,000  and judges will be able to sentence serial offenders for up to 18 month terms.

This Bill is a positive step and, one hopes, the beginning of much-needed reform.  It speaks to pet owners and farmers in particular but, unfortunately,  it makes no mention of  negative, wide-spread practices currently allowed in the food industry.  There remains a great deal to be done on behalf of the chickens, pigs and cows whose meat is so valued for human consumption.

Still, and all, we applaud this legislative breakthrough.  When the fact of sentience is embedded throughout the entire Canadian legal system improvements in standards of all animal welfare will follow.

Sandra Pady, Founder

Advertisements

SWEET SUMMER

It’s a lovely time of year, isn’t it?  Most mornings and afternoons are extremely pleasant when I walk with the dogs on the various parts of the Sanctuary Farm.

Best of all, though, is the fact that the donkeys and mules roam about the fields much more often in summer.  This afternoon as we emerged from one of the forests on the property, the east pastures were spread out like an undulating carpet and they were dotted with donkeys grazing in the waist-high grasses.  Every year I look forward to this seasonal scene: the shining coats glistening in the sun (especially the white equines), the swish, swishing sound of the slowly moving bodies,  and the sight of beautiful long ears poking above heads lowered in total concentration upon the feast before them.   The lushness of the sight never fails to remind me of descriptions of a world long, long ago when there were no human boundaries and the animals were free to roam.

I stood awhile, leaning on the fence with my eyes closed so that I could better listen to the rustling movements and smell more intensely the grasses aroma.  The sensations swirled around me and in the moment, I was particularly grateful to the many, many  people who give so generously of their time, talents and funds so that a scene like this one can be a reality.

Sandra Pady, Founder