A step backwards for animal rights?
In New animal welfare act positive for P.E.I.: veterinarians ( June 27, 2015), the author quotes the P.E.I. Veterinary Medical Association as stating that the proposed Animal Welfare Act would “use Canadian Codes of Practice to set firm minimum standards of care that are required for health and comfort.”
In fact, the proposed legislation does not yet refer to the Canadian Codes of Practice. That would be the role of the new regulations, if and when the Lieutenant Governor in Council creates them.
But what is clear is that the proposed legislation does not even provide for these codes of practice to set minimum standards of care, as they do now. It is the opposite: compliance with a standard incorporated under any new regulations would provide a get-out-of-jail-free card for animal abuse.
Existing Animal Protection Regulations incorporate many of these codes of practice as firm standards of care that must be followed, as authorized by the current Animal Health and Protection Act. But the proposed Act would eliminate this framework and instead allow for the codes of practice to be incorporated only to excuse causing animals to suffer.
In other words, the new legislation would not apply to the majority of practices that cause the majority of suffering endured by animals at human hands.
The farming industry has operated in secrecy, duping the public with illusory, one-sided marketing.
As public awareness of controversial practices like extreme confinement, rapid growth and mutilations without painkillers increases, business-as-usual is increasingly under scrutiny from a public that is rightly horrified.
The new legislation is undeniably an improvement in certain areas, but it is a dramatic step back in others, at a time when we should be moving to improve - not weaken - animal protection. Anna Pippus, Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy, Animal Justice