A step back­wards for an­i­mal rights?

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

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

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