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July 3, 2015
For immediate release

Province to enact new Animal Welfare Act

Agriculture and Fisheries

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The new Animal Welfare Act will modernize the province’s animal welfare legislation and improve the ability of provincial authorities to act in cases of animal neglect or abuse, says Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Alan McIsaac.

“Acts of animal cruelty and neglect will not be tolerated in our province,” said Minister McIsaac. “It is important that governments and individuals do their part to ensure the health and safety of our animal population.”

The Animal Welfare Act replaces a portion of the current Animal Health and Protection Act and the entire Companion Animal Protection Act which came into effect in 1991 and 2002 respectfully. Since that time, the expectations surrounding animal welfare have changed. This new act more closely aligns Prince Edward Island with other jurisdictions in Canada.

Existing legislation limits the ability of provincial authorities to intervene until it is determined that an animal is in distress. The standards of care provisions introduced in the new legislation will allow animal protection officers to intervene prior to an animal being in distress by using nationally recognized codes of practice as a guide to proper care.

“The shift from distress trigger to standard of care legislation is crucial to improve protection for animals in Prince Edward Island. This well-crafted legislation will enable inspectors to intervene earlier—before animals experience prolonged distress and before they develop major medical issues that make it much more difficult to rehabilitate them,” said Dr. Alice Crook, Coordinator of the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College.

The new act will also combine livestock and companion animals under a single act. This will offer both similar protections from abuse and neglect and ensure the revised offences and penalties can be applied to all animals. The act also amends penalties for offences by increasing fines and adding the potential for imprisonment.

“This proactive piece of legislation will become a key tool for our Animal Protection Service. It will allow us to inform the community of the appropriate standards of care for companion animals. The act will respond to the ideals of both our organization and the public with regard to the protection and humane treatment of pets,” said Executive Director, PEI Humane Society Marla Somersall.

“Animal welfare is an issue that touches us all,” said Minister McIsaac. “The Government of Prince Edward Island will continue to strengthen the protection offered to animals in this province through public education, co-ordination with local animal welfare groups and these legislative measures.”

Media Contact: April Gallant
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