On their site, The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) sent a survey to Canada’s 5 main political parties about important animal welfare issues in the country.The (WSPA) encourages people to review their responses before making a decission at the time of voting.
Animal Cruelty Legislation
Canada’s animal cruelty laws were amended recently to increase maximum penalties for some animal cruelty offences. Unfortunately, these changes do very little to address loopholes in the current law that allow animal cruelty to go unpunished.
Does your party support strengthening the animal cruelty provisions under the Criminal Code and if so, what amendments would the party propose?
Like WSPA, the Bloc Québécois believes that animal cruelty is unacceptable and must be severely punished. Our party has worked seriously on the issue of strengthening the law in order to explicitly denounce abusive acts toward animals.
The Bloc Québécois is in favour of a rewriting of the clauses that pertain to animal cruelty. At the present time, the maximum sentences for those who commit acts of animal cruelty are too light for the gravity of the crimes.
Are you willing to bring forward new amendments in the next parliamentary session?
The Bloc Québécois advocates the abolition of the maximum length of time that an order banning the possession of an animal can remain valid in order to prevent foreseeable abuse.
In all, the Bloc Québécois thinks that it is necessary to introduce a definition of an animal to the law. At the moment, the section of the law on animal cruelty is a part of the section on property and this strikes us as not reflective today’s reality.
On November 6th, 2009, the House of Commons adopted a motion calling on the Canadian government to support (in principle) the development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW). This motion was supported by all of Canada’s political parties. Later, in March, the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed the government’s support for development of a UDAW.
Does your party reaffirm its support, in principle, for development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW)?
The Bloc Québécois supports the principle of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
What should Canada do to affirm its support for this international initiative?
On the occasion that legal measures aimed at better protecting animals were being studied, the Bloc Québécois would question the federal government in regards to a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
This past fall, the government announced changes to regulations under Canada’s Health of Animals Act, which would more than double administrative monetary penalties for violating these regulations. This was welcome news and WSPA and our many Canadian animal welfare supporters appreciate these amendments. More substantive amendments to these same regulations have, we understand, been proposed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and await the government’s approval.
WSPA has already put forward a number of recommendations for improving Canada’s farm animal transport system including:
• Establishing maximum loading densities that would allow animals to stand in their natural position or lie down comfortably
• Considerably reducing the number of hours farm animals can be transported without food, water and rest.
• Increasing the number of animal inspectors responsible for enforcing the Health of Animals Regulations at slaughterhouses, auctions and roadside checkpoints and increasing the number of veterinary inspectors present during inspections.
Does your party commit to amending Canada’s animal transport regulations under the Health of Animals Act?
The treatment of farm animals is a constant concern for the Bloc Québécois, whether on the farm, during their transport or during their slaughter. Many citizens have questioned us on this issue, following a report on a Québec current affairs program that denounced certain cruel practices taking place during the transport of animals.
What amendments to the regulations would your party propose?
The first approach must be punitive, in order to dissuade people who take part in such practices. The Bloc Québécois is in favour of a rewriting of the clauses pertaining to animal cruelty. At the present time, the maximum sentences prescribed by the Criminal code are too light for the gravity of the crimes committed.
The second approach must be preventative. What can we do to reduce the times and distances of animal transport to ensure the well-being of the animals? The Bloc Québécois alleges that food sovereignty is a large part of the answer since we must have a sufficient number of local slaughterhouses to respond to the needs of our territory and, in that way, reduce transport times.
What else would your party do to encourage a more sustainable and humane food system in Canada?
A description of the range of agricultural policies that we propose could be long. For this reason, we refer you to the platform of the Bloc Québécois that illustrates our views and priorities in terms of agricultural practices.
However, in summary, we can say that in order to develop coherent agricultural policies, there must be action taken on several fronts, notably:
• Promoting food sovereignty and using it as inspiration to develop our agricultural policies ;
• Respecting the nation of Québec and its particular agricultural model at the time of signing international accords;
• Ensuring better control of the stability of the prices of agricultural products and, in consequence, the revenue of farmers ;
• Ensuring the security and healthiness of agriculture on our territory ;
• Acquiring and transferring farms : the agricultural labour force and relief labour;
• Increased regional development to develop rural communities.
Is there any other animal welfare issue that you feel needs to be addressed? How would your party make a difference?
When the issue of the seal hunt was raised, the Bloc Québécois sought the opinion of veterinarians and was assured by these veterinarians that the seal hunt could be practiced without cruelty.
The Bloc Québécois thinks that the seal hunt is legitimate but that it must be practiced in a way that ensures the well-being of the animals. We will continue to keep watch over this situation in the hope that the seal hunt can occur in a non-cruel manner.
What other things will your Party do to improve animal protection in Canada?
We did not receive a response to this question.
|Personal Questions for the Leader|
|How do you personally demonstrate a commitment to animal welfare?|
Gilles Duceppe is an excellent cook. For several years, while doing his grocery shopping, he has taken the time to inform himself on where his food comes from and he tries to make the best possible choices.
Animals are living beings. It is important to respect them and treat them with dignity. It is also important to inform yourself about what is on your plate. As consumers, we must ensure that the products that are available to us respect a high standard of animal welfare.If animals could vote, what party would they vote for and why?