Quebec to Better Laws against Animal Abuse

Agriculture Minister of Quebec, Pierre Paradis, has recently promising to amend the province’s poor reputation as one of the ideal places to be an animal abuser. According to Paradis, he is planning to introduce a new legislation that will redefine the status of an animal in the province’s Civil Code and improve its protection. He revealed that “I want to go as quickly as possible” because “it’s among my legislative priorities.”

Paradis explained that once the Civil Code is amended, cats, dogs and other animals will not be treated as “personal property” anymore, but in fact will have a legal umbrella of being living “sentient” creatures. Paradis exemplified that such laws have been adopted by several European countries. He confirmed to have had reached an agreement in principle with Justice Minister, Stephanie Vallee, which will allow critters to have more status before the courts than inanimate property such as a chair or table. He mentioned that “we were inspired by what was done in France, where they redefined the concept of the animal as a being that is capable of feeling pain,” adding that “we’re looking into the judicial consequences of that but we don’t want it (the animal) to remain personal property.”

In his remarks, he alleged that the change in status implies that the courts will consider pain and suffering when imposing penalties or fines on abusers. He alleged that “we’re seeing how things are evolving in Europe on agricultural farms — there are larger cages for pigs and more space for chickens. If you’re not part of this movement, you’re going to be excluded.”

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