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PEI Quietly Banned Circuses with Exotic Animals

Animal Justice July 14, 2017

Canada’s smallest province just took a huge legal leap forward for animals by banning the use of exotic animals in circuses! This groundbreaking rule is part of a larger package of new regulations for animal protection in the province. Although there’s still a lot of room for improvement, PEI deserves credit for making some major updates as compared to other provinces. Here are some of the highlights.

Restrictions on using animals for entertainment

Circuses can no longer use exotic animals in performances, making PEI the first province to restrict circuses in this way. Dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, mules, pigeons, doves, and chickens are unfortunately still permitted, but the new regulations do recognize that performances are often demeaning to the dignity of these animals.

Trainers are prohibited from dressing animals up in a way that belittles them, and trainers, handlers, and audience members must treat animals with respect as well.

Training methods for animals in entertainment typically involve inducing fear and pain to force an animal to perform, but PEI laws now make this illegal. Training that involves pain and punishment is outlawed, with only positive reward-based methods permitted. High-risk training and performances aren’t allowed, including the use of fire.

Although no animal should be forced to perform for human entertainment, limiting the species of animals and imposing standards and restrictions is an improvement.

Other highlights 

  • Cruel cosmetic mutilations are now banned, including docking the tails of horses, cows, and dogs; cropping dogs’ ears; and declawing cats.
  • Pet stores must be licensed. (Shockingly, most other provinces do not license or regulate pet stores. Ideally, companion animal sales would be banned to shut down puppy mills and encourage adoption from shelters & rescues.)
  • Farmers must comply with codes of practice for the treatment of farmed animals, setting some minimal standards. (Notably, the federal government does not regulate animal welfare on farms.)
  • The new laws explicitly recognize that animals suffer psychological distress in addition to physical pain.

Of course, strengthening animal protection laws is only one part of the puzzle. Ensuring that laws are vigorously enforced continues to be a challenge, which is why Animal Justice encourages citizens to report animal cruelty whenever they see it.

 

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Animal Justice

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Pig Scrambles Violate Animal Cruelty Laws, Says Animal Justice

Animal Justice March 29, 2017

CHARLOTTETOWN – National animal law organization Animal Justice has sent a letter to law enforcement authorities in Prince Edward Island advising that “pig scramble” events likely violate federal and provincial animal cruelty laws and must not be allowed to proceed.

The PEI Plowing Match and Agricultural Fair in Dundas has held pig scrambles in past years, but has been under intense scrutiny this year after a petition calling for its cancellation began attracting support and national media attention. The petition has over 3,100 signatures to date. Pig scrambles have already been cancelled at other Maritime fairs due to concerns over animal cruelty, including the Westmoreland Fair in Petitcodiac, NB, and the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition in Truro, NS.

“Federal and provincial laws are clear: It’s illegal to cause distress and suffering to animals,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Pig scrambles are cruel and unnecessary events that cause baby animals to experience intense fear and psychological trauma at being chased around a ring for human amusement. These outdated entertainment events are not exempt from animal cruelty laws.”

Animal Justice is asking authorities to prosecute violations of animal cruelty laws at the Dundas Plowing Match pig scramble if it does go ahead. According to news reports, the event directors are considering the future of the pig scramble.

Animal Justice’s letter was sent to Agriculture and Fisheries Minister J. Alan McIsaac, Department of Agriculture inspectors, the provincial veterinarian, the PEI Humane Society, and the Montague detachment of the RCMP.

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For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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P.E.I. Ignores Calls to Restrict Fur Trapping, Extends Season Instead

Animal Justice, Cats, Dogs September 13, 2016

Prince Edward Island just bowed to the fur industry by giving hunters and trappers permission to kill even more animals this upcoming season. The move comes instead of heeding Animal Justice’s call to restrict fur trapping or even end the cruel practice altogether in the province.

Environment Minister Robert Mitchell announced in a news release that hunters would have an extra six weeks in total to kill snowshoe hares, and an extra month in the spring to trap minks. The news release indicates that the changes were made at the request of hunters and trappers.

Fur trapping is an incredibly violent practice. Canadian provinces allow trappers to use leg-hold traps, snares, and crush traps — cruel devices that often cause animals to suffer excruciating pain before they die.

Animal Justice met with Minister Mitchell last February to request a province-wide ban on fur trapping.

P.E.I.’s fur trapping industry has been under fire in recent years due to a rash of household companion animals being killed or injured in traps and snares. Companion animals in P.E.I. are at constant risk of dying in traps in part because provincial regulations allow traps to be set as near to residential homes as trappers wish, while snares can be set a mere 200 metres away. P.E.I. is the smallest and most densely-populated province in the country, meaning that pets aren’t safe so long as trapping is allowed.

Traps can also be set on Crown land, even though the provincial government encourages the public to hike on public land and bring their dogs along. Tragically, this leads to dogs dying in traps and snares, such as a dog named Caper who was killed last year in a baited snare set near a provincial trail.

The fur trade is on its way out, with pelt prices dropping drastically as many people refuse to wear fur. It is disappointing that the government has chosen to give special treatment to a dying industry, yet ignores Animal Justice and the countless P.E.I. residents who are asking the government to ban or restrict trapping. Expanding the killing season will allow many more animals to be brutally killed, and will further increase the risk that pets will become victims of traps.

Learn more about the cruelty of fur trapping here.

Animal Justice

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