Those of us who care about the welfare of animals were pleased to see the passage of the Provincial Animal Welfare Act (PAWS Act) in 2019. The Act extended certain protections to animals and placed the protection of animals from cruelty and neglect onto the government —
instead of poorly resourced charities —
just like the enforcement of any law in the province
Accompanying regulations can enhance or weaken any legislation and the PAWS Act is no different. The government is now working on the PAWS regulations and the Ottawa Humane Society and its partners in the Ontario Animal Welfare Network (OAWN) are preparing to submit a brief to the Solicitor General, as there are a number of important regulations required to protect animals, specifically:
1. Restrict exotic animals, like lions and tigers, and require the licensing of zoos.
As it stands, Ontario is the only province in Canada without legal restrictions on the ownership of exotic animals. The Province does not require licensing of zoos, leading to some of the cruelest zoos in the world.
2. Restrict or prohibit cat declawing, dog tail docking and dog ear cropping.
These cosmetic surgeries cause distress and can contribute to future health complications and poor well-being. All are cruel and unnecessary.
3. Allow municipal bylaw officers to enter a motor vehicle to relieve the distress of an animal and prevent its death.
Currently, only police, who frequently have other priorities, and provincial animal welfare officers, who only work 9 to 5 on weekdays, may do so.
4. Regulate standards of care for farmed animals and allow provincial animal welfare inspectors to monitor farming conditions.
The Act exempts agricultural and husbandry animal management "in accordance with the reasonable and generally accepted practices of agricultural animal care," permitting the animal agricultural business to decide acceptable practices. Across the country, animal transport regulations cause the deaths of millions of animals in transport. Euthanizing piglets by swinging their bodies to crush their skulls on the floor is a "generally accepted practice".
The OHS and its partners believe that without these regulations, the PAWS Act will not affect real change and animal welfare will fall short; leaving Ontario's animals to suffer.
You can read the full OAWN brief here. If you care about animal suffering and death, please contact the Solicitor General or your MPP to make your voice heard.