Recently, has looked at some new animal welfare laws passed in various parts of the U.S., such as El Paso’s restrictions on pet sales and Suffolk County’s animal abuser registry. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out a positive law that our neighbors to the north enacted.

In September, the Animal Care Amendment Act took effect in Manitoba Province in Canada. The law increases regulations for both companion animals and livestock, and introduced strong new penalties to punish animal abusers. Among the new penalties? According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, jail time and fines for offenders have doubled, and a person convicted of an offense could now be restricted from owning or caring for animals for the rest of his or her life.

The Manitoba Chamber of Commerce listed several of the important changes contained in the Animal Care Amendment Act. For example, the Act:

  • Expands licensing regulations for dog and cat breeders;
  • Prohibits the loading and transportation of animals that are not fit to transport and those that cannot be moved without causing suffering;
  • Increases the authority of animal protection officers, particularly in their ability to take action to prevent harm or seize animals they consider to be in abusive or abandoned situations; and
  • Requires veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal neglect or abuse while protecting them from liability.

Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers stressed the importance of the new laws, saying “Livestock and companion animals depend on people for their care … These amendments help to strengthen the laws that ensure appropriate food, shelter, and medical attention are part of that care and increase penalties for any mistreatment or neglect.” Struthers also rightly notes that “Manitoba is considered a leader on animal welfare,” a fact reflected in the province’s high ranking from the ALDF in its report about the best and worst places to be an animal abuser in Canada.

While U.S. animal advocates can certainly find fault with some of Canada’s policies, especially regarding the annual seal hunts, Manitoba deserves respect for setting an example in making the lives of animals a bit better.

Photo Credit: Public Domain