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Alberta Comes Up with Animal Protection Act

by 5m Editor
5 August 2008, at 9:10am

ALBERTA - The new Alberta Animal Health Strategy is set to be released for public consultation in August 2008. Contained within the strategy is an animal welfare component with several goals that will improve welfare of all animals in Alberta and increase the understanding among Albertan's of their responsibility for assuring animal welfare.

"There are many misunderstandings when it comes to the laws surrounding animal protection in Alberta," says Adrienne Herron, livestock welfare tech transfer specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Red Deer. "For example, many people believe that only the owner of an animal can be charged or considered responsible for the welfare of the animal. In Alberta, you don't have to be the owner of an animal to be charged under the Animal Protection Act (APA). The APA states that any person who fails to prevent an animal from being in distress can be charged."


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"All animals including wildlife, domestic and zoo animals in Alberta are covered by the APA. This means that both companion animals (pets) and livestock animals are protected by the APA."
Adrienne Herron, livestock welfare tech transfer specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Red Deer

Animal distress, in the APA is defined as animals not being provided with adequate food, water, veterinary treatment, reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold, or if an animal is injured, sick, in pain, suffering or abused, subjected to undue hardship, privation or neglect.

This definition does not include the possible distress caused by reasonable and generally accepted practices. Animals in distress that result from an activity carried on in accordance with the regulations or in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal care, management, husbandry, hunting, fishing, trapping, pest control or slaughter are exempt from the APA.

Fines for APA convictions are serious. The maximum fine set out in the APA is for $20,000 and, if convicted, a prohibition order preventing the convicted person from owning animals could be issued.

"All animals including wildlife, domestic and zoo animals in Alberta are covered by the APA," says Herron. "This means that both companion animals (pets) and livestock animals are protected by the APA." Another way Alberta's animals are receiving better protection is in the form of a special dedicated prosecutor. Moira Vane with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development's regulatory services has been named the lead prosecutor on all APA related charges.

5m Editor