Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quebec, Puppy mills, and what's to do

I got an article emailed to me tonight about what the Canadian Humane Society is trying to do about the awful puppy mill situation in Quebec - there's recently been 2 huge raids in that province that has really shown that there is horrible stuff going on in that province - and there is a line in the article that pinged something in my brain about an argument I was having with someone recently.

The Canadian Kennel Club has a relationship with PIJAC - the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council - they call themselves the "voice of the Canadian Pet Industry" - but what they are is a lobbying organization for pet stores across Canada - and you know what pet stores sell, don't you? Puppies from puppy mills!!!!

The recent "RDOG Week" put on by the Canadian Kennel club was sponsored in part by PIJAC - and I had a real problem with that. Shortly before the RDOG Week PIJAC had a big trade show in Toronto - and they had suppliers and vendors come from everywhere to peddle their wares at this trade show - and can you guess who had a HUGE booth there? hhmm... guess who - the HUNTE Corporation - one of the United States largest sellers of farmed puppies.

So I have a real problem with the Canadian Kennel Club taking any kind of renumeration or services in kind from an organization that deals with puppy mills and farmers of puppies, don't you? I think any sane person would. I wrote to the local president of the chapter of the CKC and they wrote back:

The PIJAC connection is complicated. They aren't a partner of CKC but we are both on a national committee that also includes the CVMA and the Humane Society. I appreciate your comment and your real concern and you are right that their position can be very different from ours. Still they have been supportive of. Our efforts in battling BSL nd we have been working on them on their position on selling dogs as commodities. It is a long and often challenging road trying to educate people in dog businesses but we have made some inroads with PIJAC and continue to try to get our viewpoint embedded. Not a perfect situation but at least they are at the table and listening to us and to the vets and shelters.

The only reason why PIJAC would want to have anything to do with organizations like the CKC and CVMA is to give them an air of legitamicy - the only reason why PIJAC exists is to make money for their clients - nothing more, and nothing less. There is no philanthropy there, and to believe otherwise is foolish.

Anyway - so that whole thing went through my head when I read the below article - because it's basically talking about the same thing - and how Quebec is suffering - because of attitudes like the one above...

(The SPCA that is dealing with all these seized animals is at -

Animal welfare workers call on Quebec to do more to stop puppy mills

MONTREAL — Animal rights activists say two recent puppy mill busts in Quebec illustrate a far greater problem than previously imagined and highlight the need for more government action.

With that in mind, the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is heading to Quebec City on Friday hoping to secure more powers from the agriculture minister as well as funding to help tackle what some are calling a burgeoning, unchecked problem.

In the span of a week earlier this month, animal welfare officials raided two mills operating in rural areas north of Montreal, saving some 275 animals.

"The fact that we performed two major puppy mill raids in less than a week certainly signifies the severity of the problem in Quebec," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of animal programs at Humane Society International Canada.

"Quebec is considered by many animal rights activists to be the puppy mill capital of North America and this situation exists because we have fairly weak provincial laws and they cannot be enforced by the SPCA."

There's a hope that some of the horrific images broadcast in recent weeks will prompt people to push the Quebec government for change.

Welfare workers say the clandestine facilities housed dogs living in close quarters, in some cases next to the rotting carcasses of other dogs that had died. Some dogs were having trouble walking while others had matted fur and open sores all over their bodies.

"The animals were living in this, covered in feces and fleas and there was very little food and water available to the dogs," Aldworth said. "Many of the dogs were skin and bones - over 90 per cent of the dogs were emaciated."

Unlike in much of the rest of the country, animal welfare enforcement in Quebec does not exclusively lie with the SPCA. The chief complaint among some activists is that the non-profit organization set up to do the job is more interested in helping mill owners set up shop legally.

But the group mandated by the provincial government to oversee animal welfare in Quebec says the situation isn't as bad as portrayed and the numbers being spouted by animal activists don't add up.

"When they say there are 2,000 puppy mills but they are all clandestine you have to wonder how they can say there are that many, how do they know?" said Veronique Langlois, executive-director of Anima-Quebec.

"Are we the capital in Quebec? No, it's false."

Langlois says calling Quebec the "puppy mill capital" may have been appropriate a decade ago when activists were attempting to rally public support, but the situation has since changed.

"For certain people, they say if there are 50 or 60 or 100 animals in cages, that's a puppy mill," Langlois said. "Or if the owner is making money, it's a puppy mill.

"But breeding is not illegal. But certainly there are certain criteria for keeping animals. We prefer to use the term ethical or unethical breeding."

That's why the SPCA's Alanna Devine says her organization's two inspectors need the same powers as Anima-Quebec inspectors. The two groups have divergent views on the issue.

"In my opinion anyone who is breeding a large number of dogs of all different breeds and profiting from it as their main source of income is not properly treating the animals," says Devine, acting director the SPCA.

"Being a dog owner and having spoken to breeders, it is actually impossible to turn a profit from breeding dogs because if you're doing it properly the cost of caring from them and caring for the puppies is so astronomical."

Aldworth said the groups on Anima-Quebec's board include the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, which represents pet stores and large-scale breeders.

"It's like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse when it comes to puppy mills," Aldworth said.

Aldworth says Quebecers need to pressure their local politicians to do more and that the proper authority should be the SPCA because it is a non-profit organization that does not represent the pet trade.

Pet stores are where the majority of puppy mill dogs end up, activists argue.

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies says not having a provincial society with the authority to act has caused a lot of cruelty cases to fall through the cracks.

"They (Anima-Quebec) have done some good things, but they have five inspectors and Ontario has close to 300," said Shelagh MacDonald, program director with the organization.

"So as you can see, it's not even on the same page."

Langlois says Anima-Quebec is doing its job and wants to work with anyone interested in promoting the well-being of animals.

She says the organization has doubled its budget to $400,000 and acknowledges that fundraising is necessary. In the past year, the group has finally started to see some cases being prosecuted also.

"I don't know of any non-profit organization that'll tell you 'No, I don't need any more people'," says Langlois.

"But I'm looking at what has been done since the creation of Anima and what we've done since 2005 and that's how you have to look at it."

1 comment:

  1. For the CKC to have anything to do with PIJAC is actually against their own rules - The Code of Practice for CKC Members which also includes the CVMA Code of Practi for Canadian Kennel Operations
    Anyone from CKC who says any different is either engaging in doublespeak or hasn't read their own rulebook