Animal care message strengthened

Cracking down on the neglect of animals is the primary focus of changes to Manitoba’s Animal Care Act, which was amended and reintroduced in late 2008.

Proposed amendments include:

developing a public registry of licensed pet breeders that would allow the public to easily locate reputable breeders prior to purchasing a family pet;

requiring pet stores to be licensed including provisions that would require stores to keep records of the breeders from whom they purchase their pets; requiring veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal neglect or abuse;

restricting auction markets or assembly yards from receiving unfit animals;

giving the chief veterinary officer authority to issue orders that would require owners to take action to relieve an animal in distress or to carry out their duties under the act toward their animals;

providing expanded powers to enter and inspect premises;

providing animal protection officials with specific authority to take abandoned animals into custody including animals left behind in rental properties, animals not retrieved from kennels and other temporary caregivers, and animals that are apparently ownerless;

increasing the maximum penalties for offences to $10,000 from $5,000 for a first offence and to $20,000 from $10,000 for a second or subsequent offence, and the maximum term of imprisonment to 12 months from six months for a second offence;

increasing the limitation period for prosecution of offences under the act to two years from six months; and

implementing restrictions, as part of new licensing requirements, on the number of animals a breeder may have, based on individual breeding facilities.

“These changes are in line with measures other provinces have taken to strengthen animal care in their jurisdictions,” says Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk.

In Manitoba any producers needing help in caring for livestock, or anyone seeing livestock in distress can call the Animal Care Line at 1-204-945-8000.

Alberta ALERT line promoted

By far, most Alberta livestock owners are attentive to the needs of their livestock and ensure daily care. Unfortunately, a very few don’t or cannot and animals can suffer as a result. Poor care can arise from lack of knowledge, life’s pressures, old age, sickness, and absentee owners. Financial hardships, coupled with tough winter conditions, add extra challenges.

“Being able to help our fellow producers, before conditions become extreme is beneficial to the animals and the owners,” says Doug Sawyer, a beef producer and chair of Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC). “AFAC provides a confidential Livestock Care Action Line and Response Team (ALERT) service that strives to nip problems in the bud.” The ALERT line number is 1-800-506-2273.

The ALERT line is a confidential help line for anyone to report livestock care concerns. The ALERT line has an on-call veterinarian who provides knowledgeable counsel. The ALERT line is available for self-reporting to assist those who may be experiencing problems in caring for their livestock. The ALERT line resource teams at times work with Alberta SPCA and RCMP.

To increase the awareness of the ALERT line and its benefits, AFAC is featuring a series of radio spots and new lines in media throughout Alberta this winter. The information focuses on basic livestock care in winter, including swath grazing, winter watering, herd segregation and proper transport of livestock.

The ALERT posters are in RCMP detachments, livestock Identification, auction market offices and other locations in Alberta. For ALERT awareness posters, ad mats or magnets contact AFAC or visit www.afac.ab.ca.

(Editor’s note: And in Saskatchewan producers can contact the Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan at 306 249-3227 or visit their website at www.facs.sk.ca)

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