The BC SPCA says the proposed changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals Act, introduced by the government today in Bill 24, have no
benefits for animals in B.C.
“We are very disappointed to see
these amendments, which we believe will make it more difficult for the
BC SPCA to help animals in distress,” said Craig Daniell, chief
executive officer of the BC SPCA. One of the significant changes
introduced in the bill establishes the BC Farm Industry Review Board
(BC FIRB) as the organization to hear appeals from citizens regarding
animal welfare issues.
“We are fully in support of fairness and
transparency and oversight through an appeal process,” says Daniell.
“However we believe the current system is expedient and works extremely
well. Our fear is that the new system adds layers of bureaucracy which
will mean fewer animals may be rescued from suffering and fewer animal
abusers brought to justice.”
Currently when animals are seized,
the BC SPCA issues reasons for its decision not to return animals within
14 days on average. “If that decision is appealed it goes to the B.C.
Supreme Court and a ruling is made, on average, within 75 days,” says
Daniell. “Based on the reported history of BC FIRB, the shortest period
before a case is heard is six months and others take much longer. This
means that our shelters will be filled with seized animals awaiting
rulings. This is extremely costly, it is not good animal welfare and it
means we do not have room to bring in other abused and neglected animals
who need shelter and care.” He adds that the increased bureaucracy
will mean SPCA constables will have to spend much more time at their
computers doing paperwork rather than being out in the field responding
“The bottom line is that animals will suffer, and that is not acceptable to the BC SPCA and, we believe, to British Columbians.”
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.