Quebec Animal Welfare Regulation Bans Cat Declawing, Dog Tail Docking & Other Cosmetic Mutilations

On August 10, 2022, the Quebec government enacted a Regulation that will ban non-essential cosmetic procedures on companion animals. The Regulation Respecting the Welfare and Safety of Domestic Animals and Equines will spare cats and dogs from inherently cruel mutilations, including cat declawing, tail docking, ear cropping, and debarking effective February 10, 2024.

The Regulation also includes other protections for domestic companion animals, which includes cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs and companion pigs.

Among other things, it sets out new requirements for the type of shelter that can be used to house companion animals and for the cleanliness of shelters, with mandated frequent disinfecting and cleaning. Enrichment requirements are also now explicitly set out for cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs and companion pigs, as well as rules for their custody and care. Notably, euthanasia by inhalation is also banned under the new Regulation.

Significantly, the new Regulation also restricts the maximum number of cats and dogs that can be kept on the same premises by the same owner or a breeder at 50 animals for new permit holders. While this is a step forward in slowing puppy and kitten milling, this measure should go further to regulate existing permit holders (who will be largely exempted from the new limits) to a greater extent.

“The publication of the Regulation is a big step for the protection of animals in Quebec. With the new measures in place, including the ban on cosmetic surgeries and the improvement of the conditions for keeping pets and equines, better supervision of animals can be done, regardless of the place of care. We act proactively to promote their well-being. I encourage all pet guardians and owners to constantly be at the forefront of best practices for the benefit of our pets.”
– André Lamontagne, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Cat declawing causes serious suffering to sensitive felines. Tail docking and ear cropping are often performed on dogs for cosmetic reasons, and can cause dogs a significant amount of pain and suffering. Debarking involves cutting out a dog’s vocal cords and is extremely painful and prevents dogs from expressing their natural behaviours. It’s encouraging that Quebec has now enshrined into law protections that will spare cats and dogs from these cruel mutilations for good. 

Other provinces and dozens of countries and jurisdictions have similar bans or veterinary association prohibitions, but unfortunately, Ontario has yet to act. Animal Justice lawyers will encourage Canada’s largest province to follow Quebec’s lead and we will keep pushing for a national ban on cruel and unnecessary cosmetic procedures on pets.

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