TORONTO—Animal Justice, Soi Dog Canada, and Rescue Dogs Advocacy Coalition (“RDAC”) have filed a regulatory complaint with the Complaints and Appeals Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (“CFIA”) over the agency’s recent decision to ban the import of rescued dogs from over 100 countries, including some of the world’s most vulnerable regions. The ban is set to go into effect tomorrow, on September 28, 2022.
Canadian dog rescue organizations and their international partners rescue countless dogs each year from neglect and abuse, and bring them to Canada to find loving homes. The ban would end dog rescue from countries like Ukraine and Afghanistan that are embroiled in conflict, and countries like China and Thailand where dogs are killed in the dog meat trade.
The government has said the ban is necessary to prevent the spread of dog rabies, even though no other Western countries have a similar ban and instead have adopted science-based rabies prevention measures like vaccinations and antibody tests. Dog rescue organizations were not consulted on the abrupt policy shift.
“Canada’s misguided and unscientific ban on most international dog adoption will have devastating consequences for dogs who will be left to die on the streets, in the dog meat trade, or in overcrowded high-kill shelters,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Animal Justice, Soi Dog Canada, and RDAC are appealing to the Complaints and Appeals Office of the CFIA to rescind the blanket ban. Effective, science-based measures like vaccinations and blood antibody tests can protect against the spread of rabies, without condemning vulnerable dogs to die in the streets or in shelters.”
- The CFIA announced on June 28, 2022 that it would ban “commercial” dog imports from over 100 countries considered high risk for dog rabies—including rescued dogs destined for adoption and fostering. The ban is set to come into effect on September 28, 2022—World Rabies Day.
- Dog rescue organizations were not consulted in advance of the blanket ban. It is estimated that Canadian dog rescue organizations bring hundreds, or even thousands, of dogs to Canada each year from countries without the same animal welfare infrastructure.
- Other Western countries follow World Organization for Animal Health Guidelines, including the UK, EU member states, New Zealand, and the US. These guidelines include a valid and up-to-date rabies vaccination certificate, sometimes in combination with a blood antibody test, and a period of quarantine.
- The US previously introduced a temporary ban on dog import from high-risk countries, but rescinded that policy in June, 2022 in favour of enhanced vaccine and antibody test requirements.
- Over 33,700 people have signed an Animal Justice petition calling on the CFIA to allow adoptable dogs into Canada. Nearly 12,000 Canadians have signed a Parliamentary e-petition sponsored by MP Michelle Rempel Garner calling for the ban to be rescinded.
- The complaint filed by Animal Justice, Soi Dog Canada, and RDAC with the Complaints and Appeals Office of the CFIA is available here.
Soi Dog Canada