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 to calls.
“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.