Changes to the Animal Protection Act

Changes to the Animal Protection Act introduced today, Sept. 13 will strengthen the rules that protect animals in Nova Scotia.

“We know that farmers and families are deeply committed to the welfare of their livestock and pets,” said Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell. “Nova Scotians can have confidence that our animal protection is among the best in the country.”

Cosmetic surgery that alters an animal’s appearance will not be permitted unless medically necessary and carried out by a veterinarian. This includes procedures such as tail docking, ear cropping, debarking and declawing.

“We support Nova Scotia for taking a leadership role in animal welfare. Banning cosmetic surgery for non-medical reasons aligns with our code of ethics,” said Dr. Frank Richardson, registrar of the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association.

Other changes include updating language around animal cruelty to animal welfare. This will better reflect the intent of legislation. The Animal Welfare Appeal Board process will include public hearings. These steps will improve transparency and understanding of animal welfare.

Animal welfare inspection and enforcement will be strengthened.
Inspectors appointed under the act will be better able to enforce existing court orders restricting animal ownership.

Animal fighting will be prohibited and enforceable under the revised act.

“The Nova Scotia SPCA is very pleased and supportive with these proposed changes to the legislation,” said Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief provincial inspector, Nova Scotia SPCA. “These amendments will certainly reduce the challenges faced by the SPCA when coming to the aid of animals in Nova Scotia.”

These amendments are supported by the Minister’s Forum on Animal Welfare, which includes animal welfare advocates, enforcement officials and other stakeholders.