A wide-ranging update to Quebec’s pet welfare rules took effect across the province on Saturday, banning four cosmetic surgeries and setting new standards for the care of several mammal species.
Though Quebec’s order of veterinarians had previously discouraged vocal cord removal, ear cropping, tail trimming and cat declawing, the new regulation officially prohibits the procedures for aesthetic purposes.
The measure formalizes a widespread rejection of the practices among professionals, said order president Gaston Rioux.
“This movement is not unique to Quebec,” he said in an interview. “Worldwide, this is the type of surgery that is banned and discouraged.”
Ontario is now the only province in Canada without a ban on cat declawing.
Rioux and his predecessor Caroline Kilsdonk said the four non-essential procedures unduly expose animals to risks associated with surgery and can lead to behavioural issues.
Vocal cord removal to suppress dog barking, for example, “is not considered very humane because if a dog is barking excessively, it probably has an anxiety or boredom problem,” Kilsdonk explained.
“We only deal with the symptom, not the cause of the problem,” she said.
And nearly one-third of cats who have undergone declawing — the equivalent of removing the human fingertip — exhibit behaviour problems or aggressiveness, Giroux said.
The Quebec regulation still allows veterinarians to recommend the surgeries for medical therapeutic purposes, and it makes an exception for the ear cropping of stray cats in authorized capture, sterilize and release programs.
Among the regulation’s other provisions are bans on euthanasia by inhalation, leashing an animal without a collar, mating animals whose sizes are incompatible and feeding meat to pet pigs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2024.