A new layer of protection is now in place for sled dogs in B.C.
The provincial government, sled dog industry, veterinarians, and the BC SCPA have jointly created Canada's first Sled Dog Code of Practice, and sled dog standards of care regulation to enhance the health and welfare of all sled dogs in B.C.
Sled dogs in B.C. will be protected by B.C.'s sled dog standards of care regulation, which is enforceable under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The regulation establishes legal requirements for things such as containment, health and working conditions.
In order to provide sled dog operators time to transition, the standards will come into effect between now and Oct. 1, 2012.
The Sled Dog Code of Practice outlines a set of recommended best practices for B.C.'s sled dog industry. The code also provides information to both commercial and recreational sled dog operators in such matters as:
* Health and welfare.
The code and standards were developed by a Standards of Care Working Group, comprised of:
* Sled dog industry representatives.
* The BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
* Academics with expertise in the field of animal welfare.
* Ministry of Agriculture staff.
Both the code and standards will be reviewed in 12 months, and from time to time as they are put into practice.
To view the code of practice document and standards of care on-line, see http://www.gov.bc.ca/agri/taskforce.html.
Since February 2011, B.C. has also made other notable changes to enhance the lives of sled dogs, including:
* Amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, giving B.C. the toughest animal cruelty penalties in Canada.
* Changes under the Land Act to ensure sled dog companies with Crown Land tenures are annually inspected by the BC SPCA or a veterinarian.
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