Animal protection bill concerned rural community — MP Dreeshen

An animal protection bill that caused a stir in rural Alberta didn’t get past its second reading.

A failed animal protection bill could have had significant implications for hunters, anglers, farmers and trappers, Earl Dreeshen said Thursday.

The Red Deer-Mountain View MP was one of a majority who voted Wednesday in Parliament against second reading of the Modernizing Animal Protections Act Bill C-246, a private member’s bill.

As well, a few days before that vote, Dreeshen introduced a motion requiring a committee to address what he said were the more pressing issues related to animal welfare, including ensuring law-abiding hunters and farmers were not adversely impacted by new legislation.

Among other things, Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith’s bill would have prohibited the practice of shark finning and the importation of shark fins.

It would have also prohibited products made of dog or cat fur or skin from being imported into Canada or manufactured, advertised or sold in Canada.

Erskine-Smith said earlier that the bill was about ending animal abuse, not ending animal use.

The vote was 198 against and 84 in favour of the bill. Private member’s bills rarely make it into law.

Much of the concern over the bill was that it might have unintended consequences for those who are legitimately involved with animals, such as cattle producers.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, hunters and anglers, and farmers and trappers, were some of those who expressed concern, Dreeshen said.

Dreeshen was hearing from rural residents worried that they would have to defend their practices in court if the bill passed.

“We have to make sure that we strike a balance between Canadians being able to responsibly use our animal-based resources and providing fair and adequate treatment … for the humane treatment of animals.”

Dreeshen’s motion asked in part that the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights undertake a study to prepare a more appropriate animal welfare bill “that better reflects the realities of a country with deep roots in traditions and cultural practices that involve our animal-based resources.”

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