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Simon Shields,
LLB

Barrister and Solicitor
(Retired)
LSUC #37308N


simonshields@isp.com

Legal Writing and Research

Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Animal Health Act (BC)

(current to 01 July 2016)
Note Re Application of the Animal Health Act('AHA')

The primary focus of the Animal Health Act is the health of domestic farm animals destined for human consumption. So while formally it applies to both domestic or wild animals [AHA 1], in practice it applies overwhelmingly to domestic animals. Additionally, any animal considerations within the AHA other than human health (including animal health as it relates to human health) are secondary to this primary human food health priority.

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • HUMAN HEALTH
  • EXTERMINATION
The full current text of the Animal Health Act and it's Regulations may be viewed at the British Columbia statute website

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Table of Contents
1. Overview
2. General Duties of Owners and Custodians of Animals
(a) Sanitary and Related Duties
(b) Training Duties
3. Importation of Animals
4. Disposal of Affected Animals
5. General Enforcement
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1. Overview

Below I list and describe the primary AHA substantive and procedural provisions. In some limited circumstances these can apply to wild animals - such as wildlife kept in captivity as pets, in facilities such as zoos, or for any purposes other than farming ('farming' for these purposes includes fur and game farming, which this Llegal Guide consider to be domestic animals).

For AHA purposes, 'notifiable diseases' and 'reportable diseases', respectively, are AHA-listed "environmental toxin(s), infestation(s), syndrome(s) or transmissible disease(s)" listed as such in the Reportable and Notifiable Disease Regulation.


2. General Duties of Owners and Custodians of Animals

(a) Sanitary and Related Duties

Owners, custodians and operators of AHA-'regulated activities' are responsible [AHA 3,5-6]:
  • not to cause conditions that contribute to the presence of a notifiable or reportable disease,

  • not to cause the transmission of a notifiable or reportable disease between animals, or from animals to humans;

  • not to interfere with the prevention, control or eradication of a notifiable or reportable disease;

  • for abiding by generally-accepted hygiene standards in the administering of a treatment, vaccination or medication of an animal;

  • for complying with veterinary advice and instructions respecting any animal that the veterinarian has informed them may be affected by a reportable or notifiable disease.
(b) Training Duties

Owners, custodians and operators of AHA-'regulated activities' are responsible to ensure that workers dealing with the animals are adequately trained and sufficiently equipped to [AHA 4]:
  • prevent the presence, transmission or spread of notifiable and reportable diseases, and

  • respond to notifiable and reportable diseases.

3. Importation of Animals

No one may keep or deal with (ie. sell) an imported animal that "the person knows, or ought to know, is affected by a notifiable or reportable disease", unless with the permission of the chief veterinarian or an AHA inspector [AHA 7].


4. Disposal of Affected Animals

No one may "slaughter, destroy or dispose" of an animal that may be "affected by a notifiable or reportable disease" or "exposed to an environmental toxin that may be harmful to human health or the environment" (even if the toxin is not AHA-listed), unless with the permission of the chief veterinarian or an AHA inspector [AHA 8].


5. General Enforcement

The AHA makes enforcement provisions for:
  • the appointment of inspectors who then possess entry, inspection and Order-making authorities [AHA 23,24,39,71],

  • Orders of the Chief Veterinarian for quarantine, seizure and destruction of animals, declarations of emergency, and generally with respect to the purposes of the AHA [AHA 27,29-32,59] (similar authority lies with the Minister for the making of temporary disease control Orders: AHA 35-38);

  • licensing, permit-issuance, registration and certification of operators of AHA-regulated activities [AHA 11-13];

  • conducting diagnostic testing ordered by the chief veterinarian [AHA 21];

  • administrative penalties [AHA 78]; and

  • prosecutable offences [AHA 81].
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