“When I was in my second year of the MSc in IAWEL, a Manifesto was created here in Quebec by a group of 34 intellectuals, artists, journalists and professors. Entitled “Manifesto for the evolution of Animal's legal status in the Civil Code of Quebec”, it underlined how our Civil Code dated back to 1804 and considered animals as "things". This Manifesto was signed by 52,000 people and that's when our Minister of Agriculture Pierre Paradis announced he would create a Bill to improve the legal situation of animals. I was really thrilled so I decided to write directly to Minister Paradis's Office to offer my services as a consultant and two months later they called me and asked me to work with their lawyer.
I advised on different aspects, but mostly on definitions and in the writing of different chapters. This was a process of give and take but I'm really glad that a major step was taken in the description of animals as sentient beings in this new animal welfare and safety Act. The changes are very important because we now have a specific Act, recognising that" An animal's welfare or safety is presumed to be compromised if the animal does not receive care that is consistent with its biological needs" compared to the previous legislation that applied to animals, in which it was only in the Civil Code under "Property" just like any other "things" or "belongings". My studies in IAWEL were just so helpful because I knew which aspects were the most important ones and I was able to explain clearly their implications from a scientific and legal point of view. My biggest challenge was to explain how the concept of welfare comes from a holistic approach that includes psychological states like anxiety! Thanks to the IAWEL programme, I truly feel that animals here in Quebec now have a much brighter welfare future ahead of them!”