Animal associations

Animal welfare groups call on province to withdraw pesticide bill – Winnipeg Free Press

Animal welfare advocates are calling on the Progressive Conservative government – ​​and its dog-loving Prime Minister – to kill a bill reversing the ban on cosmetic pesticides.

“The Premier has shown she loves dogs, and this bill has the potential to impact the welfare of dogs,” said Brittany Semeniuk of the Winnipeg Humane Society, one of many animal welfare organizations calling on the province to withdraw Bill 22 (Environment Amendment Act — Pesticide Restrictions).

“Why is she supporting legislation that potentially puts animals at risk when you don’t know what chemicals they will now come into contact with?” Animal welfare specialist Semeniuk said in an interview on Thursday.

Brittany Semeniuk, animal welfare consultant for the Winnipeg Humane Society, spoke out against a provincial bill overturning the ban on cosmetic pesticides. The Humane Society is one of many animal welfare organizations opposed to Bill 22. (Jason Halstead/Winnipeg Free Press files)

The bill, which passed second reading, went to committee and is expected to become law next month amends the Environment Act.

It removes the ban (installed by the NDP government in 2014) on the application of certain pesticides to urban lawns, and the sale of these pesticides is no longer subject to provincial regulation. It expands the list of places where the use of these pesticides is prohibited – schools, hospitals and day care centers – to include municipal playgrounds, picnic areas, dog parks and provincial parks.

The Winnipeg Humane Society, Little Red Barn Micro Sanctuary, World Animal Protection, Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre, Free from Farm Sanctuary, Save a Dog Network Canada, Humane Society International/Canada, Fur-Bearers, D’Arcy’s Animal Rescue Center and Manitoba Animal Save wrote to Environment Minister Jeff Wharton and Health Minister Audrey Gordon asking them to withdraw Bill 22.

“This dangerous and regressive bill would put wild and domestic animals across the province at risk of illness and even death by removing many of Manitoba’s restrictions on the cosmetic or non-essential use of pesticides,” the letter reads. , citing research. which highlights the risks associated with their use.

“To increase the non-essential use of these products in Manitoba would be patently irresponsible and unscientific (and) would violate the precautionary principle of international and domestic environmental law, which states that where scientific evidence shows that there is a risk of serious or irreversible environmental damage. , preventive measures are taken to protect the environment and human health.

Kaitlyn Mitchell, a lawyer representing Animal Justice, said if the bill passes, the government could be sued and pressure municipalities to ban cosmetic pesticides.

“If the province rolls back restrictions on the use of cosmetic pesticides, animal, environmental and health protection groups will certainly have to consider other options, whether that means focusing on municipal bylaws or going justice to challenge Bill 22,” Mitchell said in an email.

“No other province has backtracked from enacting a ban on cosmetic pesticides, so this move would really make Manitoba an outlier.”

Premier Heather Stefanson, who has spoken publicly about her love for her dogs and her weekend walks with pets, was unavailable for comment on Thursday.

Manitoba relies on Health Canada to assess pesticide products “using a robust scientific review process,” its spokesperson said.

All pesticides sold or used in Manitoba are federally approved under the Pest Control Products Act and continuously reviewed by Health Canada to ensure that pesticide products do not pose unacceptable risks to Canadians and the environment. environment, the spokesperson said.

“Exposure pathways, including dietary, drinking water and residential exposures, are considered in risk assessments.”

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Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people who call Manitoba home, Carol joined the office of the Legislative Assembly in early 2020.