The Yukon government is asking for feedback on proposed changes to the Animal Health Act.
The act allows the government to respond to disease outbreaks and other health threats involving both domestic and wild animals. It was put in place in 1997.
Since then a chief veterinary officer position and an animal health program have been established in the territory, and there is a need to update the act, according to the discussion document.
“Today, there is increased awareness of animal diseases that threaten human health and more evidence of the economic impact that animal disease can have locally, nationally and internationally.”
The proposed amendments will expand the scope of the act and define the role of the chief veterinary officer.
Currently, if animals are killed by an order under the act, the owner must go to court to seek compensation.
Under the proposed changes a minister would be able to offer compensation, and an appeals process would be outlined.
The proposal would also see increased fines for offences under the act. Currently penalties are capped at $500 and six months imprisonment. Changes could see fines up to $10,000 and one year’s imprisonment.
The government is encouraging the public, and especially farmers, outfitters, veterinarians and animal owners to respond to the proposed amendments.
Visit www.env.gov.yk.ca/animalhealth for more information. The consultation closes April 30.