Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition signed by 65 people in my riding of Québec, who are calling on the government to support a universal declaration on animal welfare. This declaration is necessary because animals can feel pain and suffer, and every effort should be made to prevent animal cruelty. More than one billion people in the world rely on animals for their livelihoods. Animals are living beings, and we must respect them and treat them well.
On November 6, 2009, we voted in favour of Motion M-354, to support the development of a universal declaration on animal welfare at all relevant international organizations and forums. Although some changes have been made to the Criminal Code, the existing maximum penalties are much too soft in relation to the seriousness of the crime. We must do more and we are in favour of a real reform of the animal cruelty provisions.