Animal Welfare

What is animal welfare?

Animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is considered to be in a good state of welfare if it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express natural behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.

What are the requirements for positive animal welfare?

The Animal Welfare Act identifies the following basic needs for animal welfare by requiring an owner to provide appropriate  

  • food, 
  • water, 
  • shelter, 
  • exercise and 
  • veterinary care.   

These basic needs combined with the “Code of Practice” specific to the type of animal define the requirements for caring for that animal.

What are the “Codes of Practice”?

Codes of practice are nationally developed requirements and recommendations for the care and handling of animals.   The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) develops codes for livestock while the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) develops codes for cats and dogs.    The requirements established by these codes are used to assess animal welfare on Prince Edward Island.

NFACC Codes of Practice

CVMA Codes of Practice

What should I do before deciding to own an animal?

Review the appropriate “Code of Practice” to assess your situation.  If in doubt as to whether you can provide the needed care required, speak to your veterinarian or call the Department of Agriculture.

How do I know if I am doing things right/following the rules?

The “Code of Practice” for the type of animal and the Animal Welfare Act outline the requirements to be followed for the proper care of animals.



How do I know if I should make a complaint?

If a situation involving an animal does not seem appropriate to you, report your concern and it will be investigated. 

Who do I contact to make an animal welfare complaint?

To report a complaint about livestock or exotic pets:

To report a complaint about companion animals (dogs, cats or other companion animals): 

Will my name be shared with the person I am filing the complaint against?

Your information is never shared with the person being investigated and is protected under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act.

Do I have to give my name if I make a welfare complaint?

Your name and contact information are helpful in case we need to contact you to verify the location of the complaint, but you are not required to provide it.

How will I know a complaint I lodged has been dealt with?

Every animal welfare complaint is investigated and non-compliance with the Animal Welfare Act is addressed.

Who enforces animal welfare in PEI?

Animal Protection Officers from the Department of Agriculture and the Prince Edward Island Humane Society are appointed by the Minister of Agriculture to enforce animal welfare in PEI. 

What happens when I report an animal welfare concern? 


Animal Welfare Complaint flow chart

What information do I need to provide when I call in an animal welfare concern/complaint?

You should provide the following:

  • Reason for complaint
  • Type and estimated number of animals
  • Name of individual (if known)
  • Civic or street address
  • Community
  • Contact information (optional)

If I request an update on the complaint, will I receive one? 

Due to sensitivities as well as protections under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act, we are only able to share that the complaint has been investigated.

I want to have an animal on my property – do I need an inspection?

No, but you should read the “Code of Practice” for the care and handling of that type of animal.  You are however, required to have a Premise ID if the animal is livestock or poultry. 

Also, check to see if you are in a Municipality  because they may have restrictions in place. 

For more information, contact

PEI Department of Agriculture 
5th Floor Jones Building
Charlottetown, PEI
Phone:  902-368-4880
Email :

Published date: 
May 15, 2023

General Inquiries

Department of Agriculture
5th Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street,
P.O. Box 2000,
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-4880
Fax: 902-368-4857

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Agriculture Information Desk
1-866-PEI FARM (734-3276)