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Animals, like children and disabled elders, are not only the subjects of abuse, but they are unable to report and protect themselves from it. Veterinarians, like human physicians, are often the ones to become aware of the abuse and the only ones in a position to report it when their human clients are unwilling to do so. This creates a conflict between professional confidentiality to the client and the duty to protect the victim and facilitate prosecution when the law has been broken. I accordingly recommend that veterinarian associations make reporting of abuse mandatory.

Author Biography

Martine Lachance lachance.martine@uqam.ca is Professor, Department of Juridical Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada H2X 2J6. Her research and teaching interests include family law, private international law and animal law. In 2007 she established International Research Group in Animal Law (GRIDA). She has supported the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association in opposing the adoption of Bill S-203. She currently serves on the Animal Well-Being Committee of the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec. Through GRIDA, she organized and hosted the first international conferences in animal law in Canada: “The Animal Within the Sphere of Human Needs” (2009) and “Does the Law Consider Animal Suffering? (2011). The 3rd edition of the international conference, “Animal Sentience: From Science to Law” was held in Paris on October 2012. As GRIDA’s director, Martine was invited in September 2015 to express her view on Bill 54 proposed by the provincial government. http://grida.uqam.ca/en.html