Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Hateful human intolerance and action against the innocent 

As the exponential growth of human population encroaches more and more onto animal habitat, we have experienced major ecological change as well as the loss of once abundant wildlife. Many species have become extinct or are threatened, and conflicts between humans and wildlife are on the rise. So, being the selfish, uncaring species we are, what do we do when these innocent being are considered a problem? We get rid of them, of course. Despite outcries from caring individuals and animal activists, the authorities are always ready to employ murderous lethal control. It has to stop - we need to fight back against these senseless atrocities. There are many actions one can take, either individually or as a group. Some actions include writing to legislators and media, demonstrating, volunteering, taking direct action, or participating in civil disobedience. Lead by example and speak out. What you do can make an incredible difference in the lives of the innocent, vulnerable, and voiceless creatures of the world.  

Some current and shocking news stories: 

Report opens door for Nanaimo deer cull

Thursday, April 29, 2010 Darrell Bellaart, The Daily News (Nanaimo)

Nanaimo will have a new weapon in its arsenal for dealing with a pesky deer population: death. The B.C. Ministry of Environment is doing a final review before releasing the report, Urban Ungulate Conflict Analysis for B.C., which will offer municipalities the option of a controlled cull to thin deer populations.

The report looked at ways various North American municipalities have addressed deer problems, including reducing food sources that attract them into cities, using devices to frighten them away and killing them. There is constant frustration over controlling animals that ravage gardens, become aggressive and get killed when hit by cars. North Nanaimo is particularly prone to deer problems.

Not every municipality is expected to start culling the animals, but the release of the report will put that option on the table for cities that might have been nervous to consider it previously. "We need a co-ordinated approach to deal with this issue," said Mike Badry, B.C. Wildlife conflicts prevention officer. "This report gives us the background we need to sit down and talk about it."

He acknowledged culls would be controversial and said the first step in addressing the problem would be forming a local committee to look at all the options.

Nanaimo mayor John Ruttan said he realizes culling deer would probably be effective but knows it would be unpopular politically. "A lot of it is because people have chosen to feed them," Ruttan said. "I think a lot of people are against the use of pesticide and I would suggest those same people would be against culling deer."

Deer are particularly plentiful in the Hammond Bay corridor in north Nanaimo and are often killed by cars. "Last month, we had 35 or 36," said Trevor Hughes of Coastal Animal Control Services, the contractor that collects the carcasses. "I don't have data but I know it's on the rise."

71,000 coyotes killed under Sask. program

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 CBC News

More than 71,000 coyotes have been killed under a bounty program run by the Saskatchewan government — a number far greater than what Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud had predicted earlier Under the program that ran from November 2009 to March 2010, people had to bring in the paws to be paid $20 an animal. Bjornerud said in February he hoped there would be 35,000 coyotes killed by the time the program ended.

The final tally was much higher, likely because hunters were saving up paws, he said. "At the end of March ... they would bring them all in at once," he said. "The average was about 14 or 15 [coyotes] per applicant but I think the highest was about 90." The province spent about $1.5 million on the bounty program, which was introduced in response to complaints by ranchers that coyote numbers were up and the animals were preying on livestock.

However, some questioned whether it was the wisest use of tax dollars. In a typical year, with no bounty offered, Saskatchewan hunters kill about 21,000 coyotes, the Environment Department said. Bjornerud said the pilot project is not likely to be repeated unless farmers complain again in the future about too many coyotes.

400 Park Geese Die, for Human Fliers’ Sake

July 12, 2010 By Isolde Raftery New York Times 

They have been a familiar sight around the lake in Prospect Park in Brooklyn: Canada geese, scores of them. To some residents, the birds and their fuzzy offspring are charming hints of wildlife amid the bricks of the city. Recently, when one was found with an arrow through its neck, park rangers tried to corral it to administer first aid.  But then, over the last few days, parkgoers noticed something strange. The geese were gone. Nearly 400 of them.

On Monday, the answer emerged. Wildlife biologists and technicians had descended on the park Thursday morning and herded the birds into a fenced area. The biologists, working with the federal Agriculture Department, then packed the geese two or three to a crate and took them to a nearby building where they were gassed with lethal doses of carbon dioxide, Carol A. Bannerman, a spokeswoman, said.

Ms. Bannerman said the measure was necessary. “The thing to always remember in this New York situation is that we are talking about aviation and passenger and property safety,” she said. “In New York City, from 1981 to 1999, the population increase was sevenfold.”

The authorities have been thinning the region’s ranks of geese since some of them flew into the engines of US Airways Flight 1549 in January 2009, forcing it to ditch in the Hudson River. Last summer, 1,235 were rounded up at 17 sites around the city and later killed. But the Prospect Park culling appears to be among the biggest, and its scope mortified some residents.  

“It’s a horrible end,” said Anne-Katrin Titze, who went to the park nearly every morning to feed the geese. “It’s eerie to see a whole population gone. There’s not one goose on this lake. It looks as though they’ve been Photoshopped out.”

Ms. Titze and her partner, Ed Bahlman, noticed that the geese were missing on their regular trip to the park on Thursday. The couple found plastic zip-tie restraints in a pile near gosling feathers. They learned what had happened to the geese from news reports on Monday.  “The fact that this was done without letting the public know is the first concern,” Mr. Bahlman said. “There were so many people in the park over the last four days who noticed the geese were gone.”

In recent weeks, the Canada geese have begun their annual molting, meaning they could not fly. Their capture was timed to the molting.

Susan Elbin, conservation director at New York City Audubon, was cautiously supportive of the mass euthanizing. “There are ways to manage birds nonlethally,” Ms. Elbin said. “But if you’re trying to manage a population level, sometimes those hard decisions need to be made.” The goal is to eliminate most of the geese within seven miles of the major airports in the region. Prospect Park is 6.5 miles from both La Guardia Airport and Kennedy Airport.

Seth Kaplan, a teacher who lives two blocks from Prospect Park, said he was crushed when he heard what had happened. Mr. Kaplan, who spends nearly every day in the park, had recently circulated a video of the goslings.  “It’s really important to remember that the Canada geese that collided with Flight 1549 were tested by researchers at the Smithsonian and they were not populations that lived in our area,” Mr. Kaplan said. Most of the Prospect Park geese that were gassed were resident.

Gone in the roundup, apparently, was a goose known alternately as Sticky or Target, who was discovered with an arrow through his neck last month. Park rangers tried and failed to catch the bird in a bid to nurse him back to health. A goose found last year with a damaged beak, which Brooklynites living near the park had tried to help, was also believed to have been killed.

City parks officials granted signed permission for the removal of the birds but said they had not been notified of the specifics. They declined to comment further, referring the matter to the Agriculture Department. Over the weekend, four geese were spotted in the lake.

Most of the geese at the park were probably year-round residents, said Paul D. Curtis, an associate professor of wildlife sciences at Cornell University. Dr. Curtis said there were two types of Canada geese in the region: those that migrate north to nest during the summer and those that stay close to the city. Even to biologists, Dr. Curtis said, they are nearly indistinguishable.  

In the early 1900s, Canada geese were nearly extinct. In an effort to rebuild the population, they were brought to New York from the Midwest. In the 1930s, geese were added to be hunted. Agriculture Department specialists started removing geese this year in mid-June. They expect to complete their schedule of roundups by the end of the week, Ms. Bannerman said.

Elsewhere in the country, nuisance wildlife birds are usually chased away by border collies or firecrackers. But in New York, Ms. Bannerman said, there is no relocation program for the geese, and they must be euthanized. Another method for controlling the birds is coating their eggs with corn oil, to prevent them from hatching.

The carcasses of the Prospect Park geese will be double-bagged and dumped in a landfill. Other states use different methods, like turning the geese into food or animal feed. This year, the Agriculture Department donated 900 pounds of goose breast to food pantries in Pennsylvania.

NOTE: Although Canada Geese are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA), B.C. municipalities such as Parksville (2016) and Vernon (2021) have 'culled' these birds, citing 'overpopulation' or 'nuisance' as justification for doing so.

Man bashes raccoons to death with hockey stick

The public was made aware of a shocking case of animal cruelty on July 20, 2010.  Excerpt from CTV: 

A Vancouver Island man is under investigation after allegedly bludgeoning a mother raccoon and her baby to death with a hockey stick. A witness told animal protection officers in Esquimalt, B.C., he saw his neighbour strike the animals at least 10 times Sunday night and then throw them into a bush.

This despicable excuse of a ‘man’ kept whacking the two raccoons until they expired. 

Animal protection officers with the Victoria branch of the B.C. SPCA responded to the home a day later. The dead animals were put into black garbage bags and removed by officers.  Under B.C. law, raccoons are considered alien species or pests and residents are allowed to kill one humanely if it is damaging property. "

Area residents say the female raccoon had lived in the area for several years and didn't bother anyone. "I can hardly talk about it. They were our pets," one woman said, adding that the mom and its young babies had taken to living under her deck. She said the animals never caused any trouble but area residents always kept their garbage containers locked to ensure they didn't get into mischief.

James said he believed the animals were killed because they were getting into the man's trash. "He was just mad because they were getting it into the garbage but it's not raccoon proof -- so it's not their fault," he said.

Special Constable Erika Paul said the accused could be charged under the Criminal Code if found guilty under the investigation. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act does not apply to wild animals that are not in captivity.

Comment: Under B.C.’s Wildlife Act provincial conservation officers do not physically attend complaints on small problem wildlife unless there is a definite threat to the public. Raccoons are classified as furbearers under the Act, and are also considered alien invasive species or pests and are virtually unprotected under current regulations. All species that fall under Schedule B or Schedule C are vulnerable to such cruelty. In fact, most animals in this province remain unprotected under current legislation. Please write the Ministry of Environment and demand action to protect these voiceless creatures. The federal government and your MP also need to hear from you!  It’s next to impossible to get a conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada.  Laws are outdated and ineffectual, and unbelievably animals are still regarded as property. Canada is NO COUNTRY FOR ANIMALS - a documentary airing on Global TV July 28th. 

Carmina Gooch’s letter to BC SPCA officials:  

Re: Malicious raccoon cruelty 

BC SPCA Officials: 

I am writing to you regarding the extremely disturbing and malicious case of animal cruelty perpetrated upon a mother raccoon and her baby.  According to witnesses, they were bludgeoned to death with a hockey stick by a man on Sussex Street in Esquimalt Sunday night. 

I hope your investigation leads to formal animal cruelty and criminal charges being forwarded to Crown for prosecution.  

Our global communities share laws, moral and written, and when an individual demonstrates such a gross lack of respect for both, our societies must react with action for the innocent and potential victims.  

Although our current animal protection and cruelty laws are woefully inadequate, these vulnerable creatures deserve justice, such as it is.

September 2, 2010 Excerpt from the MoE’s Barry Penner to Carmina Gooch: The Ministry lists raccoons under Schedule B of the Designation and Exemption Regulation of the Wildlife Act. This schedule lists mostly native wildlife species that are known to destroy property or are detrimental to native wildlife. Species listed under Schedule B have fewer restrictions regulating their hunting, killing or capturing, and by law can be captured or killed only for the specific purpose of protecting property unless an open hunting season is designated by regulation. On Vancouver Island there is no closed season for raccoons and the bag limit is 10; however, a licence is required to hunt raccoons. Any capturing or killing of Schedule B wildlife must abide by provincial laws regarding the humane treatment of animals as well as laws regarding trespass. 

The Ministry is not contemplating changes to the Wildlife Act or the Designation and Exemption Regulation at this time.

Active Cruelty (Acts of Commission)

Implies malicious intent, where a person has deliberately and intentionally caused harm to an animal, and is sometimes referred to as NAI (Non-Accidental Injury). Acts of intentional cruelty are often some of the most disturbing and should be considered signs of serious psychological problems. This type of behavior is often associated with sociopathic behavior and should be taken very seriously.

Passive Cruelty (Acts of Omission)

Passive cruelty is typified by cases of neglect, where the crime is a lack of action rather than the action itself — however do not let the terminology fool you. Severe animal neglect can cause incredible pain and suffering to an animal.

Provincial SPCA Cruelty Investigators are responsible for the enforcement of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1-855-622-7722 and Wildlife issues are the responsibility of the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service.

Read more: Los Angeles steps up enforcement of animal cruelty laws; the animal cruelty & human violence link; Port Hardy case; no justice by the courts, convicted animal abusers-Canada

Visit our Animal Law page. Return to Nature/Human Impact page.