Category Archives: Hunting

Captain Paul Watson – Corey Knowlton – The Most Despicable Hominid Of The Week

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lordflies

Written by: Heather Clemenceau

Usually, I write my own text for a blog. But this time I feel that the message presented by Captain Paul Watson is so on-point and so precisely echoes what I am feeling now that I know that despite intense lobbying, Corey Knowlton has killed his Namibian black rhino. So I’m quoting Captain Watson’s excellent commentary directly. But before I do I want to say that there is absolutely no proof that hunting provides any positive conservation value nor does it enhance an ecosystem. Conservation success stories, like the Yellowstone National Park wolf recovery program, support the contention that ecosystems are highly complex and unpredictable by mankind. Hunting disrupts the natural equilibrium produced by nature when left to its own devices without interference from mankind.

Instead of true conservation, the hunting industry and conservation officials have an incestuous relationship where unacceptable practices are being enabled by the very official agencies that should be playing an independent monitoring or watchdog role. During an undercover League Against Cruel Sports investigation in spring 2004, Sir Edward Dashwood, director of the E J Churchill Sporting Agency, admitted to investigators that “90% of the trophy fee goes straight into some Nigerian’s pocket or African politician or whatever it is.”

Corey Knowlton – The Most Despicable Hominid of the Week

Lord of the FliesBy Captain Paul Watson

With one of the most delusional rationalizations of an ecological crime that anyone has ever attempted to present to the public, Corey Knowlton says that his killing of an endangered rhino was meant to bring awareness to the plight of the Black Rhino

When asked if he feels that killing this black Rhino was the right thing to do Knowlton replied:

“I felt like from day one it was something benefiting the black rhino, being on this hunt, with the amount of criticism it brought and the amount of praise it brought from both sides, I don’t think it could have brought more awareness to the black Rhino.”

This despicable excuse for a human being paid $350,000 for a permit to kill a Rhino issued by the corrupt government of Namibia, a country that licenses the slaughter of seals, giraffe, elephants and anything else that the world’s psychopaths have a lust to murder. He then has the audacity to describe the killing of an endangered species as an act of conservation.

If he really cared about conserving the Rhino he would have given the $350K to the underpaid rangers who risk their lives to protect the animals.

The rangers are the truly heroic men, not cowardly white hunters like Knowlton who simply pull a trigger to extinguish the life of a noble sentient being for no other reason than to stain the crotch of their pants.

“I think people have a problem just with the fact that I like to hunt,” Knowlton said. “I want to see the black rhino as abundant as it can be. I believe in the survival of the species.”

Right, and the way to increase the numbers of a rapidly diminishing small population of Rhinos is to kill one. The logic is so peversely bizarre that it could only come from a man who has more money than heart, who not only lacks empathy but seems to be completely devoid of common sense.

Knowlton actually is bragging that he has done more to defend the Rhino than all of his critics. This statement is simply nonsensical. This man clearly loves to kill and it has become a common justification for these psychopaths to justify their dark lethal passions with foolish pronouncements of pretentious conservation.

When poor Black Africans kill a Rhino the world is outraged and they are rightfully labeled as poachers. When a rich White person slaughters a Rhino, they call themselves conservationists.Animal Farm Four Legs Good

Men like Knowlton are a disgrace to humanity and they are very much a part of the problem.

Knowlton’s Namibian guide is named Hentie van Heerden. Another White man posing as a conservationist. His name reminds me of the evil Van Pelt in the movie Jumanji.

Van Heerden thinks that if the older and stronger Rhinos are not culled they will kill younger and healthier Rhinos and that will be bad for the species. You have to wonder how nature got by without White hunters to keep things under control.
According to van Heerden. “There will always be activists and that’s how they make their money,” he said. “They have no clout here in Namibia, because people understand hunting.”

No Hentie, the people in charge of conservation in Namibia understand money. And there is a reason for conservationists not having any clout there. I found out myself when we were working to stop the brutal slaughter of fur seals. It’s called corruption.

According to Knowlton, the Rhino he killed was one of four black Rhinos at the top of the government hit list, the ones considered “high priority threats to the herd.” They can also be classified as the one with the highest marketability in the murder market.

You see it’s not big White hunters like Know-It-All-Knowlton that that are the problem for the survival of the Rhino. It is the Rhinos themselves who are the greatest threats to the survival of the Rhinos.

Humans seemingly have an infinite capacity to justify their cruelty and their destruction.

To bolster his image as a great White nimrod, Knowlton states, “I think people think of it as this docile thing, but you are dealing with an extremely athletic animal that can do whatever it wants to you very quickly.”

The truth is that the Rhino is dealing with an extremely ruthless yet cowardly animal armed with an extremely lethal rifle.

Last year, one of Knowlton’s critics suggested the trophy hunting of a black Rhino was like shooting a couch in a living room.

This criticism annoys Knowlton. He’s always quick to bring it up with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

“So this is just like hunting a couch? Give me a break,” he said. “This isn’t easy. It’s brutal.”

lord-of-the-fliesSo brutal that they have to hike through thick shrub for hours during the day and actually sweat. It’s unlike the canned hunts these posers are used to, so I can understand his frustrations. In the evening instead of a comfortable luxury hotel, they have to endure the night in a tent with a staff to cook and serve drinks in plastic cups. The steaks are never done to perfection, and the night sounds of irritating wildlife, make sleeping a challenge.

It could be more accurately described as hunting a couch being towed through the brush with sleep-overs with the boys and an opportunity to compare the size of their guns.

Knowlton found his victim thanks to cameras set up near watering holes and a gashed ear inflicted by the government to the animal, as a sign that it can be “legally” murdered.

Four shots, a roar of pain and the animal runs. A half an hour later the Rhino lies on the ground. Three more shots and Knowlton gets to kneel over his victim. He says, “Any time you take an animal’s life it’s an emotional thing.”

You can see the self-satisfied emotion in his smug grin as he straddles the corpse, his crotch wet, his fingers encircling the barrel of his high-powered 500 Nitro Express rifle as the smoke still oozes from the muzzle.

Beneath lies a creature far more noble than it’s killer, an animal that a few moments ago was intensely alive in it’s home environment, an animal that was respected amongst his own kind, a vibrant, sentient, self aware member of a diminishing species.

Knowlton will decapitate the Rhino, the head to be shipped off to a taxidermist and transported back to Texas where this notoriously craven nimrod can mount it on his wall as a trophy like any other psychopath.

The memory will suffice for a time but Knowlton will soon feel the urge to kill like any other serial killer and yet another trophy will be placed on his wall in his never ending quest for sado–erotic satisfaction to sustain his disturbing addiction.

 

 

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Aftermath Of The Short Hills Deer Hunt – Optimizing The Use Of FOIA Documentation

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

The final Ministry of Labour costs for the six-day 2014 deer hunt by members of the Haudenosaunee Aboriginal Community is $61,959. Of the Ministry costs, $19,286 was for salaries, $32,750 for accommodation and meals and $9,923 in miscellaneous costs.  Not included are the wages for Ontario Provincial Police or Niagara Regional Police, who were present at the hunt every day with a headcount of 6-12 officers at any given time.  When their salaries and overtime are factored in, the cost for the hunt could easily approach $200,000. This still does not include the costs downloaded to the Privacy Commissioner’s Office, which in 2013 sorted through “approximately 2,300 pages of records, including briefing notes, house notes, correspondence, e-mails, plans, handwritten notes and agreements” in order to respond to a Freedom of Information request by the Welland Tribune alone.

John Salo from the Ministry of Natural Resources reported that a total of 67 ministry staff were involved throughout the hunt, with about 45 staff on site daily in November and December.  Salo claimed additional ministry staff were required to ensure public and harvester safety at Short Hills Provincial Park due to an increased number of protesters.”  This last statement is a blatant attempt to blame the cost on conscientious objectors to the hunt, however it was the police and not the MNR who primarily interacted with protesters (unless you count the lurid sexist gestures made by someJody Bersma MNR staff to the female protesters).  The open records request did not reveal a single communication that expressed concern over the number of protesters (and therefore a need to increase staff). It’s bogus because the number of protesters had no bearing on the MNR staff who were responsible for marking trees with hunt and buffer zones, patrolling the park to keep public out and keep the hunters in after they left the hunt boundary and had to be corralled back (5), or the “valet services” provided to hunters when dead deer were shuttled in the park via ATV. Despite having all these people in the park, the Ministry still could not control the number of hunters in Short Hills (although clearly they had no intention of doing so), nor could they help locate a wounded deer which survived a night with an arrow in its stomach.

All these MNR staff members would have been present at the park even if there were no protesters at all.  In any case, it is the protesters who need protection against the MNR, if the incident involving MNR Superintendent Richard Post is any indication.

After an unfathomably long investigation of more than two months by the OPP, Post, who pushed a demonstrator with an MNR vehicle out into the road after a protest in December 2014, has been exonerated. This, despite the fact that the Criminal Code of Canada makes it an offence to drive or operate a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public.

driftwoodThe arms-up, stick-swinging superintendent has a history of causing dissension during the course of his employment  In 2011, he came under scrutiny when a video of him flinging driftwood logs from a teepee-style structure while surrounded by bewildered beach-goers appeared online.  Tensions came to a head in April 2012 when Post was charged with one count of assault after a confrontation with a 73 year old cottager at Rondeau Provincial Park. Those charges were also dismissed in October 2013. Even though more than 320 cottagers petitioned the Ministry of Natural Resources to transfer him, the MNR and Ontario Parks somehow continued to support his methods whilst simultaneously having issues with the stakeholder complaint process.

There was certainly no love lost between Post and the Rondeau Cottagers Association, who wrote in their newsletter after his transfer to Pinery Park that:

“Post’s time here will be remembered by the public for being charged by the OPP with assaulting Garnet Smith two Deer snowyears ago this week, and for demolishing the Big Dock.  Those of us on the RCA Executive view his legacy as the complete loss of a formerly-respectful stakeholder relationship, a shameful breakdown in communication resulting in deepening entrenchment, and ultimately an abject four-year failure of leadership & park management.  When U.S. President Ronald Reagan ran for re-election in 1980, he asked voters if they were better-off now than they were four years ago.  To paraphrase the late President:  “Is Rondeau better-off now than it was four years ago?”  I vote no.”

How Was Short Hills Park chosen for a hunt when other locations appeared to be more suitable?  Open records requests by the Short Hills Alliance did not provide an answer to this question.  In fact, in all the FOIA information presented to the Alliance, Short Hills was not short-listed or even mentioned once as a possibility.  In reviewing the other available options presented to the Haudenosaunee, it becomes apparent that Short Hills was not any more suitable or desirable than practically any other proffered site.  FOIA requests did reveal that the Haudenosaunee requested additional outsourced deer since the number of available deer on the reservation had diminished, leaving them 10-12 deer short each year for Long House Ceremonial functions.  Reading between the lines, the implication here is perhaps that the traditional grounds may have been over hunted.

Deer WinterThe native hunters requested isolated hunting lands that were not currently open to regular hunters, and they were willing to travel anywhere in the watershed.  Clearly there would have been several more suitable options for hunting if areas that were already used for this activity would have been acceptable.  The natives were working on 27 land claims, and said that pre-existing treaties allowed them to hunt in all of South Western Ontario. 

Other areas discussed for hunting included: Wainfleet Bog,  Navy Island,  Dundas Valley, Willoughby Marsh,  Humberstone Marsh,  South Cayuga/Townsend,  (2) Balls Falls, Binbrook,  Canborough,  Chippawa Creek,  E.C. Brown,  Hedley Forest, Jordan Harbour,  Long Beach,  Mud Lake (4) and Port Davidson, Ruigrok Tract,  St. Johns, Stevensville,  Virgil Dams and Reservoirs, and Wainfleet Wetlands (6)

These  sites may have been ruled out for the following reasons (itemized on spreadsheets by MNR staff and obtained by FOIA requests):

Wainfleet Bog – Public hunting was already in the park, there was public opposition for closing area for exclusive hunt, difficulty walking through would make for a difficult hunt, site is home of Eastern Massassauga Rattlesnake and other species at risk, Six Nations had already had discussions but did not pursue, there was difficulty in distinguishing between Crown owned and NPCA owned lands, the area was surrounded by private land,  and there was difficulty in ensuring safety due to large area

Navy Island – A Niagara Parks Agreement would have been required, problem with firearms on Parkway, hunting was deemed too difficult, normally a public outcry when hunt takes place, access by boat, tourist area – highly visible

Dundas Valley – No real increased hunting opportunity as Six Nations is already hunting there, public not happy with hunting in the area, highly populated

Willoughby Marsh – Public hunting already allowed, small recreational area, public opposition to closing area for exclusive hunt, difficult to hunt and low deer concentrations

Humberstone Marsh – Public hunting already allowed, proximity to city of Port Colborne, low deer concentrations

South Cayuga/Townsend – Land is leased so landowner permission required

Balls Falls – No hunting season

Binbrook – Hunting from designated blinds only, hunting blind fee applies, already being used by other hunters

Canborough – No hunting season

Chippewa Creek – Hunting restrictions in some blocks

E.C. Brown – No hunting season

Hedley Forest – Conservation Area boundaries

Humberstone Marsh – Conservation Area boundaries

Jordan Harbour – No hunting season

Long Beach – Some area restrictions

Mud Lake – Hunting from designated blinds only

Port Davidson – No hunting season

Ruigrok Tract – Conservation area boundaries

St. Johns – No hunting season

Stevensville – No hunting season

Virgil Dams and Reservoirs – No hunting season

Wainfleet Bog – Designated areas only

Wainfleet Wetlands – Boundary  restrictions, no ATVs allowed in conservation areas

Notice the number of sites that currently allow hunting but have low populations of deer.  This suggests that the areas are being hunted to excess.  Notice also that the Short Hills Alliance is not the only group in opposition to deer hunting in their backyards.

The Short Hills deer hunt demonstrates the importance of open records for government transparency. The park was selected despite the fact that it also featured expanses of private land around the perimeter, there were objections to hunting, it was of small size, and there continue to be low hunting success rates (as evidenced by up to 70 hunters coming into the park per day,  but killing only 21 deer during the entire hunt),  and unclear hunting boundaries. With the available other options,  the MNR and Ontario Parks would have to be wooden-headed in enforcing subsequent hunts in an area where there is such intense opposition from both the public and the Regional Council members.

According to the law of diminishing returns, we can reasonably presume that if hunting by the Haudenosaunee Deer FallConfederacy on the reserve continued at a steady state or increased while the deer population failed to keep pace or declined, it would become too difficult to kill any deer.  This may explain why the native hunters were unable to continue sourcing deer on the reservation. As a result of population decline, hunters would require increased effort/time as the population reached lower and lower numbers, preventing them from achieving high kill rates.  The only reason populations of deer are not exterminated in this scenario is because of the effort relationship on the part of hunters in general – they tend to give up when it gets too hard,  thus allowing the population of deer to eventually rebound.

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, beauty and stability of the biotic community.  It is wrong when it does otherwise. We don’t want to throw any deer under the proverbial bus, but after two hunts outside the reservation, the deer population may rebound and both the MNR and native hunters will reconsider the convenience of hunting in a multi-use park that is the subject of heavy protesting and at a potential cost of up to $200,000 to the taxpayers each hunting season.

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is the one that comes with a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Tackling The Ivories

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ebony and ivory elephants

Written By:  Heather Clemenceau

When I was a kid, I’m pretty sure that I learned that “E” was for “elephant,” not for “extinction.” But since the time I was in grade school, Africa has lost over 90% of their elephants. Despite an international ivory trade ban being in place, the obscene demand for elephant ivory and rhino horn just keeps growing, largely due to increasing affluence in China. In the Far East a single elephant’s tusks that weigh 10kg will fetch more than $30,000, while rhino horn is selling at $65,000 a kilogram, more than twice the price of gold. As most everyone knows, a tipping point has been reached – more African elephants are being killed each year than are being born. An elephant has one baby only every few years. Factor in natural death and do the math – their end is in sight.

Ivory is often concealed as stag antler, cow bone, bovine bone, angel skin coral, faux ivory,  or other natural organic material.  Elephant ivory has been the most important source, but ivory from many species including the hippopotamus, walrus, pig, mammoth, sperm whale, and narwhal has been used.

Ivory is often concealed as stag antler, cow bone, bovine bone, angel skin coral, faux ivory, or other natural organic material. Elephant ivory has been the most important source, but ivory from many species including the hippopotamus, walrus, pig, mammoth, sperm whale, and narwhal has been used.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement which came into force in Canada on July 3rd, 1975 and aims to prevent the over-exploitation of wildlife threatened by excessive international trade and illegal poaching. Selling African ivory has been prohibited since 1989.  Under the regulations, some people will need to sacrifice certain rights of ivory ownership. Anyone who currently owns an ivory item, and wants to keep it or gift it, is not impacted at all by these regulations. However, owners of ivory without proper documentation (showing it is either antique or acquired legally before the 1989 ban) will not be able to sell it. However, any ivory considered ancient, such as 10,000 to 40,000 year old mammoth ivory, is completely unrestricted in its sale or possession.

Elephant-sized loopholes, insufficient law enforcement and capitulation by the member states of CITES to pro-ivory trade governments has occasionally allowed sales of enormous amounts of stockpiled ivory. But not all shipments of ivory arrive via someone’s luggage or a

Elephants will be extinct in 10 years at the rate China's carving factories are churning out chopsticks and useless doodads.  There are 37 massive carving factories in China. The owners could close those factories now, retool to carve in resin, and the poachers would not be paid at the factory door.

Elephants will be extinct in 10 years at the rate China’s carving factories are churning out prestige pieces, chopsticks and useless doodads. There are 37 massive carving factories in China. The owners could close those factories now, retool to carve in resin, and the poachers would not be paid at the factory door.

shipping container. In 2007, eBay, under pressure from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, banned all international sales of elephant-ivory.  But this has done little to prevent elephant ivory products from being trafficked on the world’s online marketplace.   eBay and Etsy are largely responsible for much of the illegal ivory transactions in North America. While both sites have have been humiliated into creating official policies, they certainly do not enforce them to the spirit of the agreement, since they are profiting handsomely via fees and commissions from their sellers. This is also true of Craig’s List, Google Shopping, and other online sellers who have no policies at all against facilitating the ivory trade.

Most of the doodads sold as antique ivory today are made to look old but come from elephants that were killed recently in Africa. Illegal products are also getting mixed up with the pre-ban and pre-historic stuff, such as legal mammoth ivory, reclaimed from mass graveyards. I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with using ivory from long-dead mammoths, but the average person cannot distinguish between mammoth ivory and elephant ivory – a highly trained individual is still necessary to obtain a positive identification of the species source, sometimes by using techniques such as isotope analysis.

The replica Bechstein Louis XV grand piano. The original was made for Queen Victoria. It is undeniably impressive with its intricate woodcarving and gold leaf, but should a contemporary grand piano have real ivory-topped keys?  Reviving traditional craftsmanship is a worthy pursuit. But to use ivory for the keys is a very serious misreading of the tea leaves by this piano company.

The replica Bechstein Louis XV grand piano. The original was made for Queen Victoria. It is undeniably impressive with its intricate woodcarving and gold leaf, but should a contemporary grand piano have real ivory-topped keys? Reviving traditional craftsmanship is a worthy pursuit. But to use ivory for the keys is a very serious misreading of the tea leaves by this piano company.

Confounding this are the products made (or allegedly made) from hippo tusk, ox bone, warthog ivory, buffalo horn, giraffe and camel bone, in addition to mother-of-pearl, synthetic polymers, and the catch-all phrase, “faux ivory.” Any of these aforementioned terms are used online as “code” for genuine ivory.  Visit eBay and search for “faux ivory” or any of these other terms and you’ll see how prevalent it is. If sellers do identify their wares as ivory, they claim that their ivory trinkets are pre-ban, antique, or vintage. But they cannot all be pre-ban relics. An investigation by the Natural Resources Defense Council has found that up to 90 percent of the ivory products sold in stores in Los Angeles is illegal.

Older or antique musical instruments are sometimes made with ivory components.  Despite the scourge of poaching, piano maker Bechstein created a world-wide scandal when they used post-ban ivory on a new golden salon grand commissioned for its 160th anniversary and based on a replica of the original gilded piano Carl Bechstein created for Queen Victoria in the late 19th century. It is finished with 24-carat gold leaf, carved from century-old Italian wood and finished with ivory keys. If you can get past the ivory keys, the piano is exquisite and will probably find itself in the parlour of a wealthy buyer in China or some tobacco company executive. But if anyone seriously believes a new piano made with ivory keys rather than other materials is worth more than an elephant then they are deluded. Then again, people still pay to go on those gruesome big game safaris, eat endangered whale meat at high-class restaurants, and wear fur, so I’m not really sure what I’m so surprised about. Singer Billy Joel took to his blog to provide the perfect response to musicians who argue that they need ivory keys for their pianos. Joel writes:

For piano keys, the ivory was sliced thin, into laminates that were secured to wooden keys. These keys are all that's left of our antique piano,  destroyed in "The Great Fire" of 1999.  You can see how warped they are from the heat of the fire.

Two keys from our 1936 Steinway piano, inexorably linked with the distasteful business of killing elephants for the purpose of obtaining ivory. For piano keys, the ivory was sliced thin, into laminates that were secured to wooden keys. These keys are all that’s left of our piano, destroyed in a house fire not that long after we brought it up from the US. You can see how warped they are from the heat of the fire.

“I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists. But a preference for ivory keys does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day. There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced. Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species. Music should be a celebration of life – not an instrument of death.”

Despite the masses of buttons, buckles, and billiard balls freely available in the online marketplace, musicians are being targeted when travelling with their instruments for competitions and performances. The CITES regulations have created anxiety in the music world, and will cause many working musicians with vintage instruments to reconsider travelling abroad. Both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony were only able to travel internationally after they secured CITES permits, which require a wait time of 30-75 days and cost $75 per certificate.

We brought our 1936 Steinway piano with elephant ivory keys up from the US via railway car, coincidentally right after CITES regulations came into force. At the time we had no idea that there were existing regulations with which we would have to comply in order to import it into Canada. We had never heard of a CITES Import Certificate. You can be sure that we didn’t have any paperwork proving how old it was. If we had called Steinway do you think that they would have had the documentation to prove when and where that ivory was obtained? Had the piano been seized, the keys would have been ripped off it and we probably would have been lumped in together with people who are intentionally trafficking in new ivory.

Today, there are many different materials available to pianomakers. Piano key veneers are made of resin,  jade, slate, or clamshell.  You can almost hear the elephants trumpeting their approval.

Today, there are many different materials available to pianomakers. Piano key veneers are made of resin, jade, slate, or clamshell. You can almost hear the elephants trumpeting their approval.

Even if you’re in possession of a CITES certificate, things can still go horribly wrong in the misguided war on musical instruments. Campbell Webster, 17 and Eryk Bean, 17, both from New Hampshire, had their bagpipes seized while travelling between Canada and the US, just two days before they were due to fly to Scotland for the World Pipe Band Championships. Webster’s £6,000 pipes, which were previously used by his father in his role as an official piper to the Queen, were confiscated by officials because they are made out of ivory. All this was due to the boys’ failure to cross at the designated port. In another example of overreaching authority, The Fish and Wild Life Service confiscated a 73 year-old piano and would not release it to the owner until the ivory had been stripped from it. In 2014, a Canadian string player studying in New York cancelled his audition in Winnipeg, fearing his bow with an ivory bridge would be confiscated on return to the States. To serious violinists, the bow is almost as important as the violin itself.

The ivory trade is a pretty despicable industry – the domain of the world’s most vicious and heavily armed militants. It’s hard to believe that the killing, trafficking, and terrorism are being committed solely out of the desire for animal teeth. Whatever can be done to stop the trade, then I’m all for it. But confiscating or damaging these musical instruments is a ridiculous action in the face of so many ivory pieces being sold internationally.

Do governments really believe that ivory is being trafficked as antique bagpipes, piano keys, and violin bridges or bows? It’s pretty obvious when you have a musician transporting an older musical instrument that just happens to be laden with ivory… as opposed to someone with a couple massive tusks in their checked bag. Confiscating bagpipes from teenagers and hassling other musicians with vintage instruments is not the way to go about it – no one is playing that instrument *because* it has ivory – they have the instrument due to its quality. These are good and well-intended regulations, but they’ve got to be refined so they accomplish their intended goals without needlessly complicating the lives of musicians.  We need higher penalties for violators, online retailers, traffickers and especially for big game hunters who can currently legally kill elephants and bring home the ivory.

Oscar-Winning Director Kathryn Bigelow Wants You to Know Your Ivory Souvenirs Finance Terrorists

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Action – Petition To The Government Of Canada Requesting Mandatory Risk Assessment For Animal Abuse

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Two Children Teasing a Cat Annibale Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1560–1609 Rome)  Why do some people pull the wings off butterflies, toss firecrackers at cats, shoot the neighbors’ dogs with BB guns (or torture cats with crayfish)? The Dark Triad consists of three personality characteristics—narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.  You can see it in the painting. Look at the little girl’s smile as she watches the boy torture the car with a crayfish.

Two Children Teasing a Cat
Annibale Carracci
(Italian, Bologna 1560–1609 Rome)
Why do some people pull the wings off butterflies, toss firecrackers at cats, shoot the neighbours’ dogs with BB guns (or torture cats with crayfish)? The Dark Triad consists of three personality characteristics—narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. You can see it in the painting. Look at the little girl’s smile as she watches the boy torture the cat with a crayfish.

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Animal abuse is typically due to the inadequate protection of animals, along with social and cultural factors. Many psychologists and anthro-zoologists argue that animal cruelty is a good predictor of later violence against humans. Therefore, we must address the important psychological and social/cultural issues and make cruelty to animals target of intervention so that we can learn more about the etiology of human cruelty.

While animals deserve their own Bill of Rights, many crimes against humans may well have been prevented had any animal cruelty incidents that preceded them been taken seriously. Animals, people, and communities will be safer if animal abuse is detected early and intervention happens immediately with the use of appropriate risk assessment tools and treatment programs created specifically to target animal abuse.

The wanton abuse of a dog named Captain is the foundation for this petition, created by animal activist Charlene Myers and (now retired) parole officer Carole DeGrood. Brian Whitlock of Vancouver, British Columbia was convicted on June 12, 2013 of animal cruelty for beating Captain in the head and body with a baseball bat. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, mandatory psychological counselling and 3 years of probation, but had also been convicted of assault and has subsequently been charged with killing his mother. The petition is intended to be applicable to anyone convicted of animal cruelty under the Criminal Code in Canada.  Please help Animal Cruelty Legislation Advocates Canada collect signatures for presentation to the House of Commons.

The Petition is available in both English and French versions:

English Petition (PDF)

Version Française – Pétition (PDF)

Please note about the petition:

Signing the petition:

  1. Only residents of Canada (anyone who has lived in Canada for 6 months or more) may sign this petition.
  2. The petition form should be printed one-sided only to prevent “bleed” of ink from one side of the paper to the other.
  3. Please do not write anything (such as comments) in addition to what is requested on the petition form.
  4. Please PRINT the FULL NAME OF THE TOWN OR CITY in which you reside (NO ABBREVIATIONS ARE PERMITTED); Provinces MAY be abbreviated.

Submitting the petition:

  1. Before mailing the petition to the address below, please ensure the following:
  2. All required information (name, address, signature) is provided on the petition form.
  3. Your return address is on the envelope in case it needs to be returned to you for any reason such as insufficient postage.
  4. Please mail ORIGINAL signed petitions (PHOTOCOPIES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE) to:

ACLA Canada (short for Animal Cruelty Legislation Advocates Canada)

7895 Gladstone Drive

Prince George, BC V2N 3K5

stray-dog-and-a-cat

Petition to the Government of Canada Requesting Mandatory Risk Assessment and Treatment for Anyone Convicted of Animal Cruelty Under the Criminal Code

Why is this petition important?

Animals are easy targets for abuse as they are vulnerable and without legal rights. Although the crime of animal cruelty may be viewed by some people as unimportant or trivial when compared with other crimes, studies show that people who harm animals may also be involved in other criminality, including crimes of violence toward humans, either simultaneously or in the future. Furthermore, according to the National Link Coalition animal abusers often kill and abuse pets to orchestrate fear, violence and retribution in homes marked by domestic violence. They add that animal cruelty rarely occurs in isolation—it’s usually “the tip of the iceberg” and frequently the first opportunity for social services or law enforcement agencies to intervene.

In a speech delivered at the Congressional Iphoto-2nformational Briefing on Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence in 1998, Special Agent Brantley of the Federal Bureau of Investigation noted the link between animal abuse and violence toward humans (typically referred to simply as “the link”) and revealed the importance of taking animal cruelty into account when assessing a perpetrator’s behaviour when he stated the following:

“Some in our society make too much out of qualitatively distinguishing between violence against humans and violence against animals. Ladies and gentlemen, violence against animals is violence and when it is present, it is considered by the people I work with to be synonymous with a history of violence.”

As animal cruelty is not only a crime of violence unto itself but one that is linked with violence against humans, the focus should be placed more on the behaviour demonstrated by someone who inflicts violence than on the species or legal status of the target victim. As psychologist Dr. Lynn Loar states, “the behaviour that harms the animal is the same behaviour that harms the human.”

As a result of recognizing the link between animal cruelty and violence toward humans, animal protection organizations, social services, and law enforcement agencies in the United States have been working together to address the link since the 1990s.

Canada seems to be moving forward in this regard but there is more to be done. People convicted of animal cruelty typically still receive minimal sentences and there does not appear to be adequate recognition by the courts and other criminal justice workers of the potential risk animal abusers may pose to public safety. If someone convicted of animal cruelty does happen to be sentenced to significant time in custody, available risk assessment tools and treatment options are not designed specifically to allow the assessor to expose and gather information about animal abuse and the perpetrator’s motives for it. These deficiencies need to be addressed.

The Colorado LINK Project found that “an animal cruelty offender’s potential risk to public safety may vary from little to none to extreme” and recchained-dogommends that “animal abuse by adults and children be examined carefully through comprehensive and developmentally sensitive evaluation to help determine the context and seriousness of the abuse, causative factors and the perpetrator’s level of blameworthiness.” As animal cruelty is a crime of violence that is linked to violence against humans, then animals, people, and communities will be safer if everyone convicted of animal cruelty under the Criminal Code of Canada is required to undergo mandatory risk assessment and treatment developed specifically to target animal abuse.

This petition calls upon the House of Commons to require that adequate risk assessment tools and intervention programs are developed and that everyone convicted of animal cruelty under the Criminal Code of Canada be required to undergo mandatory risk assessment and treatment developed specifically to target animal abuse.

For further information, please “like” the

National Animal Abuse Prevention Day” (NAAPD) Facebook page.

 

Dead Wrong – The Deer “Harvest” In Short Hills Provincial Park

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The doe has been shot and is now being removed by MNR staff.

This doe had to be euthanized by MNR staff after she was found wounded on private property

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Photos: Short Hills Wildlife Alliance and Heather Clemenceau

In 2014, concerned citizens in the Niagara Region once again called for for an end to deer hunts in the 1,700 acre Short Hills Provincial Park. Citing concerns for public safety including hunters trespassing on private property,  Regional Councillors sent letters to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) requesting that it not allow future hunts. Through a long-standing but questionable treaty agreement, Haudenosaunee aboriginal hunters have been allowed into the closed park to kill deer with bows and arrows. A first hunt in the park took place over four days in January 2013 and a second was held for eight days in November 2013, finishing out 2014 with a hunt in November/December. In order to depict the disregard with which the deer have been killed and left in various stages of dismemberment in the park, please be aware that this blog post does include some graphic or disturbing images.

The reasons for opposing the hunt are as varied as the demonstrators, many of whom have stood vigilant at the entrance to the park before dawn and after sunset in a cold so numbing that it was physically painful. The protesters consist of those opposed to hunting in a park that is traditionally used for walking, cycling, hiking, birdwatching and horseback riding, those who question the treaty rights, and others who are simply opposed to hunting the semi-tame deer (akin to hunting at Marineland) or have questioned the MNR’s ability to determine whether the park is suffering from deer overpopulation issues as is claimed. Although I’m personally opposed to sport hunting, and bow hunting in particular, I can’t really object to First Nations hunting, fishing, or gathering rights that take place on lands that are not adjacent to homes or schools, or Crown lands that are

Regional Counil Member Andy Petrowski

Regional Council Member Andy Petrowski

generally not used by non-hunters. That description doesn’t characterize Short Hills Park.

Unlike so many animal welfare or animal rights issues, there is widespread political support to ending the hunt. Jim Bradley (MPP St. Catharines), Kim Craitor (MPP Niagara Falls – now retired) and Tim Hudak (MPP Niagara West) and all Town Councils of Pelham, Thorold, St. Catharines and Reg. Council of Niagara are in opposition. The issue is still considered largely untouchable by many politicians, including the Ontario Premier, because it’s also an issue of Native rights. Regional Council, which last fall demanded the province put a stop to the eight days of native deer hunting in the Park, agreed to ask the Ministry of Natural Resources to look into alleged safety violations during that hunt and to take steps to ensure public safety. I’m not into disputing the contents of the treaty,” said St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley. “I simply feel this particular park is not the appropriate place for a deer hunt of this kind.”

I don’t live near Short Hills, but there are many similarities between it and the large forest near my home – one that I’ve ridden horses in for more than a decade. By contrast, hunting is not permitted in the majority of the 2,300 hectare York Regional Forest. The groomed and manicured trails are not open to hunters or members of the public on a snowmobile or ATV – the small tracts that are used for hunting are raw forest, not typically close to homes. The forest is used year-round for the following activities, which can be enjoyed by anyone:

  • Walking/hiking
  • Dog walking
  • Bird watching
  • Horseback riding
  • Cycling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Mountain biking
  • Geocaching and snowshoe strolls
  • Walks with naturalists to identify the local plants and animals
  • Holiday themed events for families
Large protest sign at the entrance to Shorthills

Let’s keep hunting out of multi-use parks that are enjoyed by everyone.

When trails are used for these activities, they should not simultaneously be used for hunting – the hunters need to stay in the designated areas. Since only a small percentage of the Ontario population hunts, why should non-hunters be forced to share the park with people who want to kill animals?  If any of these tracts of the York Regional Forest were suddenly opened up to hunting,  I would be there everyday in protest as well.  There are more than enough of these designated, less populous areas without encroaching onto trails designated for use by everyone.

Contentiousness is not new to deer hunting. Any deer herd is the result of a complex  interaction between food supply, population size, reproduction, mortality factors, exposure to prey animals, movements, weather, and past history. We are continually buffeted with reports that there are too many deer on Crown lands. Whenever the MNR tells us that hunts are needed to “control the population” we know they are only kidding themselves. The fact that the MNR claims there needs to be a hunt twice a year in Short Hills two years in a row shows that killing animals is not an effective way to manage populations, because animal populations tend to rebound after hunting due to the compensatory rebound effect and other factors. And if the deer do actually run out of food in the park they will simply walk away and forage elsewhere. There are no fences around the park to stop them. The fact that they love to eat the grapes from the nearby winery is a testament to the fact that they ignore boundaries entirely.

Regardless of motivation, I think it’s safe to assume that the demonstrators all feel that this cull is a deadly farce perpetrated by those with no

knowledge of population dynamics of wildlife. Those of us who object to killing deer for no good reason have raised the difficult question about the ethical justification of the hunt.

Bow hunting is, next to trapping, the least humane way of killing animals. An invention of the Stone Age, still alive in the 21st century, it is clearly a very cruel way to torture and kill animals without regard for their pain and suffering. Unlike bullets, arrows loop while in transit. Whereas a gun hunter takes dead aim at an animal, an archer must estimate the distance from the target and adjust the shot to compensate for the trajectory of the arrow. Animals commonly jump on hearing the release of the arrow—they reflexively move some distance before the arrow reaches them from wherever they were at the time of the shot. According to experts, animals can completely evade an arrow at a distance of 15 to less than 20 yards, which means they can also partially evade the arrow and become wounded.

The inaccuracy inherent in bow hunting is demonstrated by professional archers. Olympic class-archers hit the “bulls eye,” – the centre of the target – even under ideal conditions when the target is not moving and unobstructed – only part of the time.  Therefore, I maintain that bow hunters are quite aware that their hunting will virtually always cause slow death as they wait the recommended time – up to 12 hours, for the animal to die.  Blood trails on the site provide definitive proof that bow hunted animals do not drop where they stand.  Precisely because the target is moving and because of the numerous variables contributing to the pattern of the moving arrow, wounding is inevitable.

Dozens of scientific studies show that bow hunting yields more than a 50 percent wounding rate. Therefore, if only 21 deer were killed (recovered) in the 2014 hunt as the MNR has stated, we can perhaps conclude that as many as two dozen additional deer were injured and unrecovered, to die later somewhere on the grounds, perhaps after attracting coyotes.  On the last day of the hunt on 2013, there were gunshots heard in the park which was suspected to be MNR cleaning up the wounded.

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Interestingly, the Haudenosaunee claim to have a 90-95% accuracy rate, which seems implausible to me. The spokesperson for the hunters – Paul Williams, claims that they have a 5-10% error rate. Williams also adds that the average recreational bow hunt where the deer are wounded and not taken as kills by the hunter are about 30-40%, which is still not consistent with scientific studies. However, if indeed the hunters have a error rate of 10% or less, I would suggest that they get on an Olympic team, where they would do well pitted against some of the most highly skilled archers in the world, who claim to have an accuracy rating of about 90% (with a non-reactive target).

MNR Ministry of No Responsibility

MNR – The Ministry of No Responsibility

The single most farcical element in the Short Hills hunt is surely provided by the presence of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Think “Waterloo” and immediately the phrase, “catastrophic failure” comes to mind. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is supposed to act as the steward of Ontario’s provincial parks, forests, fisheries, wildlife, mineral aggregates, and the crown lands and waters that make up close to 90% of our province. However, it’s been quite some time if at all since the MNR was truly interested in protecting wildlife beyond making sure there are sufficient numbers to exploit through the sale of hunting licenses. It seems obvious that even in winter the habitat can obviously sustain the numbers, since thus far no one has presented any imagery of sick or emaciated deer. In fact, pictures taken by homeowners backing onto the park and visitors show that the deer are healthy and in good flesh. By contrast, the Ministry expects everyone to believe that after 3 hunts, poaching, year-round hunting on adjacent private property and a terrible winter, the deer population persistently exceeds its carrying capacity by several hundred animals.

The hunt has devastated the budget for the Short Hills – the MNR spent $84,000 to organize a total of 12 days of hunting (not including the cost for 2014) – almost 4 times the annual budget of the entire park at just under $25,000.  Not included in this cost are the salaries of 6-12 Niagara Regional and OPP officers at the park each and every day of the hunt, along with other branches of government such as legal, historical, and aboriginal affairs, provided courtesy of the taxpayer.

The hunt also permits activities that are not allowed by visitors to the park at any other time. This includes the use of trucks by the hunters and ATVs used by the MNR/Ontario Parks staff. The vehicles leave deep ruts in a property where walkers are reminded by signage not to walk on the trails when they are muddy, to avoid damage. Damage to the park from the last hunt was left all year long as a mess and only repaired not for the regular patrons of Short Hills, but for the hunters. Now it’s ruined yet again and will no doubt be left for another year now that the budget has been exhausted.

Message posted on pro-hunt Facebook page.

Message posted on pro-hunt Facebook page.

The 1,700-acre forest is surrounded by private property and about 100 homes, and although the MNR has created a no-hunt buffer zone between the park and private property lines, the buffer zone – 150 metres from the edge of the park, has been breached by hunters in the past.  “…Even if you put up a note [sic] trespassing sign I’m not going to stay off your damn property,” writes Bruin Pol on a Facebook page supporting the Short Hills deer hunt.

The MNR also marked some trees with a confusing array of colours signifying that the hunt boundary (marked with blue paint) and buffer zone (marked with red paint) were one and the same

Confusing MNR signage - Hunt Zone and Buffer Zone are the same?

Confusing MNR signage – Hunt Zone and Buffer Zone are the same?

when the latter should logically be 150 metres from the hunt zone.

The Ministry also set a limit of 30 native hunters (which they refer to as a protocol). However, we know that this is a totally non-binding limit since the hunters chose to ignore it without consequence. Each day, protesters observed up to 70 hunters entering the property despite the presence of this “limit.” With 30 – 70 hunters present on each day and only 21 deer killed in total as of this last hunt in 2014, we must of course question the MNR’s statements about deer overpopulation in the park, along with any claims of the effectiveness or accuracy of the hunters. When deer were observed in truck beds leaving Short HIlls, it was also noted that they were in good apparent health and not emaciated, once again, disproving claims of overpopulation. If the deer population is too large and the park ecosystem can’t sustain the deer,  in winter of all seasons, why are the deer of healthy weight and suitable to hunt? Wouldn’t the majority of them be underweight? It is a fact that a government biologist confirmed on the last day of hunt that all the deer were healthy.

We can mock the MNR for their unsubstantiated statements about the hunt, but at the close of the December hunt, their frustration with the demonstrators escalated and became downright dangerous. Protesters complained of lewd gestures by one MNR employee along with the childish theft of a protest sign by another. This petty theft meant that the police had to retrieve the sign from the individual and return it personally to the protester, at additional cost. The most outrageous offense by an MNR employee occurred when he aggressively pushed a protester several feet out into the road with a truck – a vehicular assault that is still being investigated by the police.

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Criticism of the hunt and bow hunting specifically has led to some unjustified cries of favouritism or racism by the demonstrators.  The accusation of favouritism has been made because only natives were invited to participate in a hunt that some felt should have been open to others, and racism because hunting critics have inevitably drawn in Six Nations people as part of the criticism of the hunt. Prolonging of the public dispute has been largely fueled by the Social Justice Research Institute of nearby Brock University, representing the head-desk, side-eye, face-palm state of academic publishing, via a blog post that derisively referred to protesters as “settler or colonial racists,” as if none of the Brock students or faculty are “settlers” or “colonists” either. I would agree that it would be racist to suggest that natives should have no treaty rights at all, but it’s no more racist to protest this hunt than it is wrong to critique consumption of bear paw or shark fin soup, or the use of elephant tusk or rhino horn (albeit these are endangered animals). All ideas and traditions must be open to criticism regardless of origin and without charges of racism in order that we not shield intrinsically harmful ideas from criticism. And, unlike a person’s racial or cultural characteristics or gender, beliefs can be argued for, tested, criticized, and changed.

In their now infamous blog post accusing the protesters of racism, colonialism, and sexism, the SJRI never once addresses the interdisciplinary scholarly field of critical animal studies, which is

Jodlyn Harrison's inflammatory blog post, filled with false and exaggerated claims about the protesters.

Jodie Lynn Harrison’s inflammatory blog post, filled with false and exaggerated claims about the protesters. Click to embiggen or visit SJRI’s original blog post here

also taught at Brock University. Rooted in animal liberation, CAS is dedicated to establishing total liberation for humans, nonhuman animals, and the earth. Animal rights and animal welfare are the next big hurdles for humans to cross, so it’s rather shocking that the SJRI chose not to incorporate these issues into their blog post on the hunting demonstration. The blog author and initiator of the counter-protest, Jodie Lynn Harrison, ignores the fact that relations between humans and non-human animals are now at a point of crisis. Strangely, Ms. Harrison also made claims of sexual harassment (whether against the Brock students or the Haudenosaunee is unknown).

Nor can Ms. Harrison’s behaviour escape criticism, since she introduced herself to some demonstrators and police as a “Professor from Brock University,” who enabled some of the hunters to bypass the official entry point to the park (and the protesters) by trespassing on the adjacent Boy Scouts property in a vehicle owned by the hunters while the camp was attended by children. By most accounts, Ms. Harrison was rarely on-site at the park and yet has conducted her own personal smear campaign by making exaggerated or outright false claims about the protesters in an attempt to create support for treaty rights.  Ms. Harrison did no apparent review of the history of the hunt, had no participation in last 2 hunts, no attendance at Regional Council, no FOI of safety protocol and yet she proclaimed the hunt to be “safe.”

Protesting against hunting is not,  in my opinion, an example of contemporary settler colonialism and certainly not sexism or racism, as claimed by the SJRI. I also think it’s logically fallacious to assume that anyone who questions the 1701 Nanfan Treaty is automatically a racist, nor does it mean that one does not believe in treaty rights. Six Nations people have used the 1701 Nanfan Treaty in their defense to win court cases about hunting outside of reserves but the validity of the treaty itself has not been challenged in court. Many historians claim that the application of the Treaty in what is now southwestern Ontario is questionable since the Five (later Six) Nations Iroquois had already surrendered that land to the Mississauga and other Ojibwa Indians a year earlier in June 1700.

I don’t believe there is anyone alive who can atone for the intentional acts of destruction and violence against aboriginal peoples. Settler colonialism in Canada spanned several hundred years and included mass killings and other depopulations, extreme negligence in the form of unchecked and facilitated spread of disease, along with large scale expropriation of lands and forced assimilation. Protesters against the hunt are actually agnostic with regard to the ideasubjects of the demonstration – it makes no difference who the hunters are. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is entrenched in Canada’s constitution, guarantees us the freedom of peaceful assembly in section 2(c). I suggest that the SJRI and Ms. Harrison reflect on the accusations they have made and take to heart and mind the words of Peter Marler, a pioneer in the field of animal communication.  He once gave invaluable professional counsel to one of his colleagues- “Slow down, reflect more, and publish less.

Short Hills is Ontario’s smallest provincial park. It hasn’t seen hunting in 50 years. It has long been regarded as a park where both flora and fauna are to be conserved under the laws of the Ontario government – Not “conserved” for the use of hunters who may rip through the property in vehicles that are not a permissible at any other time in the forest. If it is acceptable for people to hunt every year in Short Hills, why doesn’t the Ontario government consistently allow hunting in any other park or conservation land? We’ve also seen from the MNR expenditures that hunting is not a “sport” that is economically viable, at least not without significant handouts.

Warning StickerWhen humans interfere with nature the results are rarely good and such is the case with culling populations. According to a recent study, more livestock are killed after wolves are culled than when populations are left alone. Treehugger reports that Washington State University researchers combed through 25 years worth of data and uncovered that for each wolf killed, the odds of a sheep dying goes up by 4% and the likelihood of cattle getting killed by wolves jumps by 5-6%. So what could possibly be the explanation for these unintended consequences? According to the research, wolf pack stability is paramount when it comes to controlling the impact of wolves on livestock and culling them disrupts the social order of the packs, leading to more breeding. And more breeding is the end result of the instability created by deer hunts, especially when food is in plentiful supply.

For most people, the decision to protest is not an objection to treaty rights or an act of discrimination against the Haudenosaunee. The Six Nations people are used by the MNR to get a temporary herd thin and they avoid the political fallout. But the deer do not care about the culture, religion, sex, interests, politics, or skin colour of the people who kill them. There are many conscientious objectors to deer hunting who are in lockstep with other single-issue campaigns by Natives, such as tree-cutting in aboriginal forests and fracking. We fight against the deer hunt because it is a cruel, needless killing spree where quick kills are the exception.

Why Do Animal Abusers Hate The HSUS?

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humanewatchWritten by:  John Doppler Schiff and reprinted with permission

The HSUS is under attack by animal abusing industries. These industries claim the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States)  is inefficient, ineffective, and incompetent.

But if this was true, why would animal abusers spend tens of millions of dollars annually on dishonest smear campaigns to attack the HSUS?  If the HSUS was truly ineffective, wouldn’t animal abusers be perfectly happy to have such an incompetent opponent?

The truth is that the HSUS is the nation’s largest and most effective animal welfare organization, with a staggeringly long list of accomplishments — and animal abusers are terrified of what they’ve accomplished on behalf of the animals.

Here’s a small, incomplete sampling of what the HSUS does:

 

  • HSUS donated $3000 to the first non-lethal deer population management program in Virginia.
  • HSUS played a pivotal role in securing the defunding of horse slaughter for 2014.
  • HSUS exposed Kenneth Schroeder, a “random source” dealer selling dogs to laboratories for cruel experiements.  Schroeder’s license was subsequently revoked by the USDA.
  • Two endangered tortoises were rescued and rehomed by the HSUS.
  • Cheesecake Factory commenced the phase-out of gestation crates from its suppliers.
  • Humane Society of Charlotte and the HSUS teamed up to rescue 23 dogs from a North Carolina puppy mill.
  • Glee star Lea Michele and the HSUS ask NY legislature to regulate puppy mills more aggressively.  In January of 2014, Gov. Cuomo signs the bill into law.
  • An HSUS investigation exposed 116 Horse Protection Act citations assessed against the board of Tennessee’s Walking Horse Trainers Association.
  • HSUS filed a formal complaint with the USDA demanding enforcement action against more than 50 commercial dog breeders operating illegally.
  • Aubrey Organics joined the HSUS’ Be Cruelty Free campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics.
  • Safeway pledged to eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain.
  • HSUS launched a successful PSA campaign urging citizens to report animal abuse.
  • HSUS provided the USDA with evidence of AWA violations by a research facility in Georgia, culminating in a $26,000 fine.
  • HSUS investigation exposed disease, neglect, and cruelty at unregulated flea markets.
  • Business Ethics Network bestowed two awards on the HSUS for its campaign to reform factory farm cruelty.
  • HSUS successfully presented testimony to prevent the return of a puppy to the pet store owner who abused him.
  • HSUS’ Duchess Sanctuary completed construction on a new hospital barn.
  • HSUS reports exposed inhumane and unsafe conditions in three Maryland roadside zoos exhibiting dangerous exotic animals.
  • Binghamton University joined the Meatless Monday campaign, with great success.
  • HSUS warned consumers about falsely labeled “faux fur” garments containing rabbit fur, sold at Kohl’s.
  • Infamous Chino slaughterhouse and Westland Meat Packing Co. slapped with $155,684,827.00 judgment — the largest animal cruelty penalty ever assessed — following HSUS investigation that revealed abuse of downer cattle at the facility.
  • 40 dogs and 75 cats, miniature ponies, rabbits, and chickens rescued from NC pet mill.
  • HSUS and Red Barn launch a leash and collar drive for pet owners in underserved communities.
  • HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue filed suits to block horse slaughter plants from opening.
  • 31 dogs seized from dogfighting operations in Alabama thanks to a joint effort between law enforcement, HSUS, and local humane societies.
  • Cracker Barrel shareholders voted to support the HSUS proposal to eliminate gestation crates from the company’s supply chain.
  • Papa John’s pledged to eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain.
  • Prop 204 passed in Arizona, eliminating veal and gestation crates.
  • Prop 2 passed in CA, ensuring that poultry will not suffer in cages smaller than a sheet of letter sized paper their entire lives.
  • 200 pit bulls rescued from the largest recorded dog fighting ring.
  • 43 horses rescued from neglect in Lindale, TX.
  • $600,000 grant from HSUS used to build a shelter in Jackson, LA.
  • Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 recriminalized crush videos.
  • 5,700 fighting dogs and roosters rescued from animal fighting rings in 2009.
  • Over forty emergency deployments for large-scale rescue of animals in 2009.
  • More than 10,000 animals rescued in emergency deployments in 2009.
  • 1800 tortoises saved from being buried alive in Florida construction.
  • 1.8 million cows in California will NOT have their tails cruelly amputated without anesthetic this year thanks to the HSUS.bullshit
  • 3,000+ puppies rescued from mass breeding facilities in 2009.
  • 461 more pet stores agree to not sell puppy mill dogs in 2009.
  • 50th reward paid for information leading to the arrest of animal fighting rings in 2009.
  • 14 laws to protect wildlife passed in 2009.
  • Cockfighting now illegal in all 50 states.
  • 150+ retailers and fashion designers have agreed to go fur-free.
  • Criminal abuse of cows at Conklin Dairy exposed and stopped.
  • Chino slaughterhouse putting dying “downer” cattle into schools’ food supply, exposed and stopped.
  • 8,057 animals treated for free in under-served areas in 2009.
  • 4,300 homeowners advised on the humane removal of wildlife in 2009.
  • 23,000+ low-cost spay and neuter surgeries in the Gulf Coast in 2009.
  • 120 cats rescued from a hoarder in Tennessee in 2010.
  • 40,000+ pets spayed and a quarter million dollars raised for spay/neuter programs during Spay Day 2009.
  • 90 dogs rescued from a New Jersey puppy mill in 2010.
  • 89 state laws protecting pets passed in 2009.
  • HSUS sends relief personnel to Haiti for disaster assistance in 2009.
  • 1300 animals have found refuge in HSUS’ Black Beauty Ranch.
  • Maine phasing out cruel intensive confinement systems.
  • Michigan phasing out cruel intensive confinement systems.
  • 49 starving horses rescued in West Virginia in 2010.
  • 8,320 animals treated by HSUS veterinarians in 2010.
  • Kraft switched one million eggs to cage-free.
  • Hellman’s adopted cage-free eggs.
  • Subway phasing in cage-free eggs.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines phasing in cage-free eggs.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines phasing in cage-free eggs.
  • Ohio’s agriculture industry agreed to phase out veal crates and gestation crates by 2015.
  • HSUS transported 100+ dogs from overwhelmed Gulf Coast shelters to NJ and DC.
  • HSUS holds Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdales accountable for mislabeling fur garments.
  • 2000 pet rats rescued from a hoarder in Southern California.
  • Truth in Fur Labeling Act signed into law.
  • HSUS information leads to seizure of 100 roosters from a cockfight ring in Dallas, TX.
  • Undercover video reveals horrific conditions at Smithfield Farms.
  • HSUS distributes 30+ grants to equine rescues as part of American Competitive Trail Horse Association’s fundraiser.
  • HSUS exposes Neiman Marcus sale of dog fur labeled as “raccoon”.
  • D.C. Superior Court rules that Neiman Marcus violated the D.C. Consumer Protection Act by falsely labeling fur garments.
  • Pepsi fans overwhelmingly vote to award HSUS a $250,000 grant to provide veterinary assistance to animals in underserved communities.
  • After years of friction, the USDA agrees to appoint an ombudsman and improve oversight of the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
  • 1,000th pet store joins HSUS’ Puppy Friendly Pet Store campaign, agreeing not to sell puppies.
  • HSUS exposes sale of dog fur labeled as “fake fur” at Barney’s, in NY.
  • Shark Conservation Act signed into law, prohibiting fishermen from cutting the fins off sharks and throwing them back into the water to die horribly.
  • Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman adopts cage-free egg policy.
  • Federal Court of Appeals upholds an HSUS request to stop the slaughter of sea lions at Bonneville Dam on the Oregon/Washington border.
  • HSUS exposes inhumane conditions at Willmar Poultry Company, the nation’s largest turkey hatchery.
  • HSUS and Multnomah County Animal Services provide 40 animal crates to the American Red Cross’ Emergency Warming Center in Portland, OR.
  • HSUS rescues 2500 rats as part of a hoarder intervention in San Jose, CA.  The rescue was featured on Season Three of A&E’s documentary, “Hoarders”.
  • On behalf of the Human Toxicology Project Consortium, HSUS coordinates a national symposium on modernizing the testing of chemicals in laboratories and reducing the role of animal testing.
  • HSUS town hall in Lincoln, NE opens meaningful discussion of agricultural issues with Nebraska farmers.
  • Wheaton, IL adopts non-lethal coyote deterrents instead of trapping and killing.
  • HSUS investigation of Bushway Packing leads to conviction on charges of animal cruelty.
  • 550 prairie dogs resettled, rescued from poisoning in Thunder Basin, WY.
  • 14 turkeys find sanctuary at HSUS’ Black Beauty Ranch in TX.
  • BermansVerminPhotographer Robbie Bellon photographs 25 adopted and rescued dogs of 25 celebrities to benefit the HSUS’ Stop Puppy Mills Campaign.
  • St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, WI switches to cage-free eggs.
  • HSUS and the Kislak Family Fund present a $25,000 grant to the Florida College of Veterinary Medicine for a program to benefit injured and ill shelter animals.
  • HSUS and Ellen Degeneres celebrate and raise awareness of shelters with the annual Shelter Appreciation Week, held the first week of each November.
  • HSUS’ Cape Wildlife Center expands with the addition of a new animal hospital for wildlife rehabilitation.
  • Prop 109, an anti-animal, anti-voter initiative, is defeated in Arizona.
  • Fred Meyer Jewelers creates the Pawsitively Yours line of jewelry to benefit the HSUS’ Stop Puppy Mills Campaign.
  • HSUS grants help Second Chance Animal Shelter of Brookfield, MA finish renovations after thieves steal building materials.
  • HSUS’ Cape Wildlife Center releases a harrier back into the wild after 8 weeks of care and rehabilitation.
  • The Coats for Cubs program repurposes old fur coats to aid and comfort wildlife.
  • Wal-Mart’s private label eggs are now cage-free.
  • HSUS helps persuade Sara Lee to switch to cage-free eggs.
  • Orphaned raccoons raised and rehabilitated by HSUS’ Cape Wildlife Center are released into the wild.
  • Medford, OR bakery, Harry & David, joins the growing cage-free movement.
  • Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust establishes the Greenspring Wildlife Sanctuary, a permanent,  protected, 154-acre wildlife habitat in Ashland, OR.
  • Minnesota cat killer’s felony conviction on animal cruelty is upheld in State of Minnesota v. Ajalon Thomas Corcoran.
  • Virgin America airlines switch to cage-free eggs.
  • HSUS exposes the worst puppy mills in the “Missouri Dirty Dozen” report.
  • HSUS teams up with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, donating forensic investigation equipment to crack down on poaching.
  • Valley Hospital of Ridgewood, NJ joins the national cage-free egg movement.
  • Union Hospital of Cecil County, MD joins the national cage-free egg movement.
  • St. Paul’s School of Concord, NH joins the national cage-free egg movement.
  • Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust establishes a 30-acre permanent wildlife habitat, the Ogden Wildlife Sanctuary, in Leon County, TX.
  • Pennsylvania joins the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, a nationwide law enforcement network of 36 states to prevent criminal poachers from hunting in other states.
  • Pennsylvania signs HSUS-supported HB1859 into law, introducing felony penalties for poachers who are repeat offenders.
  • HSUS transports 10 pit bulls rescued from Ohio fighting rings to the Washington Animal Rescue League.
  • Barilla becomes the first pasta manufacturer to join the cage-free egg movement, switching 45% of its supply to cage-free in 2011.
  • HSUS investigates and exposes bear baiting in South Carolina, the only state to tolerate this cruelty.
  • Thanks to the efforts of HSUS, Animal Protection of New Mexico, Jane Goodall, Gov. Bill Richardson, and more, 186 chimpanzees were saved from further invasive medical testing in New Mexico.
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission votes unanimously to ban fox penning.
  • HSUS rescued more than 90 dogs from a Montana hoarder.
  • HSUS assisted in the rescue of 118 dogs from a breeder in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
  • On behalf of local residents, HSUS took legal action against the Olivera Egg Ranch for noxious pollution emanating from that factory farm.
  • HSUS and Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue took custody of 17 horses formerly destined for slaughter.
  • HSVMA launched a petition urging Congress to phase out the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
  • Loyola Marymount University switched all eggs on campus to cage-free eggs
  • 36 Pet Food Express stores took the “Puppy Friendly Pet Store” pledge.
  • HSUS rescues 170 cats rescued from hoarders in Powell, WY; no reimbursement is requested for the capture, processing, treatment, and transport of the cats.

And that’s just a drop in the bucket.

Don’t fall for misinformation from the ignorant and the cruel.  

Get the facts from a reputable source.

cheering_minions

 

A Tale Of Two Wildies

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Family Picnic,  by Melody Perez

Family Picnic, by Melody Perez – http://www.runninghorses.org

 

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

These famous lines, which open “A Tale of Two Cities,” hint at the novel’s central tension between love and hatred. Indeed, the subject of opposite “pairs” is one of the major themes of Charles Dickens’ novel.

I’m reminded of both the similarities and differences between the wild horses of Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia and those of western Canada. How unequally treated they are in the eyes of the government!  On the one hand, the Sable Island horses are romanticized as being the descendants of shipwrecked horses, while the wild horses residing in Alberta and British Columbia however, not treated with such sentimentality. They are considered to be feral, inbred, and worthless, while spreading parasites and disease to other ungulates in the area. Both groups of present-day horses, however, are descendants of animals brought to these areas in the 1700s. When horses galloped across what would become the US border onto Alberta’s prairies, it was a bit of an overdue homecoming, having been perhaps 10,000 years since the province’s grasslands shuddered under equine hooves. Despite geography, all these horses share a common ancestry, as fossils indicate that North America is the original home of the horse where it first appeared millions of years ago. Yet both groups of horses are viewed in decidedly different fashions, primarily because up to this point, unlike Alberta, there have been no resources of interest that can be easily extracted from Sable Island.

Sable Island Horses tonemappedThe 42 km long, 1 km wide crescent-shaped island, really a large sandbar, is a remnant of the Wisconsin glacial deposit made between 10,000 and 45,000 years ago. The present population of 350-400 horses are the ancestors of horses used in a government operation established to assist ship-wrecked seafarers. The island, located about 290 km off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, became Canada’s 43rd National Park in June 2013 – the first national park in the middle of a petroleum field. Perhaps because of this, the Bill to designate Sable Island a national park reserve was very nearly derailed in the House of Commons.

The possible pedigrees of these horses, who generally fall between 13 – 15 hh and range in colour from chestnuts to bays and blacks, with some horses bearing light coloured manes and tales, is unknown, but could consist of a number of breeds popular at the time, including ponies and drafts. Unlike the Alberta and BC wildies who are exposed to interference by people – fertility control, culling, round-ups, etc. the Sable Island horses are among the few wild horse populations that are entirely unmanaged.

It’s important to note that the Sable Island horses themselves are not directly protected, but rather the island itself is, historically under the “Canada Shipping Act,” not surprisingly, since the island is a hazard to marine vessels and the area nearby is a graveyard to about 350 ships and thousands of sailors. This protection is tenuous and exists only as long as the Canadian Coast Guard operates a station there. Since 1801, when the life-saving stations were established, there has been a continuous government presence on the island. In 2008, the Nova Scotia government designated the horses one of the official provincial symbols and they are also the official horse of Nova Scotia. The horses have the same status as other wildlife on the island, such as grey seals, roseate terns and the Ipswich savannah sparrow – undisturbed except where research permits are provided by Parks Canada. Biological samples are only taken from animals that have died of natural causes. Based on meticulous records of which horses have gone missing and how many carcasses have been found, it’s estimated that remains have been found for the majority of the horses that have been on the island for about the past 30 years.

Up to this point there have been no resources of interest to extract from the island itself, although that could change in the future. Because of the reserve status, there is a legal ban on surface drilling on the island, out to one nautical mile. horses on the dunes tonemappedThe designation as a national park reserve still allows for horizontal drilling underneath the island and low-level seismic testing on top of the island. The Sable Offshore Energy Project produces between 400 and 500 million cubic feet (14,000,000 m3) of natural gas and 20,000 barrels (3,200 m3) of natural gas liquids every day. But the government estimates there is $2.4 billion worth of natural gas and oil directly underneath Sable Island. However, it is too expensive to extract those resources with current technology. ExxonMobil, Shell Canada, Imperial Oil and other consortium partners have the exploration rights in the area. Environmental groups say the Bill designating the island as protected is not perfect because it allows for potential future development in and around the island.

In stark contrast to the status of the Sable Island horses, Alberta’s government announced in January it would give out licences to capture 200 of the free-roaming wild horses. There are no restrictions on what may be done with them either – while some could be domesticated, trained and sold to private homes, any others, including pregnant mares, older horses, and infirm horses, can be sold to slaughter.

According to the Ministry of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, there are too many horses in the area, and they are competing for resources with cattle (a non-native species) and wildlife. These wild horses inhabit crown land territory of 23,000 km2. That is one horse for every 23 km2. This is very low density. The committee that made this decision included groups with a conflict of interest such as cattle ranchers (one of whom was issued a permit to capture horses), OHV (off-highway vehicle users) and the forestry industry. In addition to pressure by industry, there is also an historical sense of entitlement by certain groups, including hunters, trappers, rodeo suppliers, and outfitters. These groups all claim that roughly 900 or fewer horses have somehow decreased the population of deer and elk. All claim these “feral” horses threaten their use/exploitation of the land and its resources. The Conservative government of Alberta, formerly under Alison Redford, has close ties to the most powerful stake holders, oil and gas, the beef industry and forestry.

Stake holder list:

  • Alberta Equestrian Foundation & Alberta Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada
  • Alberta Farm Animal Care Association
  • Alberta Fish and Game Association
  • Alberta Professional Outfitters Society
  • Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA has withdrawn from the committee, even though they state that they did not know about it at the beginning, they also had not attended any of the previous meetings)
  • Alberta Veterinary Medical Association
  • Alberta Wilderness Association
  • Capture License Holder
  • Livestock Identification Services Ltd.
  • Rangeland Expert at the University of Alberta
  • RCMP Livestock Investigator
  • Rocky Mountain Forest Range Association
  • Spray Lake Sawmills
  • Sundre Forest Products
  • Wild Horses of Alberta Society
Alberta Wildies tonemapped

Photography by Ken Mcleod

A scientifically valid headcount of the horses has not been done since March 2013, before the flooding last June, and before the heavy snowfall this winter, both of which are believed by horse advocacy groups in the area to have taken a toll on the herd’s numbers. Despite not possessing an accurate count of the horses, the PC government insisted on moving ahead with the cull without a clear objective or enough scientific data to support it. Therefore, the government has operated blindly using misinformation to justify their actions. Various talking heads in government capacities also bizarrely claim that the wild horses have no known predators. There is absolutely no science behind any of their claims of rangeland degradation by the horses. It is a fact that domestic livestock grazing reduces wildlife populations by competing for food, water, and space, and degrading habitat. Habitat degradation caused by grazing also exposes prey species to increased predation (due to lost vegetative cover for concealment and escape), resulting in further declines in those populations. The vast majority of forage and water resources in the West are devoted to domestic livestock grazing.

Ultimately, only 15 horses were captured, despite the covert behaviour of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) leading up to the 2014 capture season. By no means did ESRD demonstrate any commitment to the recommendations of a clear and transparent, honest communication amongst all stakeholders, which was tabled at the Feral Horse Advisory Committee. In fact, ESRD repeatedly denied capture permits were issued when numerous inquiries were put to them in the weeks preceding the announcement. Jason Bradley (one of two individuals to whom the original permit for 200 horses was ultimately issued – Brynn Thiessen is the second.  Two other former permit owners declined to participate this year), is on the Steering Committee and was therefore provided with advance information about the issuance of his capture permit so that he could prepare his site in advance, while withholding that information from other members of the Steering Committee and members of the general public. This is a clear conflict-of-interest. Of these captured horses, three mares, possibly heavily in foal, were removed, sold to a third party and apparently slaughtered within a scant few days, despite Alberta Horse Industry (and therefore Canadian Food Inspection Agency) regulations that state that “at least six continuous months of documented acceptable history is required for an equine presented for processing in an establishment inspected by CFIA.”

So,  by an accident of geography, the Sable Island horses are left alone to enjoy their days free from human interference. It’s not that the government values the horses themselves, but unlike the Alberta wildies, they have no reason at this time

Ken McLeod Horses tonemapped

Photography by Ken Mcleod

to disturb them. Now the future of Sable Island and the Station is in question, and the Canadian government is considering various options – one of which is to close the Station, thus ending 200 years of full-time human presence and stewardship. This option, combined with the encroachment of companies who are interested in oil and natural gas exploration would put not only the horses, but all the island’s flora and fauna at serious risk.

You can be sure if gas or oil could be easily extracted from Sable Island,  or the grass growing on the island was found to be of benefit to cattle grazing, then all of a sudden there would be too many horses on the island and a “management” plan would have to be implemented.

Please register your complaints about the handling of the Alberta free-roaming horses with the following individuals/agencies:
Livingston, Don

Land Management / Planning Forester
Land and Range Management
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
2nd fl Provincial Building
4919 – 51 Street
Rocky Mountain House, AB
T4T 1B3
Phone: 403 845-8236
Fax: 403 845-4750
E-mail: don.livingston@gov.ab.ca

Kesseler, Rob

Unit Lead, Integrated Operations
Rangeland Integration Section
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
4th fl Great West Life Building
9920 – 108 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2M4
Phone: 780 422-4568
Fax: 780 422-0454
E-mail: rob.kesseler@gov.ab.ca

Newsham, Helen

Section Head
Rangeland Integration Section
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
4th fl Great West Life Building
9920 – 108 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2M4
Phone: 780 427-4764
Fax: 780 422-0454
E-mail: helen.newsham@gov.ab.ca

Campbell, Robin, Honourable

Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource
Development, Government House Leader
Members of Executive Council
Executive Branch
323 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-2391
Fax: 780 422-6259

Hancock, Dave,  Honourable

Premier
Office of the Premier
Executive Branch
307 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-2251
Fax: 780 427-1349
E-mail: premier@gov.ab.ca

Booth, Nikki

Issues Manager
Communications
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
12th fl Petroleum Plaza ST
9915 – 108 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2G8
Phone: 780 427-6233
Fax: 780 422-6339
E-mail: nikki.booth@gov.ab.ca

Sancartier, Carrie

Public Affairs Officer
Communications
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
12th fl Petroleum Plaza ST
9915 – 108 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2G8
Phone: 780 644-8372
Fax: 780 422-6339
E-mail: carrie.sancartier@gov.ab.ca

 

Legends of the Dance by Melody Perez

Legends of the Dance by Melody Perez – http://www.runninghorses.org

 

 

 

 

Meet Troy Mader – The New “Slaughterhouse Sue”

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Shot by Knight rifle

From the Knight Muzzleloading Rifle Facebook album

Written By:  Heather Clemenceau

To say that Wyoming is a conservative state probably doesn’t even begin to capture it. Republicans hold nearly every elected office, and gun ownership and hunting are as much a part of a their cherished way of life as are ranching and rodeo. Just like Sue Wallis, who was often touted as a horse industry expert despite not owning any horses, her replacement for House District 52 in Wyoming seems to have an embellished C.V. as well. Troy Mader is occasionally put forth as a “scientist” who is an expert on wolves and other species of animals, not to mention AIDS, while he appears to have completed only 1 1/2 years of university in an unknown field of study.

In her support for same-sex civil unions,  medical marijuana,  and abortion,  some of Wallis’ measures seemed at home in liberal California or even Canada,  but when it came to horse slaughter she was every bit the radical zealot. While Wallis also focused on rather obscure and sometimes irrational food laws, Mader epitomizes extremist and intolerant rhetoric – he runs a gun empire and chooses to spend his time targeting the EPA whilst promoting a “biblical” and very anthropocentric stance towards animals.  And he’s on record for being anti-choice and a supporter for horse slaughter too. “I stood with her wholeheartedly on that,” Mader said.

So Wyoming has basically substituted a cowboy poetess who wanted to enrich her pocketbook with horse slaughter, with a bible-thumping opportunist who has preached some dangerous rhetoric, coupled with a history of lobbying to prevent laws that might curtail the profits for his gun company. Seems like Wyoming politics have their own brand of influence peddling.

Although Mader’s Linkedin profile is here,  and somewhat at odds with his Zoominfo profile.  He went to college for a year Troy Mader Zoom Infoand a half at Grand Canyon University, then went on to found the Common Man Institute in Gillette Wyoming.  The Common Man is touted as a private research group that apparently publishes no research,  yet they are a right-wing group of outfitters, timber companies, livestock producers and off-road-vehicle owners who have more than a passing resemblance to a Rick Berman enterprise.   Two issues do appear to have been generated out of this nebulous group – The theme that wolves are demonic and have no place in the United States, and that AIDS is a disease imposed on those who have “filthy sex.”  They don’t appear to have published anything after this crackpot rhetoric from the 80s either.

In fact, Mader appears to be the author of numerous out-of-print books(lets) that reflect his anti-science view towards wolves, as well as a very homophobic collection of quotes from various other individuals on AIDS. The journalist site WyPols have dredged up a dog-eared copy of his mess of a book The Death Sentence of AIDS.”and are publishing chapters of his book to let their readers make up their own minds as to how homophobic this untethered bulldog really is. The site plans to post chapters of Mader’s book over the next few days and weeks,  so if you have a morbid curiosity,  please check it out on their site.  In case you’re wondering what his qualifications are in order that he write on the subject of AIDS, well, it appears that he has none other than a rabid dislike of gay men.

“Gays get AIDS because they are profoundly promiscuous, highly mobile, and practice filthy sex.”

The Death Sentence of AIDS

Wholly deserving of a book-burning party.  Out-of-Print. Permanently

I find it difficult to imagine why anyone in Wyoming would be opposed to anti-discrimination laws in a state that, at least to gay rights activists, will long be remembered as the place where Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was killed in a 1998 attack that was motivated in part by his sexual orientation. If only to somewhat make up for the torture that was inflicted upon Matt Shepard there should be not a politician in Wyoming opposed to equal rights for all its citizens.

After his erstwhile stint as a book author, Mader went on to become a former precinct committeeman in the local Republican party. He is also a rancher, former sheriff’s deputy, musician,  and trapper (IMO the most cruel way possible to kill an animal). At some point during this era he went on to become director of deceptively named Abundant Wildlife Society and founder of the Knight Muzzleloading Rifle Company.  Check out the Facebook page for Knight Rifles, if you’re keen on seeing a bunch of 7 year-olds with rifles displaying the small, defenceless animals they have shot.

The Abundant Wildlife Society is an organization that has “greenwashed” itself to appear to be a conservation group, and like the Canadian Wildlife Federation, it doesn’t Troy Maderactually care about wildlife except to preserve them for hunting activities.  It’s a special interest group that doesn’t benefit anyone except hunters.  At its core it is a property-rights group that has established a web presence to oppose animal welfare groups, scientific organizations, and oppose the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which Mader claims has become a classic example of the law of unintended consequences.  Sue Wallis liked to preach about the “unintended consequences” of the cessation of horse slaughter in the US too.  As director, Mader methodically faulted wolf reintroduction at every opportunity. He claimed that wolf restoration efforts were motivated mainly by romantics who dreamt of hearing wolves howl in the night.

His words appealed to hobby ranchers who saw wolves as more predators for their livestock. During a visit to Oklahoma City for a Safari Club function, he made it plain that anyone who hunts should share his concern. He wants to hunt in Yellowstone, where hunting is not permitted.  Pity the poor animals who don’t know they’ve left the boundaries of Yellowstone, where it’s open season on them in the surrounding national forests of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

“…..the Endangered Species Act has become a most effective tool in the hands of the preservationist and those intent on destroying the livelihoods of millions of Americans.”

wound

“The benefit of multiple wound channels….” Benefit for whom?  Surely not the animal on the receiving end of this onslaught.

While many farmers and ranchers justifiably fear them, wolves are actually the engines of evolution, helping trim the gene pool in prey species, including deer and elk, which sport hunting does not do.

The now defunct National Center for Public Policy Research claims that Troy Mader is an “scientist and  expert” in conservation and endangered species, the Endangered Species Act, wolf recovery, and the “philosophical aspects of conservation versus environmentalism,”  which again seems odd to me since there is no substantiated evidence of him having any sort of qualifications that would preclude such a title.

Don’t bother emailing them, their email is as non-existent as Mader’s scientific credentials.

“Where you have a healthy wolf population you have no room for hunting.”

Mader also appears in the documentary film “Crying Wolf,” in which we see the Christian concept of taking dominion over animals (Genesis 1:28) using the earth and its resources for the needs of man and to the glory of God.  Anthropocentrism such as hunters and some others espouse, has been posited by many environmentalists as the underlying reason why humanity dominates and sees the need to “develop” most of the Earth.  Anthropocentrism is a root cause of the ecological crisis, human overpopulation, and the extinctions of many non-human species.

“If you study one thing in the bible, man has dominion……”

Clearly, his motivation in all these schemes is to lobby to protect hunting, while disavowing equality for other groups. Mader does not care about animals, only that any restrictions on hunting will hurt his company’s profits. So Wyoming now finds itself with another politician who appears to have no problem advancing laws that would line their own pocket – this time at the expense of a different species of animal.  He probably cares little about women’s reproductive rights either, which is why he proudly asserts that this is another topic on which he disagrees with his predecessor.

The “Deer” Departed Herd Of the Royal Botanical Gardens

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deer with tree antlersArtwork and Writing by:  Heather Clemenceau

Culling wildlife has a bad name right now.  The unpopular British badger cull, taking place over six weeks and targeted to kill 70% of badgers, divided Britain. While the culling of badgers,  done to try to prevent the spread of tuberculosis to cattle,  was condemned by conservationists, the Board of Directors at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington Ontario made a unanimous decision to dispatch a number of native white tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in December 2013. While some groups are cheering this cull of deer populations on the RBG grounds, to philosophers of animal rights, the culling is an Orwellian atrocity – “speciesism” in action.  And this is conservation in favour of – lilacs.  The deer are eating some of the prized lilac collections on the sprawling, 2,700-acre RBG, which draws about 200,000 paid admissions a year. Its yearly revenue is just under $12 million.

The decision to kill the deer was made unanimously by the board of directors, without apparent consideration given to humane means to deter deer from the plants.  Ironically, their Facebook photo album hosts several pictures of deer and fawns on the RBG property.  Even more ironically, the RBG acquired some reindeer to give the appearance of Santa’s reindeer for their “Breakfast with Santa” event during December’s “Winterfest,” while across the way and out of site they were having deer shot with crossbows. Ample photographic evidence also exists to show that signage posted on the property prohibits hunting – or “harvest,” a euphemism that predominates in all their communications.  All this adds up to some pretty dodgy ethical dilemmas for the RBG.

People living adjacent to the property can walk out their front door and see a good size deer grazing on the front lawn or moving across the driveway.  Welcomed and enjoyed by many in the community, the deer are now widely perceived as threatening and unwelcome. Their behaviour is foreign, their ways uncivilized. They eat too many of the wrong plants.  The Walt Disney frame has faded and given way to favouritism of decorative plants over living animals.   As they became more comfortable grazing on the delectable herbaceous flowering plants at the RBG, the RBG became a lot less comfortable with them. It’s no wonder that gardeners in charge don’t know what to do. They seem to think that killing deer is the same thing as weeding a garden.

In a press release earlier this week the RBG stated that it is “one of Canada’s most important botanical gardens, distinguished by a first class horticultural collection.” This distinction has become threatened by what the RBG says is an out of balance population of deer in the park.

RBG Letter copy

That being said, this cull is a deadly farce decided by people with no knowledge of deer or wildlife and no interest in such. There is some fencing protecting the lilacs but it appears that they also do not want to spend money to expand and properly maintain a fence and so think arbitrarily killing local deer will solve the problem.

The deer population in the area IS thriving, as the “natural” mechanisms of population control in predator-prey relationships are admittedly not available in this area. The reintroduction of large predators, such as wolves or mountain lions, is not a viable option here, for reasons having to do with the human population  nearby. Coyotes exist, but while they are adept at picking off small pet dogs and cats, they are useless when it comes to deer.

But deer population management by human intervention is precisely what puts the us on the ethical hook. Some people oppose the deer hunt on Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) land near Hamilton Ontario because they herne and deer scenedon’t like hunting period. Some people oppose the deer hunt on RBG land because they think it is dangerous to hunt so close to a populated area. Others don’t mind the deer hunt to cull deer but think the hunt should be open to non-natives and not just the Haudenosaunee.  It seems possible that other non-native hunters will soon express an interest in hunting on RBG lands.

Those of us who focus on the individual life and interests of deer, and who have objections to killing them for frivolous reasons, now come to the fore and raise genuinely difficult questions about the ethical justification of the hunt. There is, or ought to be, an ethical prohibition against causing undue pain and suffering for any animal without sufficiently strong reasons to do so. There are humane and non-lethal methods of deer population control; those should surely be attempted. Despite what the RBG believes about an overpopulation of deer, the photos in this blog show that the deer are in good condition and are not starving, which would be definitive proof of overpopulation.  It is alleged that there are 260-300 deer within 800 hectares or 3 deer per hectare.

Some of us question the moral right of human beings to decide what other species are permitted to inhabit a given area. First deer, then what is the next animal to be targeted –   groundhogs, gophers, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, or rabbits? Rabbits also eat flowers and plants that we value, such as pansies, petunias, day lilies and……lilacs.

The RBG people believe that they can “alter the behaviour” of the deer that remain so that they return to natural foods and leave collections material alone.”  To the deer,  lilacs ARE natural food! They cannot associate the hunting of their members with eating lilacs or ‘tresspassing” on 2,700 acres of RBG property. They can’t distinguish between “safe” and “unsafe” plants, and they typically do not migrate from one area to another.   In fact, many of the deer were known to residents and considered semi-tame.

Fawns in Meadow2Animals such as deer can only rely on mechanisms developed over time through evolution, which assists prey animals in their constant struggle against predators. As a result of the improved vigilance effect, prey animals are able to detect predators over time via evolution of morphological strategies, but they cannot spontaneously “learn” to stay away from the RBG plants. Unless you eradicate every living thing from a wide area when you disturb it, species will colonize that disturbed area as fast as possible. They will take advantage of opportunities the other colonizing species provide in relationships parasitic and commensal  and endosymbiotic, fill every emerging niche in the developing biotic landscape of the disturbed area.  All complex systems – an ecosystem is a complex system – have a tendency to seek stable states. What is a “stable state?” It’s a set of conditions that lasts for a relatively long time – it is a population that is not in a state of disequillibrium such as that caused by hunting.

Six Nations Complexities

The cull really had nothing to do with a traditional hunt by the Haudenosaunee. It was not initiated by the Haudenosaunee but by the RBG, and only out of concern for lilacs, not for providing sustenance to others.  However, criticism of the hunt and bow hunting specifically has led to some cries of racism and even favouritism.  Favouritism because only natives were invited to participate in a hunt that some felt should have been open to others, and racism because hunting critics have inevitably drawn in Six Nations people as part of the criticism of the hunt.

I have to admit, one of my first thoughts was that the RBG asked the Haudenosaunee  to hunt exclusively, not only because of treaty issues,  but because it would make the board of directors “bullet proof” to criticism. In fact, all ideas and traditions must be open to criticism regardless of origin and without charges of racism in order that we not shield intrinsically harmful ideas from criticism. Just as it is not wrong to criticique Chinese consumption of elephant tusk or rhino horn (albeit these are endangered animals), neither should criticism of the eating of bear paw or shark fin soup subject us to cries of “racism.”  It is not wrong to criticize hunting by any person or group.  And, unlike a person’s racial or cultural characteristics or gender, beliefs can be argued for, tested, criticized, and changed.

For me, the issue is not whether the Haudenosaunee hunters say the 1701 Albany (Nanfan) Treaty gives them the right to hunt on that land forever.  In 1701, 20 chiefs from the Five (later Six) Nations Haudenosaunee wildenlanderConfederacy surrendered their beaver hunting grounds, including land in what is now the U.S.A. and land in what is now southwestern Ontario (including RBG land), to the British Crown.  Many of the back and forth arguments about the hunt have degenerated into discussion of whether the Treaty is even valid.  Some Six Nations people have even said that the Six Nations Haudenosaunee never surrendered land in southern Ontario.  Such a defense is rather irrelevant when it comes down to excusing cruel practices to animals – and bow hunting is cruel. On rare occasions, the claim of the right to bow hunt has come across, to me, as a sort of ethnic narcissism – whereby some individuals in the discussion appear to hold the opinion that they possess exclusive identities that are superior to other cultures and should therefore be immune to criticism.

Indigenous right or not, no one will succeed in convincing me that bow hunting done to protect lilacs is an appropriate expression of values. I don’t believe that any hunters have come forth and shown definitively that their survival depended on this hunt, which of course was designed (badly) to defend a flowering plant.

Bow Hunting – Next to Trapping,  the Most Inhumane Way to Kill a Wild Animal

An invention of the Stone Age, still alive in the 21st century, bow hunting is clearly a very cruel way to torture and kill animals without regard for their pain and suffering. Bow hunting is, next to trapping, the least humane way of killing animals. Before you support a “wildlife” or “conservation” group, ask about its position on bow hunting. Most conservation organizations endorse hunting at some level, or at least do not oppose it.

I’m no fan of hunting, although I can sometimes accept arguments in favour of it if it truly is for subsistence purposes and if it is accurate – preferably accomplished by a marksman with a gun.  But there is really no sure way to kill an animal instantly with a bow. Unlike bullets, arrows loop while in transit. Whereas a gun hunter takes dead aim at an animal, an archer must estimate the distance from the target and adjust the shot to compensate for the trajectory of the arrow. Animals commonly jump on hearing the release of the arrow—they reflexively move some distance before the arrow reaches them from wherever they were at the time of the shot. According to experts, animals can completely evade an arrow at a distance of 15 to less than 20 yards, which means they can also partially evade the arrow and become wounded.

fawn centaur2The inaccuracy inherent in bow hunting is demonstrated by professional archers. Olympic class-archers hit the “bulls eye,” – the centre of the target – even under ideal conditions when the target is not moving and unobstructed – only part of the time.  Therefore, I maintain that bow hunters are quite aware that their hunting will virtually always cause slow death as they wait the recommended time – up to 12 hours, for the animal to die.  Blood trails on the site provide definitive proof that bow hunted animals do not drop where they stand.  Deliberately causing pain and suffering to innocent animals is incomprehensible, yet, bow hunters frequently find enjoyment in these cruel acts. I reject the “culture” argument put forth repeatedly during conversations about the hunt.

A report summarizing 24 studies of bow hunting demonstrated that there is little chance that deer die instantly when struck, but more typically bow hunters have an average 54% wounding and crippling rate. For every deer killed and dragged out of the woods, another one is wounded and runs off only to die hours, days or even weeks later, all the while in pain, defenseless against further attacks by natural predators.  Therefore, if only 7 deer were killed (recovered) as the RBG has stated, we can perhaps conclude that as many as half dozen additional deer were injured and unrecovered, to die later somewhere on the grounds, perhaps now attracting coyotes.  I do hope that the people living in the Short Hills community near the RBG are keeping their cats and dogs indoors during a period of increased scavenging…….

A 1988 report to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks indicated that of 2,370 bow hunters who shot an elk with an arrow, only 49% actually retrieved the animals hit –1,161 elk, whose last hours or days of their lives were probably spent in agony before succumbing to a painful and prolonged death, likely from peritonitis or infection within a week or two later.

Another population study found that of 22 deer shot by archers (using traditional archery only – no cross bows) 11 were recovered by the hunters, resulting in a 50% wounding rate (deer shot but not recovered)

The rule of thumb for bow hunters has long been that we should wait 30 to 45 minutes on heart and lung hits, an hour or more on a suspected liver hit, eight to 12 hours on paunch hits, and that we should follow up immediately on hindquarter and other muscle hits, “to keep the wound open and bleeding. ”  ~ Glenn Helgeland – Fins and Feathers Winter 1987

There is clearly some psychological disconnect in those who display so much aggression and violence against animals, and who feel the need to kill innocent and defenseless animals (and very inaccurately I might add) – over an issue with lilacs of all things.

Population Dynamics of Deer (or why hunting won’t accomplish the desired outcome)

The board of directors at the Royal Botanical Gardens claim that the deer population in that area is too high and that is why they are eating the lilacs. People who run Short Hills Provincial Park have said that the deer dryad and fawnpopulation was in the range of 300 deer but should be in the range of about 50.  According to whom?  The deer that have been photographed appear very healthy and seem to be flourishing.  Overpopulation is a biological implausibility, since too many deer will lead to starvation and population die off.  I don’t believe anyone from the RBG or any other group has provided any sort of photographic evidence to counter the photographs of  healthy deer that the protesters have provided.

Basic biology dictates that animal populations do not just grow exponentially out of control. Population ecology and Darwinian theory tell us that animals will always produce more offspring than will naturally survive.  Surplus offspring are produced due to limiting factors such as the availability of food and space will impact survivability as will the existence of disease and predators. Exponential growth of a wildlife population is virtually impossible because an unlimited supply of food and the complete absence of biological enemies occurs very rarely in nature.  Once a herd has reached its “carrying capacity,” there may be some animals that cannot be sustained, and the result is zero population growth.

Deer, like many animals, have the ability to adjust their reproductive activities to be in harmony with their environment. The compensatory rebound effect is the principle result of culls that don’t work and never will.  For this reason, hunts are a great tool for the bow hunters because they ensure that, in subsequent years, there will be even more deer to hunt.  The result is rather like the hydra effect, which sometimes occurs when cutting off the head of a mythological creature or banning an internet troll – dozens more heads, trolls and sockpuppets subsequently appear.

The increased likelihood of multiple births after a hunt has also been confirmed, partially because hunting simply decreases the competition for food among the animals that survive a hunt. A study conducted by the Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida sampled deer from five separate sites: three hunted and two non-hunted. The study found that the incidence of twins being born to a pregnant doe was higher on hunted land than on non-hunted land. The study found “[m]ean number of fetuses per pregnant doe was greater on hunted…than on nonhunted sites…Incidence of twinning was 38% on hunted sites and 14% on nonhunted sites. No twinning was observed among pregnant fawns or yearlings from non-hunted areas, whereas…18% of the pregnant yearlings and…33% of the pregnant fawns from hunted areas carried twins.” (“Reproductive Dynamics Among Disjunct White-tailed Deer Herds in Florida” Journal of Wildlife Management (1985)).All of this helps explain why, even after decades of hunting, deer numbers usually remain flat or actually increase.  Deer are highly prolific, and when their numbers are reduced after hunts, the remaining female deer will often have given birth to multiple fawns who will now have higher survival rates and earlier onset of sexual maturity. The end result is a quick “bounce-back” in numbers.  The well-fed doe may also reproduce at a younger age (and thus produce more fawns during her lifetime), and the incidence of birthing twins or triplets increases. And so the lilacs will not be saved and the blackened image of the RBG and its inhumane bow hunt will continue.

Deer islandsBut as hunters continue to reduce populations, making more food and cover available to the surviving animals, nature cannot run its course and the potential for overpopulation arises. In a recent study, “Harvesting Can Increase Severity of Wildlife Disease Epidemics”, the authors use mathematical population modeling to show that hunting causes increases not only in disease prevalence but also in total host population size due in part to increased birth rates. They conclude that “...the demographic plasticity of [certain] animal populations confers them with a remarkable capacity to recover from control, and such a response to culling can actually increase the supply of susceptibles to …disease.” (Marc Choisy and Pejman Rohani, Institute of Ecology, and Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Disease, University of Georgia, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, (2006)).

The reproductive benefits to white-tailed deer of greater nutrition have been well documented. In an early study, half the yearlings (young deer) studied were deprived of an adequate food supply while the other half was well fed. The poorly fed yearlings did not breed at all undoubtedly, because inadequate nutrition prevented their sexual maturity.  However all the well fed yearlings bred. The study found that the well fed yearlings were “over 2.5 times as productive as poorly fed yearlings.” In addition, the 25 prime-age, well fed does studied produced 45 fawns while the 22 prime-age under fed does, produced only 30 fawns making the well fed does about 32% more productive than the under nourished ones. (“Reproductive Patterns of White-tailed Deer Related to Nutritional Plane” by Louis Verme, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Journal of Wildlife Management (1969)).

The abstract for another study which is focused on crop pests but is also applicable to deer begins “There are potentially many situations in which creatures will be subject to infrequent but regular culling. In terms of controlling crop pests, some farmers may only be able to afford to apply pesticides occasionally. Alternatively, pesticides may be applied only occasionally to limit their unwelcome side effects, which include pesticide resistance, chemical poisoning of agricultural workers, and environmental degradation. In terms of conservation, some species (such as the red deer in the UK) may be culled occasionally to maintain balances within their ecosystem. However, in this paper we discover, as the culmination of an exploration of adult-stage culling of a creature with juvenile and adult life stages, that, in certain circumstances, regular but infrequent culling will, perversely, increase the average population of the creature.”  Note that as with the inevitabe population decrease, the downside (and there always is one) in this study was increased pesticide resistance and the unintended consequences of chemical poisoning for workers.

Deer have significant impacts on woody and herbaceous plants. So,  the mere existence of a garden setting is irresistible to them,  and regardless of the number of deer present,  they will always be attracted to areas where buck eye viewherbaceous plants are in abundance.  Even if most of the population of deer were killed, the remaining deer will still be attracted to the same plants due to their preferential browsing habits, so the logic of the RBG again fails.

Now that we can see that hunts cannot work because they allow for the same and greater numbers of deer in the subsequent year, what will? Unfortunately for the RBG, all the humane methods of controlling deer are either costly or labour intensive or both.  The key to successfully living with wildlife is for the RBG and residents to understand that deer are here to stay. Once they overcome their initial resistance and take steps to protect valued plants, as they started to do in the past, “deer-proofing” will quickly become a normal part of life in deer country.  I live on the edge of an arboretum that supports a large number of rabbits. I’ve found rabbit nests in my backyard as well.  You’d suspect with an arboretum, the rabbits would stay there because there are so many food choices and the absence of people.  But again, with preferential browsing habits, the rabbits have an acquired taste for buds on ornamental shrubbery in the development where I live.  To that end I have installed a sprinkler with an attached motion sensor.  The downside (and there always is one) is that occasionally a neighbour walking a dog late at night gets a startling spritz of water. But perhaps unlike the RBG Board of Directors, the neighbour has learned from the somewhat negative experience and has modified his behaviour………

The Humane Society receives calls from people all around the US who are outraged by the prospect of deer kills in their communities. They suggest that communities should first do objective public surveys to define and assess the nature, scope, and location of the particular deer problem so solutions can be tailored to particular sites. Then a community should develop a comprehensive plan using applicable non-lethal methods, along with setting up a robust data collection and evaluation system to monitor if deer damage mitigation strategies are achieving set goals, and adapt the programs accordingly.

Serene Morning at Hikone CastleThe non-profit population management group White Buffalo have launched surgical sterilization programs in several US towns.   The project examines the effectiveness of humanely reducing the herds by sterilization. The process begins with shooting does with tranquilizer darts, which are equipped with a tracking device so the deer can be found after they are shot. Tranq’ed deer are then then taken to the city’s police headquarters, where a surgical table is set up and the ovaries removed in a procedure that takes less than 15 minutes. In two weeks, a team captured and sterilized 137 does, out of a total population of about 230 in just 1.84 square miles. This year, they found only 12 unsterilized does, Meanwhile, about 15 deer have died — from natural causes, car accidents or wandering into a hunting area — without being replaced. Within a few years there will be about 50% fewer deer without any hunting involved.

Animal activist and conservationist Anthony Marr offers a solution of his own, “the quantitative buck/doe separator.” The idea is simply that if the bucks and does cannot physically get together, they cannot mate. The objective is to control how many does in the local population that will not be impregnated. Once this number has been determined – by a biologist – the device would be constructed to actualize this number. The buck/doe separator is simple but requires fencing as a prerequisite. It is nothing but a small piece of land ideally half-woods/half-pasture contained by deer-fencing punctuated by baited inward one-way gates. These gates should be wide enough for a doe to go through, but not a buck with wide antlers. Thus, only females can enter and their number can be monitored. Once the desired number is reached, the one-way gates would be locked. The bucks would go looking for accessible does somewhere else. Plus, the does in the enclosure need not stay there forever; only during the rutting season.

There are also repellent sprays on the market for existing plants the deer might be nibbling on. Repellents work by reducing the attractiveness and palatability of treated plants to a level lower than that for other available Little Pond copyforage. Of course the downside is that they must be frequently applied, especially after rainfall.  This is unlikely to be a viable option that can be used on 2,700 acres, although it would be a definite possibility for hobby gardeners and homeowners.

I do wonder exactly how many other gardens the RBG contacted before arriving at the conclusion that lethal means were to be used as a “last resort.”  The Butchart Gardens store in Victoria, BC, offers a book on “Deer Proofing Gardens.”  The Wildlife Education Coalition, which works to resolve human-deer conflicts, also offers several solutions to deer-resistant gardens, including a list of deer resistant plants evaluated by Rutgers University.  I realize that a large commercial garden such as the RBG is not going to redesign itself to feature only deer-proof plants, but since they are looking to spend $20 million on a new rock garden, but why would they not consider many of the plants found to be deer-resistant?

Call to Action

The protest against the Royal Botanical Gardens is ongoing.  We need a concerted effort to document and give RBG photographs and the numerous alternatives to killing deer. The province and federal governments have already committed to $14 million in funding for their new rock garden, so a continually strong presence is required to discourage subsequent hunts. And if you think this is a lot of money for a rock garden, don’t vote for politicians who spend taxpayer money in this fashion.  Tell them why you won’t vote for them too.  And tell the RBG why you think this is an excessive request, especially in light of their behaviour towards deer. While I love gardens and have enjoyed the RBG in the past (prior to finding out they’re killing deer) It does seem like there are a lot of expensive non-necessary projects sucking up tax dollars while many streets in the area have potholes bigger than Volkswagens.

Flora and FaunaAsk who pays for liability insurance for the bow hunters.  The park was closed, but bow hunters are quite capable of injuring themselves – who is liable?  Inviting more hunting into the community results in increased exposure for the town to liability for hunting-related accidents that are due to town-sponsored deer culls that could exceed the town’s insurance limits. There are currently several lawsuits pending that relate to deer culls in the US. The town and individual homeowners should be made aware of the potential for liability when deer cullers are invited in.

The protest group encourages that communications be sent to the CEO,  Communications Manager,  Board of Directors of the RBG,  but also to many other people  including the Ministry of Natural Resources and  the media.  The hunt was seriously under-reported by the media, despite being contacted.  Perhaps RBG pays to advertise in the Spec and that’s why the issue went underreported.

There are several courses of action suggested.  Up until a few days ago, it was possible to review the RBG on Facebook.  So that avenue no longer exists after they saw their former 5 star rating plummet to 3.5 stars.  You can still leave polite comments explaining to the centre why you have evaluated them, and they will no doubt be removed.  So, we suggest the following options, including posting on various other social media platforms where the comments cannot be removed and will live forever on the internet:

In addition to blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, use Instagram and Tumblr to get the graphic message out.  Use the Twitter hashtags #RBGCanadaDeerKill and #deeroverlilacs.  Add pics to your reviews or statistics about bow hunting.

Mark Runciman is the CEO of the Royal Botanical Gardens.  You can reach him and the other BOD as follows:

http://www.rbg.ca/governanceatthegardens for Board of Directors

Mark Runciman, CEO
905-527-1158 Ext. 221
mailto:mrunciman@rbg.ca

Councillor Brian McHattie (who is on record committing the taxpayers to provide part of the $20 million funding requested for the RBG rock garden), responded to questions and complaints with the following:

“The deer issues being dealt with by RBG are part of a larger, regional issue. Wildlife population management is a provincial responsibility under the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Royal Botanical Gardens approached the Haudenosaunee Wildlife and Habitat Authority (HWHA), representatives of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, because of their relationship with Dundas Valley and Ontario Parks (Short Hills). The HWHA has experience instituting deer harvests that may help manage deer populations.

So, in summary not an easy solution but one that was taken for the benefit of the RBG plant collections. I know they are committed to doing a very limited hunt (ends shortly) this year and reviewing the experience thoroughly before taking any next steps.”

You may email him at mailto:brian.mchattie@hamilton.ca

Tys Theysmeyer, biologist and head of natural lands at RBG is on record that “cull will have to continue.” He needs to be formally challenged and asked to provide evidence of “research and efforts” truly made by RBG to effectively manage and protect any threat to plants, especially necessitating a deer cull.
You can email Tys at mailto:ttheysmeyer@rbg.ca

Thank you.

(Graphic) Aftermath of the Hunt

(Photos by various protesters and other conscientious objectors)

New Here?

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aboutOh hey there…..  Thanks for stopping by!  I’ve now been writing this blog for exactly 364 days!   While I’m not a professional journalist,  I hope I do a decent job of it,  at least better than these guys.

I started this blog not only as a creative outlet for myself, but because I was so inspired by the bloggers that I follow – a few philosophers,  as well as people opposed to horse slaughter and animal abuse.  I also wanted an outlet to document the protests we made against Toronto restaurants serving horsemeat,  and show that they were entirely peaceful.  My first blog post, on April 16, 2012, was the start of many posts about restaurants,  foodism,  eating animals,  pets,  and of course horses.  I post about 4-7 times a month,  and lately I’ve invited a few other bloggers and other people who write well and have a great message,  to guest post.  So I’m happy if I can publicize a great message or article, even though I didn’t write it myself.  These guest writers often end up having some of the most popular blog posts too!  I’m also a 3-D artist and like to use my own art and photography in the blog whenever possible.

mag-article-largeI try to stay away from blogging equine-related news only,  because there are so many other horse-related blogs that do a great job at that and have it totally covered.  I also want to write about local animal issues such as Toronto restaurants and livestock markets,  putting my own personal (and usually sarcastic) spin on it.  Hence the tagline “When Reason Goes Out The Window,  Ridicule Pulls Up A Chair.”  God only knows that in the world of horse slaughter,  there’s more than enough subject matter to tackle,  ranging from the inane to the irretrievably stupid.  That is not to say however, that I wouldn’t apply the appropriate gravitas or high seriousness to the subject matter that demands it.  I also write an annual summary of what happened in the world of horse welfare each year-end on Storify.  Please check out the summary for 2012 – Horse Welfare 2012 – The Year in Review

Roundups:

In these “round-ups,”  which bear no resemblance to  BLM roundups,  I highlight my own favourite posts as well as the most popular blog posts of the past year.  Check out  the top 20 countries that are responsible for the majority of traffic to this blog.  It’s like getting a quick’n’dirty view of the entire blog on fast-forward.

My Own Favourite Posts:

The Last, Best Days of Sugar the Mattawan Junkyard Horse

The Disquieting Truth About Drug Exposures in Horsemeat

Start The Car! The IKEA Monkey Chronicle Gets Ugly

Horse Sense vs. Non-Sense – 10 More Enduring Myths From The Pro-Slaughter Posse

Get Your Freak On – Horsemeat Restaurants (And the Companies That Should Sponsor Them)

Putting Horsemeat on the Table – Canadian Influences and Enablers – Infographic

Heads, I Win: Tails You Lose – Myths and Fallacies of the Pro-Slaughter Mindset

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Most Popular Posts  by Unique Hits (in descending order)

1.  Canada’s Live Export of Horses For Slaughter – Do Canadians Care?

2.  50 Shades of Black and Blue

3.  Small Town Stouffville’s Dirty Little Secret

4.  Have the Tentacles of Horse Slaughter Touched the Set of Heartland?

5.  Heads, I Win: Tails You Lose – Myths and Fallacies of the Pro-Slaughter Mindset

6.  Where Will All The Horses Go?

7.  A Tale of Two Polls…..

8.  Canada’s Horse “Welfare” Group in Dubious Company (Or Reason #189,743 Why We Cannot Trust Unified Equine or the IEBA)

9.  Hunting for Fallacies – Why Hunting is Bad for the Environment

10.  Slaughterhouse Sue – “We’re Losing Horses in Our Lives,” So Let’s Slaughter More of Them!

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Of course this blog uses the WordPress platform.  I want to give full credit to the great international community that WordPress has brought together.

The theme is “Matala” by Matt Mullenweg.

I’m using the Tag Cloud,  Twitter,  Links,  Milestone, and RSS Links Widgets, and I use Poll Daddy to collect and publish survey info.  I also use Sitemeter,  which is great when it works,  which isn’t that often!

Lastly,  please consider subscribing to this blog. You can also follow me on Twitter – @hclemenceau.  Please check out the other great blogs and resources on the right in the Blogroll.

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