Tag Archives: MNRF

Smoke and Mirrors Campaigns Attempt To Demonize Short Hills Park Activists

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Please note that this blog contains graphic images

At one time an individual had to do something explicitly racist to be declared one. Now, anyone who chooses not to fall in line with prevailing “social justice” opinion about the Short Hills Park deer hunt can be smeared with this horrible epithet.  Agitators on Twitter and Facebook have attempted to silence the anti-hunt sentiment by doxxing posters, contacting their employers, sending threatening private messages, while simultaneously wasting the time and resources of the police by demanding that they investigate Facebook posts because they are tasteless, offensive, or demeaning.  While it is pretty clear when speech threatens violence to a specific person, it is less apparent that random offensive statements should be something the police should investigate.

In addition to amplified outbursts of hostility from “social justice warriors,” journalists and other media outlets now share increasingly diverse forms of disinformation with ease.  Additionally, there are few avenues to demand accountability, and there is a lack of skepticism about what is read and watched.  Inflammatory accusations about the anti-hunt demonstrators have long been deemed credible by people who have no first-hand knowledge of the hunts. It is therefore important to have a toolbox to evaluate claims independently.

The Freedom-Of-Information Requests Prove Police Conducted No Investigation Into Facebook Posters:

In response to several demeaning social media posts opposing the hunters, Grant LaFleche of the St. Catharines Standard wrote in November 2019 that:

“The Ontario Provincial Police are investigating racist and violent social media comments directed at Indigenous hunters in Niagara to determine if they break hate crime or other laws, The Standard has learned.

The OPP decided Wednesday to look into the Facebook comments posted on the page of the Niagara Action for Animals that directed racist slurs at hunters taking part in the annual deer hunt at Short Hills Provincial Park. Some of the comments also called for the deaths of the hunters, asking them to kill themselves, shoot each other or for them to be murdered.”

According to FOIA documents from both the OPP and the NRP, only one social media post was ever reviewed and it was dismissed straight-away as a non-issue.  These social media posts are not actionable – there are no credible, direct threats to any individual.  The OPP by their own admission, did not even open a case.  There was nothing to document.  Not even Facebook removed the posts (Niagara Action for Animals voluntarily removed them).

 

The Academic Paper that Accuses Police and Demonstrators of Assault (but fails to provide evidence):

In a paper titled “Fake Vegans,” Authors Legge and Taha make numerous claims about a Short Hills Park hunt and protest they observed, but without substantiation – namely that both police and protesters were assaulting the pro-hunt group.  When approached for a comment about this paper’s claims, St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik’s office could not find any evidence of police harassment or assault. The Mayor’s office even stated that the Haudensaunee hunters and their supporters have a dedicated police liaison with which to discuss pertinent issues related to the Short Hills hunt.  Anti-hunt demonstrators are quite used to being accused of assaulting people by now, but I’m sure the police were very interested to learn that they had been accused, in an academic paper of all things, of assaulting protesters.  Where is the proof?  If it’s as you say in your paper – you directly observed it first-hand – why can you not provide evidence?

 

 

 

Response from the Mayor Sendzik’s office when asked by email whether the NRP were aware that they had been accused of assaulting the hunt supporters.

Sea Shepherd’s Opposition To Hunting As a Philosophical Stance Against Anthropocentrism:

Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is frequently accused of racism since some of that group’s anti-whaling campaigns target ethnic groups in various countries.  He recently addressed the proposal by the Makah to resume whaling.

“Sea Shepherd opposes the killing of whales by anyone, anywhere, for any reason.

The Makah have a treaty with the United States that they say allows them to kill whales.

Elizabeth Warren has stated that she supports to resumption of whaling in the United States by the Makah. These whales do not belong to Elizabeth Warren nor do they belong to the United States or the Makah. The whales belong to the Cetacean Nations, they belong to themselves, independent of any claims by any hominid population.

Killing a self- aware, highly intelligent, socially complex sentient being, is murder.

Sea Shepherd’s position has never been anti-Makah, our position has been and always will be pro-life for all species of whales.

Sea Shepherd presently opposes illegal whaling by Norway, Japan, Iceland, Denmark, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the United States We have never discriminated on the basis of nationality, race or culture.”

Now clearly there is an obligation to protect vulnerable populations of whales, while deer are not endangered animals.  The best available science, which is available to the Haudenosaunee as it is to everyone else, is that hunting only temporarily decreases deer population, leading to an increase within a year or two, due to the compensatory rebound effect. Watson’s objection to whaling (or for our purposes, deer hunting) is completely agnostic – it includes opposition to all forms of whaling, whether committed by commercial whalers or tribal interests.  Sea Shepherd has undertaken campaigns against the Soviet Union, Iceland, Norway, pirate whalers in Portugal and Spain, the Faroe Islands, Canadian seal hunters, as well as the Makah.  It is a fact that Watson consistently insults all groups partaking in whale hunting with equal opportunity, regardless of race or origin.  Antagonists that aim to demonize both Sea Shepherd and other animal activists must invent non-existent emotionally charged accusations of racism and hate crimes where in fact none exists.

Video Footage of the Barricade at the Pelham Rd. Entrance to Short Hills:

Variously we’ve heard that the “stalls” that happen at the entrance to the park are 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or even that they are some kind of permanent blockade, as part of an effort to have those opposed to the hunt undemocratically removed from the protest. The “Fake Vegans” paper also claims that the stalls occur anywhere from “5 to 15 minutes.” The best evidence that these claims are exaggerations for effect comes from the pro-hunting faction themselves.  Their own video evidence from 2015 shows that the stalls are barely even 5 minutes, and sometimes hunters’ vehicles aren’t stalled at all. The video does not support any claims of foul, demeaning, or racist taunts levied at the pro-hunting group either.

The video clearly provides that the stalls are 5 minutes or less, and the helpful narrators even acknowledge this throughout this 29 minute video:

6:12 mark – “It’s been 5 minutes.”

8:00 mark – Vehicle arrives – is waived through at the 11:30 mark

11:30 mark – Vehicle arrives on camera – is waived through at the 12:43 mark

13:00 mark – Vehicle arrives on camera – is waived through at 14:11

14:30 mark – Vehicle arrives on camera – is waived through immediately

14:50 mark – Vehicles arrive 14:50 – are waived through at 16:50 mark

17:00 mark – Vehicle Arrives 17:00 – Helpful narrator announces at the 19:32 mark that “it’s been 5 minutes.” The vehicle waived through at 21:58

23:00 mark – Two trucks arrive simultaneously – they are waived through at 23:23.

23:40 mark – Truck arrives at 23:40 – It is waived through at the 24:20 mark on the video.

24:30 mark – Another truck arrives at 24:30 – it is waived through at the 27:40 mark.

 

As debunker Chris Hitchens’ famously wrote, “that which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”  With all the available smart phones recording every protest at Short Hills for 7+ years, why has no unequivocal and undeniable video evidence emerged of these alleged assaults? Several years’ worth of FOIA requests I ordered from the NRP and OPP have not revealed any assault charges levied against anyone.

We don’t own this rock. The choice is between endorsing suffering and death or opposing it – for all species. People have the freedom to object to the Short Hills deer hunt without being branded racists – hunting in the park is not an activity that’s traditionally been granted to ANYONE, therefore, no one is purporting that indigenous people should be denied an activity in which others are legally partaking. All concerns have been addressed not towards “who” is doing the hunting, but that it is occurring at all in a “No Hunt Park.” There is an urgent need to protect the integrity of the park; this cannot and does not always look like politeness.

Journalists are supposed to work in the service of truth.  Instead, they often promulgate disinformation. It’s unfortunate that some social media commenters chose to express themselves inappropriately and with poor impulse control, but these were deemed not criminally-actionable.  The hunt supports and media do not have any legitimate indictments against the anti-hunt demonstrators without hyper-partisan selection of “facts” at the expense of fairness. What their disinformation and doxxing campaigns seek is to impact agenda setting, muddy the informational waters, and intimidate critics of the hunt into silence.

 

 

Short Hills Deer Hunt – Remains Of The Day

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Short Hills Deer Hunt – Remains Of The Day

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Photos: Short Hills Wildlife Alliance

I find that there is a bizarre disconnect between the public face that hunters would like to present and the disturbing findings observed after the hunt is over. Nothing calls attention to this incongruity like a wounded animal and discarded remains scattered throughout the park. I’m not sure what enrages me the most, the MNRF’s ongoing assault on wildlife or the flagrant hypocrisy of doing it under the cover of something called either a “herd reduction” or “traditional hunt.”  The hunters and their supporters continue to make broad pronouncements and allegations about anti-hunt demonstrators when in fact all people should be free to express themselves without fear of being labelled in a derogatory fashion.  The disconnects seen in much of the reasoning by the pro-hunt cause are so enormous that it feels like climbing Mt. Everest without oxygen.  (Please note that in order to depict the visceral nature of the hunt,  photos included herein are GRAPHIC and DISTURBING).

With the 2017 hunt now concluded, the MNRF has tallied up the kill numbers for this year.  On at least one day their tally does not even agree with number counted by the police, so how transparent or honest/accurate is the reporting?  These numbers do not include the 4 deer that were found either abandoned or wounded outside the hunt zone and found dressed on private property, awaiting delivery by the MNRF to the staging area.  This year, vehicles with license plates from Quebec and even Florida were observed entering the park to kill deer.  I guess we should assume that there are no raw forests in either Quebec or Florida that can host deer hunting anywhere other than in a NO HUNT park in environmentally significant area?

 

Day 1 (November 11)  17 deer were killed – 8 male and 9 female, two of which were fawns

Day 2 (November 12)  – 6 deer were killed – 2 male and 4 female deer were killed (The Ministry refused to tell us how many were fawns)

Day 3 (November 25) – 15 deer were killed (although protesters and police counted 21 by visual confirmation)

Day 4 (November 26)  –  4 deer were killed – MNRF won’t disclose, but 6 deer were counted in a single truck

Day 5 (December 4)   MNRF won’t disclose, but 6 deer were counted in a single truck

Day 6 (December 5)   1 deer was killed

 

Unpacking the hypocrisy of the hunt and its proponents:

The hunters have long maintained that hunting in the park is a food sovereignty issue and they use all parts of the deer. So why are there so many skins, heads, and gut piles strewn throughout the park well after the hunt?  Why was a disembodied deer head shuttled in and out of the park over several days – why has the body apparently been abandoned in a food sustenance hunt? And why was a deer carcass abandoned at the foot of Swayze Falls, where it has remained for several days and is possibly still there?  For many people, the type of sporting contest apparently taking place in Short Hills (the “Big Buck Competition”) is representative of an anthropocentric philosophical perspective – the antithesis of what we are told is indigenous hunting.  Paradoxically, the taking of trophies is a product of the colonial/capitalist forces that the pro-hunt groups claim they despise.   An animal trophy reminds us, on a subliminal level, of the wealthy hunters depleting the landscapes on foreign lands in order to assert their ascendancy and control.

In another ironic exchange,  the (satirical but unintentionally accurate) Walking Eagle News makes the point that anyone taking hunting selfies puts ego over responsibility.  The number of “selfies” taken for the Big Buck Competition held in Short Hills suggests that many participants are more interested in obtaining trophies than in adhering  to “cultural traditions.” I doubt that most people who truly engage in subsistence hunting spend a lot of time on Facebook.

 

 

Once again this year, the pro-hunt camp complained that our signage is somehow racist (any kind of trigger that makes a hunt support angry or defensive is considered racist – even our last names evoke feelings of distrust, prejudice, and blame).  However,  unlike a person’s name or place of birth, beliefs can be argued for, tested, criticized, and changed. The more pugnacious hunt supporters turned their attention to our clothing – we should all expect a turn in the cage with someone from this group either online or IRL.  On this day, the supports are affronted by a protester wearing a “skull” face shield.  A complaint was received by police on the scene November 25th, asking that the protester be removed because of his attire.  Why is a face shield commonly sold in outdoor stores considered to be objectionable when worn by an anti-hunt demonstrator?   It seems perfectly acceptable however, when donned by a hunter.

 

 

In previous hunts it has been observed that some hunters attempted to walk into or out of the park after it commenced, with unencased bows.  Joe McCambridge, former president of the Ontario Conservation Officers Associations (OCOA), stresses that: “If you are going to hunt until the end of legal shooting time, you must take a proper case with you and encase your firearm after [sundown]. This includes bows and crossbows.”  I wonder what McCambridge would think of bows that are completely forgotten in the park? This bow was accidentally left in the park as-is, by a careless hunter after the sanctioned hunt in 2016,  and was found by someone walking the trails the next day.  It was turned over to the police.

The deer in the album below were found both in the park and well beyond the park boundary and buffer zone on private property, further evidence that the hunt is not safe and that boundaries simply aren’t respected.  All images are from the current 2017 hunt.  The dead deer at Swayze Falls was abandoned with an obvious hunting-related injury.  The MNRF appears to frown on the killing and abandonment of deer when it occurs in provincial parks that are not Short Hills. How many  other deer suffered and died on their own, undiscovered by anyone?

Some hunt supports have claimed that whenever injured deer are found,  it can only be due to poachers.  If so, then the poachers were hunting in the park at the same time as the Haudenosaunee hunters,  in which case the MNRF is unable to effectively close the park to people who are not permitted to be there.

 

 

All photos below were captured within Short Hills Park or the Hydro corridor over several hunts.  The doe with the neatly assembled entrails and head was tracked by her blood trail from the park to the Hydro corridor.  All the rest of the entrails and various remains were found within the park on a main hiking trail about an 8 minute hike from the Wiley Rd. parking lot, a designated entrance into the park, some heavily predated by the time they were found.

To those pro-hunters who claim the remains found in the park have been “staged” by animal rights activists,  we can only ask,  where would AR activists obtain the remains of deer?  I suggest that the conspiracy-minded become acquainted with William of Ockham’s most famous quote: “With all things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the right one.” 

 

 

The prevailing monologue we hear about the Short Hills hunt is that it’s an issue of a right to hunt and that the hunt is based on subsistence needs/food sovereignty etc., but commentary and photos by the hunters themselves suggests otherwise.  Since the hunt began in 2013,  almost 200 deer have been killed according to the MNRF’s own records, and even if we assume that’s accurate,  it doesn’t account for deer that escaped with fatal injuries,  to die later elsewhere.   The rate of extermination of deer,  the level of depreciative use, and damage to the park during the days of the hunt is far greater than the ability of the resource to conserve itself.

The pre-ecological thinkers at the MNRF continue to take the road of junk-science in furthering their agenda – greenwashing the hunt as a “herd reduction” of “overpopulated deer,” which coats this violence with a respectable veener for public consumption. But by the Ministry’s own account not a single deer examined by the biologist during the hunt showed signs of starvation or illness, measures of overabundance.  How long do they think this NO HUNT Short Hills  Game Farm  park can sustain the killing of 30-50 deer each and every year?  Not only that, but why should any hunter anywhere have the exclusive “right” to kill any animal that the rest of society might value alive?  Killing a sentient being is the ultimate oppression, no matter what the reason or who is carrying it out.

 

“Kill Everything”