AR-News: Ontario Deer To Be Killed En Masse
Barry Kent MacKay
mimus at sympatico.ca
Fri Jun 25 08:12:59 EDT 2004
For Immediate Release
Peaceful Parks Coalition
Ontario Deer To Be Killed En Masse
Toronto, June 24, 2004: Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsay has
removed all restrictions on killing deer by farmers in Ontario. Gone are
requirements by farmers to take preventative measures to avoid crop damage
by deer. In southern Ontario, where very little public land remains, this
policy means a free-for-all killing spree of deer.
While the policy limits deer removal to 1-10 deer per permit, several
consecutive permits can be issued. For example, last year one Lanark area
farmer from the Ottawa Valley was allowed to kill 72 deer over a four month
period. Deer can also be killed just for being in the area - if their
habitat use patterns cross and/or are in the vicinity of a farm that
could experience crop damage.
Inspection of farms prior to issuing kill permits may or may not be
required. The language in the policy is wide open.
In addition, Ramsay will expand the deer hunting season and allow regional
managers to issue additional deer seals at their discretion across the
province. 75,000 deer were reported killed last year.
"Minister Ramsay has proven to be an unsophisticated Minister of Natural
Resources," says AnnaMaria Valastro of the Peaceful Parks Coalition. "He
lacks the basic fundamentals to understand ecological principles and
instead supports simplistic policies that kill wildlife."
Deer management in Ontario has proven to be one of the few successful
government programs. Initially designed to produce deer for the sport
hunting industry, these practices have increased deer population beyond
what is desirable by farmers. But The Ministry refuses to acknowledge that
their management practices have caused the problem in the first place.
"Hunting only perpetuates the problem," says Gus Zylstra. "It is well known
that whenever deer numbers are substantially reduced through hunting, deer
will accelarate their birth rate." The Ministry is well aware of this and
intentionally keeps deer populations below natural carrying capacity to
ensure a "good bumper" crop for each hunting season. Sport hunters will
benefit from this policy because, as agents for the farmers, they will be
able to hunt for deer year around.
Contact: AnnaMaria Valastro at 416.537.3212 or Gus Zylstra at 613.332.3651
Note To The Editor and Our Members:
The complete policy can be reviewed at the following link.
Appendix A has a chart that shows the level of crop damage caused by
wildlife farmers are willing to tolerate in dollars. It ranges from $1800
to under $2800. In January 2004, The Peaceful Parks Coalition contacted
AGRICORP, the branch of the Ministry of Agriculture that issues crop damage
insurance. In Lanark County, only three farmers reported crop damage in
2002. The Lanark Landowners Association spearheaded a campaign to remove
all barriers to killing "nuisance" deer.
For such little damage to agriculture, Minister Ramsay has opened the flood
gates for an all out slaughter of deer.
The Peaceful Parks insisted that they be part of any consultations in
developing this policy. All of our major concerns were ignored.
The Peaceful Parks Coalition is asking that our members send any comments
regarding this policy directly to Premier Dalton McGuinty. Here's why.
Minister Ramsay has made recent comments in the press - Ottawa Sun and the
CBC - that demonstrate he has little respect for wildlife and the EBR
comment process. To the Ottawa Sun, Ramsay stated that only a "stroke of
the pen" is required after the 30 day comment period to implement this
policy. This means the decision has been made.
To the CBC, Ramsay stated "We have to base our regulations on science and
the economic damage that is happening with this population," he said. "This
is not an endangered population by any stretch of the imagination."
Science is rarely a considering factor in making political decisions
regarding wildlife. And deer are not dispensable just because they are not
endangered. They have an ecological role in the greater landscape including
as a prey base for wolves and other predators and scavengers. Comments such
as these prove Minister Ramsay is not qualified to manage our resources
ecologically, only politically.
The correspondence unit in the Premier's office read all comments written to
the Premier. Contact information is as follows:
Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1
email: webprem at gov.on.ca
Peaceful Parks Coalition
P.O. Box 326, Station B
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2W2
ppc at peacefulparks.org
Barry Kent MacKay
Animal Protection Institute
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