For Immediate Release
City of Ottawa’s
War on Wildlife Continues
May 1, 2013: Community groups are appalled that Mayor Watson has washed his hands of the controversial proposed Wildlife Strategy document by handing it off to Councillor Doug Thompson and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC).
“Over a year ago, we heard that an ‘alternative’ wildlife strategy had been submitted through the Rural Affairs office,” said Donna DuBreuil, President, Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre and spokesperson, Ontario Wildlife Coalition. “We heard about it from Doug Thompson and from City staff who described it as your ‘basic trapper’s manifesto’. We did not think much about it because it was never tabled at the Wildlife Strategy Working Group and it was never made public.”
“However, we assume that this ‘secret’ document influenced the Mayor” she continued. “He ignores the City Council motion passed on February 24, 2010 which directed the Wildlife Strategy go to a joint meeting of the Environment and Planning and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees and, instead, hands it lock, stock and barrel to Councillor Thompson and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. It appears that Mayor Watson has bowed to Councillor Thompson’s negative view of wildlife, showing that the Rural Affairs Office is the tail that wags the dog at Ottawa City Hall”, said DuBreuil.
“In case anyone was under the illusion that the City of Ottawa was going to mirror other modern cities and adopt a progressive approach to wildlife, that illusion came crashing down when Mayor Watson handed the strategy to Councillor Doug Thompson”, said Anita Utas, resident of Stittsville.
“When Councillor Thompson wanted to get rid of coyotes in Osgoode he hired
a trapper to kill them. He was also quoted on CBC as supporting a coyote cull. Do we really believe that Councillor Thompson, as chair of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, is going to implement preventive and non-lethal measures to resolve human-wildlife conflicts? Mayor Watson has handed the fox the key to the hen house,” said Utas.
“If Councillor Thompson’s lethal approach to human/wildlife conflicts is any measure, then we are going to see an escalation of wild animals being killed in Ottawa,” said Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada and spokesperson, Ontario Wildlife Coalition.
“The Mayor has disregarded Council’s directive and handed everything over to Councillor Thompson who has been very vocal in his support for lethal management of wildlife. If Councillor Thompson has his way, the rural practices of less than 10% of Ottawa’s population will be imposed on 90% of residents who live in urban and suburban communities. This does not bode well for residents of Ottawa who want a humane, non-lethal resolution to human/wildlife conflicts and it most definitely does not bode well for wildlife in Ottawa,” White said.
Donna DuBreuil (613) 726-8178
Anita Utas (613) 558-6994 (cell)
Liz White (416) 462-9541 (23) or (416) 809-4371 (cell)