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News Item - Letter

Ontario Wildlife Coalition
221 Broadview Avenue, Suite 101
Toronto, Ontario M4M 2G3
416-462-9541 (p)  416-462-9647 (f)
liz@animalalliance.ca

March 9, 2005

The Honourable David Ramsay
Minister of Natural Resources
6630-99 Wellesley Street West
6th Foor, Whitney Block
Toronto, Ontario  M7A 1W3

Dear Mr. Ramsay

We are writing further to our letter, on which you were copied, of January 31, 2005 to Deb Stetson, Manager, Wildlife Section, Fish and Wildlife Branch. It followed a similar letter, also copied to you, to Tom Cumby, Wildlife Services Coordinator on January 21, 2005.

These letters outlined what the community has been widely voicing for the past three years, which is that the existing and the proposed EBR wildlife rehabilitation regulations will eliminate humane and responsible wildlife rehabilitation in Ontario. The Liberals, while in Opposition, relayed these very concerns from over 9,000 residents in 260 communities across the province.

It is essential that the Ministry go back to the drawing board to develop a progressive, effective and humane rehabilitation program, including criteria that will support the following internationally recognized care and release standard: “Orphaned wildlife should be raised with others of their own species, to learn proper conspecific behaviours, and the group should then be released together in appropriate natural areas, with transitional care for those species that require it, generally within the city or county of origin.”

In our letter to Deb Stetson, we conveyed that wildlife rehabilitators would have to know the rules by the end of January if they were to prepare for the rehabilitation season. We now hear that Tom Cumby of the MNR has verbally conveyed, and only to a few select wildlife rehabilitators in the last week that the proposed changes to wildlife rehabilitation regulations will be “put on hold”. Others have heard very conflicting information, suggesting that the MNR plans to continue to unevenly apply across the province the current release restrictions that force rehabilitators to lie in order to care for baby animals.

It is unconscionable that it is now March, with the wildlife birthing season already underway, and rehabilitators have been left in legal limbo by the Ministry of Natural Resources, with no other choice but to turn away members of the public seeking help for wildlife.

The current controversy about wildlife rehabilitation is of your Ministry’s making. The majority of wildlife rehabilitators were not consulted nor were the veterinary practices or humane societies they work with and who depend on these services consulted. It is felt that the regressive and punitive wildlife rehabilitation regulations have been put in place to shore up an unwarranted rabies program, a program that is increasingly being criticized given its huge financial cost and now its further impact through the loss of wildlife rehabilitation services to the community.

As Minister, you announced the proposed changes to rehabilitation regulations. We now ask that you provide the leadership necessary to ensure that there will be help for wildlife this year by withdrawing the proposed EBR changes and the 1 kilometer release restriction currently in force; clarifying the terms under which wildlife rehabilitators will be legally expected to operate in 2005 and set up a proper consultation process, to be hosted at a central location in Ontario after the frantic wildlife season, with all wildlife rehabilitators informed about it and invited to attend.

By doing so, you will ensure that Canada’s most populous province will be able to once again offer the progressive wildlife response that the public expects. We ask that you immediately give wildlife rehabilitators the assurance they need to undertake the critical role they play in this regard. 

Sincerely

Liz White
Spokesperson, Ontario Wildlife Coalition

c.c. Premier Dalton McGuinty

Mr. John Baird
Mr. Ernie Hardeman
Mr. Gerry Martiniuk
Mr. John Milloy
Ms. Carol Mitchell
Mr. Ernie Parsons
Mr. Richard Patten
Mr. Michael Prue
Mr. Jim Watson
Mr. John Wilkinson
Ms. Elizabeth Witmer

All MPP’s

Click here to view original letter in Word format

 

 
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