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No Christmas for orphaned Wildlife in Ontario this year!

Wildlife rehabilitators unfairly and negatively targeted by the Minister

Toronto, Monday December 20, 2004: Actions by the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsay reached a new low when his staff posted changes to regulations governing wildlife rehabilitators just a few days before Christmas.  In doing so he obviously hoped to limit public comment, knowing that close to three weeks of the 45 day comment period would be tied up in holiday activities. His Ministry then circulated a media release announcing the changes as “a good news story” about rehabilitation. 

“In fact, the changes were met with a great deal of anger by wildlife rehabilitators and the community,” said Donna DuBreuil, President of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre.  “The anger is compounded because there have been two years of strong public protest during which time the Ontario Liberals, while in Opposition, presented petitions from over 9,000 residents in 260 communities in the province demanding changes to regulations that denied humane and responsible help for orphaned and injured wildlife.”

“The Ontario Wildlife Coalition, a group which represents the interests of wildlife rehabilitators and a total of 80 organizations and individuals in Ontario accuses David Ramsay and the McGuinty Government of the worst kind of political cynicism,” said Barry MacKay, Canadian Representative for the Animal Protection Institute.  “Just a week before Christmas with little time for public comment, without consultation with the majority of wildlife rehabilitators in the province and with parliament conveniently recessed until March 2005, the McGuinty Liberals have quietly posted changes to the regulations governing the wildlife rehabilitation community.  This is the very same Ministry of Natural Resources who openly abused the EBR process in July 2002 by posting “emergency” changes for wildlife rehabilitation when there was no emergency, a move that eliminated all public input into the initiative.”

“The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has created a crisis with respect to wildlife rehabilitation in the province,” said Liz White, spokesperson for the Ontario Wildlife Coalition. “While major urban sprawl into wildlife habitat and the public’s sense of responsibility for mitigating its substantial impact on wildlife has meant many more people seeking help for individual animals in distress, the ministry’s Draconian and unnecessary regulations have eliminated much of that help.  The proposed new regulations will only deepen the crisis.”

The Ontario Wildlife Coalition challenges David Ramsay and the McGuinty Liberals to withdraw the current EBR posting and propose effective regulations based on internationally recognized wildlife rehabilitation standards developed over many decades to establish humane and responsible care and release procedures.

For further information please contact Liz White, Ontario Wildlife Coalition,
416-462-9541 (w), 416-809-4371 (cell), Donna DuBreuil, Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre 613-282-3755 (cell) or Barry MacKay, Animal Protection Institute, 905-472-9731 (w)


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