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Press Release

Ontario's orphaned and injured wildlife denied humane care
by David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources.

Regressive wildlife rehabilitation regulations finalized by the Minister as Toronto hosts the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference

Young fox, click to enlargeToronto, Wednesday, November 9, 2005: Actions by the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsay reached a new low when his staff posted regressive changes to regulations governing wildlife rehabilitators. This was done just days prior to the start of an international wildlife rehabilitation conference being held in Toronto this week.  Ministry staff tried to spin the changes as "a good news story" for rehabilitation. Click to view new regulations.

"Rehabilitators who work with mammals are incensed that David Ramsay would allow his Ministry to implement such regressive regulations," said Donna DuBreuil, spokesperson for the Ontario Wildlife Coalition.  "Despite the Minister's PR spin, the regulations, particularly the 15k release restrictions, prevent the humane and responsible care for orphaned wildlife. The restrictions force rehabilitators to raise and release infant animals such as raccoons and squirrels individually instead of in family groupings. This is simply inhumane and will force many rehabilitators to shut down, leaving many communities without this important voluntary service."        

"To enhance its power to enforce the release restrictions, the Ministry has granted itself the absolute authority to deny, change or revoke a wildlife rehabilitator's license and the rehabilitators have no right to appeal the decision," said Barry MacKay, Canadian Representative for the Animal Protection Institute. "The Minister has imposed huge obligations on the rehabilitators, including substantial costs through its 'licensing' system, the Wildlife Custodial Authorization.  Conversely, the Minister provides recreational hunters who have far fewer obligations under their licenses to kill animals, the right to an appeal process."

Young raccoon, click to enlarge"The Ministry has the opportunity to implement progressive practices with regard to wildlife rehabilitation," said Paul Harris, President, Volunteer Wildlife Custodians.  "The international wildlife rehabilitation community is holding a conference in Toronto this week where best practices will be discussed.  Instead of attempting to penalize and marginalize rehabilitators, the Ministry should encourage a strong and vibrant rehabilitation service."

"Under the ridiculous guise of protecting wildlife health and human safety, the Minister seems hell-bent on attacking these volunteers who provide a free service to care for orphaned and injured wildlife in their communities," said Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada. "It is obvious to me that the Minister places greater trust in his client groups, sport hunters who kill animals for fun and commercial wildlife removal companies who trap and move thousands of un-vetted, un-immunized wild animals every year than the volunteers who so lovingly care for wildlife mostly or entirely at their own expense."

For further information please contact

Liz White, Animal Alliance of Canada, 416-462-9541(w), 416-809-4371(cell),
Barry MacKay, Animal Protection Institute, 905-472-9731(w),
Ainslie Willock, Director, Canadians for Bears, 416-922-4554,
Donna DuBreuil, Ontario Wildlife Coalition 613-282-3755 (cell),
Paul Harris, Volunteer Wildlife Custodians, 519-232-1110

The new regulations; posted Oct. 19/05

MNR press release
EBR Posting
Wildlife Custodian Authorization Conditions
Wildlife Rehabilitation Policy
Wildlife Rehabilitation Procedure

Take action!!

Click to take action for orphaned wildlife that cannot be helped under the MNR's unnacceptable rehab policy.

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