IFAW launches "Promise of Ontario" campaign to defend Premier McGuinty's commitment to ethical wildlife policies

(Toronto - October 24, 2003) The International Fund for Animal Welfare today launched a public campaign to defend Premier Dalton McGuinty's commitment to four vital animal welfare issues.

The Premier has previously promised he will maintain the ban on the spring bear hunt, protect endangered Algonquin wolves, stop 12-year olds from using guns, and review unethical Ontario hunting practices such as baiting, penned hunts and hunting with hounds.

"Ontario Liberals support the end of the spring bear hunt in Ontario. We were deeply concerned that was leaving many cubs orphaned," McGuinty wrote in a letter to IFAW.

"The Premier also made a commitment to me in person just a few weeks ago that he still remains opposed to the cruelty of policies such as the spring bear hunt," IFAW Provincial Issues Coordinator Rob Sinclair said. "We are dedicated to defending his views and holding the Liberal government to his commitments."

Target ridings will be selected over the next few days and full-scale local campaigns begin next week. Video drops, telephone banks and an Internet campaign will target Ontario residents, the majority of whom are opposed to cruel wildlife policies.

Despite ethical advances such as the cancellation of the spring bear hunt, Ontario is still home to a number of unpopular hunting practices strongly opposed by public opinion. Ontario is one of only two provinces to allow using hounds to hunt bears and the only one to allow deer to be hunted with dogs. The province is also one of only four provinces that allow animals to be hunted trapped inside fenced areas.

"IFAW will be going door to door over the next few weeks to ensure the views of the over 80 per cent of Ontario residents who oppose practices like the spring bear hunt, baiting and penned hunts are represented," Sinclair said.

For further information, please contact: Rob Sinclair, IFAW Provincial Issues Coordinator

(416) 432-3120