Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s new report levels stinging criticism of the spring bear hunt pilot



TORONTO, November 3, 2015:  Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada praise the Environmental Commissioner for her criticism of the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry’s decision to re-introduce the spring bear hunt.

In her 2014/2015 Annual Report, Small things Matter (http://eco.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/2014_2015-AR.pdf) Ellen Schwartzel, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario states “In implementing the pilot project, the MNRF: made a bear management decision with incomplete information on the annual harvest; ignored ministry research that calls into question the utility of the pilot project; and disregarded the advice of the committee the ministry struck to review the nuisance bear issues.” 

“The Commissioner also points out that the Ministry cut back on its Bear Wise programme” said Barry MacKay, Director, Zoocheck Canada.  “In fact, the Bear Wise programme has largely disappeared in reality and the Wynne government has downloaded responsibility for human bear interactions on local communities.”

“We feel vindicated by the comments of the Environmental Commissioner about the Ministry’s pilot hunt.  These are exactly the issues we raised in our court case and in our EBR submission to the Minister in response to the announced pilot in 2014”, said Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance.

“You have to ask – why would the Premier and Minister disregard their own scientists and advisors and make a decision to expand the hunt so substantially?” White asks.

Despite the ECO’s concerns, Minister Bill Mauro intends to expand the spring hunt to Americans and other non-residents in all applicable wildlife management units.  The decision is posted on the Environmental Registry for comment until the end of November.
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Liz White:  416-462-9541 ex: 23 / liz@animalalliance.ca
Barry MacKay:  905-472-9731 / mimus@sympatico.ca

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