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Animal Alliance of Canada sends lawyer’s letter to Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry regarding illegality of wildlife-killing contest in Belleville

TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Animal Alliance of Canada, along with allied organizations, has yet again hired lawyer, Peter Copeland, to compose a letter opposing wildlife-killing contests in Ontario.

The letter urges Minister John Yakabuski to ensure that his ministry’s own regulations are enforced. This is regarding a coyote-killing contest sponsored by a hunting supply store in Belleville. That contest offers rewards, or “gains” to those who bring in the dead bodies of the largest coyotes, and the smallest.

Such contests, according to Section 11 of Ontario's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1997 are illegal, as it’s prohibited to ‘hunt or trap for gain.’

The legislation prohibits:

"Hunting or trapping for gain:
11 (1) Except with the authorization of the Minister, a person shall not,
(a) hunt for hire, gain or the expectation of gain;
(b) hire, employ or induce another person to hunt for gain;
(c) trap for hire, gain or the expectation of gain;
(d) hire, employ or induce another person to trap for gain; or
(e) pay or accept a bounty."

Mr. Copeland states in his letter: “The purpose and effect of these provisions is to prohibit providing or receiving financial incentives to hunt and trap.” Mr. Copeland argues that by offering substantial cash payouts and goods for the killing of the largest coyotes, participants are being induced to hunt for gain. Contest participants themselves are hunting for the expectation of gain. As well, the prizes and payouts may constitute prohibited bounties on large animals, as they are financial incentives to kill a targeted group of animals.

Liz White, Director of Animal Alliance of Canada states: “It should not be necessary for animal advocacy organizations to monitor the actions of hunting proponents to make sure they are following Ontario’s regulations. It’s the responsibility of the Ministry to enforce conservation regulations without bias toward those who hunt and fish. The ministry exists to serve all Ontarians.”

White said that this is not the first time that Animal Alliance of Canada has needed to take action to stop wildlife-killing contests.    “During a previous wildlife-killing contest in Ontario, we hired Mr. Copeland to assess the legality of such contests as they relate to Ontario’s regulations,” White said. “We sent that letter to the minister of the day and the contest was shut down. Now another contest has been allowed to take place without enforcement action by the ministry.”

Peter Copeland’s letter was written on behalf of Animal Alliance of Canada, Coyote Watch Canada, Earthroots and Zoocheck.

Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada
c) 416-809-4371

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