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Ontario Makes History - Cancels Deer Hunt

Toronto, Sunday April 5, 2009 – The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has decided not to proceed with a controversial deer hunt in Southern Ontario which proposed to extend the archery season into January when deer are at their most vulnerable and most likely in their trimester of pregnancy.

The ministry rolled out the full regalia of rhetoric, citing that deer posed a human threat through increased car collisions and farmers were suffering from increased crop damage. But when they were pressed to ‘show me the evidence’, they had none.

A review of comments posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry showed strong support from sport hunters for the extended hunt, but there were also sport hunters that expressed deep concern that a winter hunting season would weaken the deer herd in times of harsh conditions and during times of pregnancy. Other comments rejected increased sport hunting activities in general, and others simply rejected the standard rhetoric.

“I am almost speechless,” comments a stunned AnnaMaria Valastro, campaigner with the Peaceful Parks Coalition. Since the McGuinty government was elected in 2004, it has increased big game sport hunting fifteen (15) times not including sport hunting in protected areas such as Bickwood Oak Woods and the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. “We can’t remember the last time a sport hunting proposal has been rejected,” says Valastro. “It appears the ministry was sensitive to concerns about wildlife welfare and to those individuals seeking relief from sport hunting activities in their communities.”

But perhaps more important, the ministry was successfully challenged to produce evidence to substantiate their claims that deer are dangerous and pose a human and economic threat. “For decades, fish and wildlife agencies have run a ‘hate’ campaign against wildlife labelled ‘nuisance’ to win over public support for increased sport hunting activities, and this has to stop,” says Valastro.

“We hope this is a turning point in natural resources management breaking the old chains of exploitation first, wildlife health second,” says Valastro.

Notes to the Editor:
There were two proposals to extend the archery season in Southern Ontario - ‘Hunter’s Choice Additional Deer Seal’ and an extended archery season into January. Both were cancelled. You can view these proposals along with a summary of comments by entering the following EBR #s 010-5648 and 010-5337 and linking here.

Click here to download a pdf file of the Peaceful Parks Coalition submission.

For more information, please contact AnnaMaria Valastro at
1 877 785 8636.

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