May 16, 2004, TORONTO – The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is both angered and appalled with the Ontario government’s decision to shoot thousands of Double-crested Cormorants at Presqu’ile Provincial Park starting May 6, 2004. Excuses given for drastically reducing the cormorant population include the need to protect vegetation and fish stocks.
HSC Western Regional Director, Al Hickey, is disgusted with the barbaric approach to controlling the cormorant population and doesn’t feel it will meet its objective.
“Shooting thousands of these birds who play a crucial role in nature will not solve the problems they’re being unfairly blamed for, but it will create new problems,” says HSC Western Regional Director Al Hickey. “As soon as these birds are killed, other cormorants will move in to fill the void. The average person driving back and forth to work each day causes more harm to the environment, than one of these birds will cause in their lifetime.”
Michael O’Sullivan, HSC Executive Director, said that he is angry, but not surprised, that hunters will be allowed to slaughter up to 6,000 cormorants.
“Even though a very small percentage of Canadians hunt, governments bend over backwards to accommodate them,” states O’Sullivan. “Shooting thousands of these beautiful birds isn’t even hunting – it’s a mass slaughter.”
O’Sullivan also says that repeated government surveys have shown that more than 95% of Ontarians support the protection and not the killing of wildlife, that doesn’t bode well for elected officials. “Premier McGuinty can either do what the ‘hook and bullet crowd want’ or they can do the compassionate common sense thing that 9 out of 10 Ontarians want – leave the birds alone.”
O’Sullivan finds the proposed bloodbath particularly disturbing in view of the birds’ impressive comeback.
“Three decades ago the Double-crested Cormorant had almost been totally eliminated from the Great Lakes due to our species,” says O’Sullivan. “Now that it has once again reached a healthy population, some segments of society want the opportunity to kill these birds in mass numbers.”
While hunters are pleased with the chance to kill these birds, some people who fish also welcome the slaughter as they believe that cormorants eat lots of sports fish. O’Sullivan is quick to point out that this just isn’t the case.
“The Double-crested Cormorant doesn’t consume large numbers of sports fish,” says O’Sullivan. “Even Environment Canada studies show that cormorants feed primarily on small, non-commercial fish like Alewife and Rainbow Smelt.”
“It’s time that we learned to leave nature well enough alone,” suggests O’Sullivan. “Every time we start interfering and trying to control other species bad things happen. It never ceases to amaze me. When someone destroys a work of man, we call him a vandal. But when someone destroys a work of God and nature, we call him a sportsman.”
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
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