February 28, VANCOUVER - Canadians in the west and east are outraged over two recent trapping fatalities regarding a dog in Prince Edward Island and a wolf in Alberta. In PEI a snare killed a family pet while a wolf was trapped just outside of Banff National Park according to Al Hickey, Western Regional Director for The Humane Society of Canada (HSC).
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is says that this outdated industry should no longer be allowed to continue inflicting so much unnecessary pain and suffering. "As we enter the 21st century, we need to leave as much cruelty behind as possible. Drowning, strangling and slaughtering animals to make fur coats is one of them," says HSC Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan.
Besides the senseless cruelty associated with traps, O’Sullivan is concerned with the indiscriminate nature of these killing devices.
"Virtually any animals can become the victim of a leghold trap, conibear trap or snare. While some people learn that traps have killed their beloved animal companions, how many innocent pets die in these traps and are simply discarded by the trappers without the animals’ guardians ever knowing what became of their furred family members? Numerous nontarget wild animals are also killed on a regular basis. Traps also pose a serious danger to children," continues O’Sullivan.
He also says that suggestions by the fur industry that they are now using 'humane traps' is nothing more than a public relations exercise. On two separate occasions, O’Sullivan has taken the federal government to court in an effort to pierce the veil of secrecy surrounding their taxpayer-funded research into 'humane traps'.
"The government’s definition of what constitutes a 'humane trap' is so broad and all encompassing that it even includes a leghold trap - which they say their research is supposed to replace. Some animals will chew off their own foot to escape. A snare depends on the violent lunging action of a terrified animal to strangle his/herself. How can anyone in his or her right mind call this ‘humane’," he asks.
Trapping also takes place across a vast wilderness and law enforcement is impossible. According to the fur industry’s own calculations, the average trapper in Canada only made about $210.45 a year in 2001. Animals like the lynx and the wolverine are being pushed towards extinction by the fur trade says the charity.
"As a first step to phasing out this cruelty, trap lines should not be allowed in urban or suburban areas and in wilderness areas, the location of all trap lines should be available to the public," says O’Sullivan. "People with children or pets should know where these danger zones are located".
O’Sullivan believes much more needs to be done to ensure the survival of wolves in Canada.
"Because even the loss of one wolf increases the vulnerability of the whole pack, and because this incredible animal is still despised by many ignorant people, there needs to be increased protection for these majestic creatures. Protecting these intelligent animals from all trappers and hunters would be a good start. At the very least wolves should be protected in all national and provincial parks and adequate buffer zones around these parks should also be established for their protection. An example of how our species can severely harm a species in a short period of time has occurred with wolves in and around Algonquin Park whose packs have been decimated in recent years".
"We need to move ever closer to the day when the pointless abuse of animals will no longer be tolerated. Ending the slaughter of wildlife for fashion and vanity is a good place to start," he says.
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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