New Study on Animal Protection Laws in Canada

David Cassuto

A while back, I blogged about HSUS´s useful state-by-state breakdown of animal protection laws in the U.S.   Now, I´m pleased to relay that ALDF has done a province-by-province study of the laws in Canada.  Apparently, Ontario tops the list while the Northwest Territory trails the pack.  Get the full skinny here.

Grizzly Bears, Moose, and Other Terrorist Enablers

David Cassuto

Apparently, those darn grizzly bears are putting our nation at risk.  Noting darkly that “the threat from the north is real,” a group of Republican lawmakers are concerned that grizzlies and other transboundary species are interfering with the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to protect the motherland.

I’m glad these folks had the courage to raise this sensitive issue.  Emboldened by their audacity, I too am ready to come forward.     Continue reading

The Otter Hunt Reborn

yawningEn route to Montreal for the GRIDA Animal Law Conference (see post here), I picked up some Canadian newspapers.  From the NationalPost, I learn that aboriginals on Vancouver Island hope to kill 1% of the region’s sea otters per year for “ceremonial reasons.”

Sea otters, like so many other fur-bearing animals, were hunted to near extinction in Canada during the heyday of the European fur trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  They were reintroduced into British Columbia from Alaska in the early 1970s and have made progress, repopulating approximately 30% of their original range.  In 2007, the Canadian government downlisted otters from “threatened” to “special concern.”  Now, the Nuu-chah-nulth tribe and federal fisheries officials have crafted a sea otter “management plan” that will permit tribe members to shoot them.  Related story here.

This has strong parallels to the wolf scenario in the United States (some irony: the wolf-bloodthirsty governor of Idaho is named Otter…).  I appreciate the need for sensitivity to native people and traditions — an issue that does not pertain to the U.S. wolf situation.  And the discussion over when and how concern for animals should defer to native traditions must be ongoing and vigorous (it will likely surprise no one that I believe human rituals, whatever their provenance, are less important than animal lives).  But here the issue should not yet be ripe.  The otter has not even fully recovered its numbers and remains at risk.  Why the hurry to kill them?

–David Cassuto

European Parliament Bans Trade in Seal Products

The European Parliament has banned all trade in seal pelts and seal products.  The move was strongly criticized by Canada and particularly by the Canadian Sealers Association, which insists that the Canadian method of clubbing young seals to death on the ice is humane.  The Association also notes that seals eat a lot of cod and that the cod fishery is in danger.  Oddly, neither of these arguments carried the day.

Read more here and here.

–David Cassuto