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Canadian Projects

Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA's Canadian Representative


Barry is an artist, both with words and with paint. He has been associated with our organization for nearly three decades and is our go-to guy for any wildlife question. He knows his animals — especially birds — and the issues that affect them. His blogs will give you just the tip of his wildlife-knowledge iceberg, so be sure to stay and delve deeper into his Canadian Project articles. If you like wildlife and reading, Barry's your man. (And we're happy to have him as part of our team, too!)

Bull story from the Washington Post Writers Group

Published 08/17/10

Breeding does not equal natural selection

Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a "senior fellow" of the Independent Institute, editor of Lessons from the Poor and a writer for The Washington Post Writers Group, recently wrote a strong defense of bullfighting, fearing that the fact that the region of Catalonia, in Spain, will proscribe bullfights after 2012 presages further bans.

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A catastrophic conservation calamity

Published 08/13/10

Well known or not, we are losing our cat species worldwide.

Recently I blogged about the decline in wild dog species worldwide. A report by several leading conservation organizations, The Fading Call of the Wild, documented a horrific decline of 25 percent of wild dog species. Most are ones the general public is unaware of, although even common species face serious declines in parts of their ranges.

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Distant Relatives of Man's Best Friend in Decline

Published 08/10/10

Killing Canines mostly unknown.

The Fading Call of the Wild is a new report outlining still more declines in the world’s ability to sustain life. It estimates that 24 percent of all wild members of the family Canidae are in decline. And when I cite that figure I do so knowing most (not all) readers will have a muddled sense of what that means. Some will know that “Caniade” is the name scientists use for the family of mammals that includes dogs, jackals, wolves, coyotes, foxes and dholes. Currently scientists recognize 35 or 36 species of wild dogs, depending on whether or not the dingo should be considered a species separate from the gray wolf.

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Owl for the fun of it

Published 07/26/10

Bad zoo activity caught on tape is not "hilarious" to me!

At my computer I have to deal with the usual spams, and with people sending around amusing little cartoons, photos and quotations that have been gleaned from many sources. Many contain a Youtube URL and I usually avoid those, as they take up too much time, but the other day I got a message, "for people who like owls..." followed by the URL :"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFwgblszf6s" and the words, "it is hilarious." It was signed by a fellow member of the list where it was posted, an Ontario group dedicated to wildlife rehabilitation.

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Sperm Whales in deep trouble; dolphins too.

Barry Kent MacKay, Senior Program Associate

Published 07/09/10

Mercury rising while major predators decline and governments do nothing.

On Canada Day, July 1st, news broke of a new discovery of a very old whale. The whale, named Leviathan melvillei by the scientists who discovered it, lived and died some 12 to 13 million years ago. The name literally means Melville's sea monster, named after the author of Moby Dick, Herman Melville.

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Lion Burgers

I will not take this lion down

Published 06/25/10

I first heard of “lion burgers” when an e-mail from an animal protection list I’m on urged me to go to a New York Daily News website, and vote in a poll. Typically, the poll questions were over-simplistic. The answers to the question of whether or not the voter approves of burgers containing the meat of a lion were “Yes, Sounds good to me” or “No way. Lions are endangered” and finally, “I don’t know”.

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About 700 Dogs who WON’T be vivisected

Published 06/04/10

It was close to a quarter of a century ago that a group of us, then working with a local humane society, began to fight one of the most insidious pieces of provincial legislations there was, popularly known as “pound seizure”. What made the fight so difficult was this: In Ontario research facilities could only requisition from pounds and shelters certain types of animals (usually dogs) as identified by such characteristics as age, size, gender and so on. But the pounds and shelters did NOT have to turn such animals over. However, they could not kill them (except under dire conditions requiring euthanasia for humane reasons). They could either keep them (even indefinitely), or adopt them out, but could not simply kill them.

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Coyotes: a Tale of two provinces

Published 05/06/10

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, in terms of sanity, science and common sense, as they related to the politically driven business of wildlife management, especially regarding coyotes.

I speak of April, 2010, when the adjoining provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia each announced its respective plans for the “management” of that ever-so-controversial species, the coyote.

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