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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!)

A Winning Streak for International Ignorance? Does He Have a Point or Two?

Rex Murphy, seal hunt advocate, strikes again

Published 09/03/10

So, here we go again. On Aug. 30, Rex Murphy — famous in Canada for being a hyper-articulate commentator on everything, and fiercely defensive of all things Canadian, including the east coast seal hunt and Alberta oil sands — launched another diatribe against his avowed enemy: us. “Us” in this case includes everyone who is opposed to the seal hunt. Murphy, like the government, fur industry and Inuit, pretty well lumps so-called traditional and modest subsistence hunting for ringed and bearded seals by Inuit hunters with the vast commercial slaughter of whelping harp seals off the east coast early each spring.

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Why the Inuit defend the seal hunt

Published 08/23/10

To ban or not to ban — that is the question!

The breaking news late in the afternoon of August 19 was bewildering. It appeared, according to news quotes from Canadian fisheries minister Gail Shea, that the European Union (EU) ban on importing products from Canada’s east coast seal hunt had been overturned.

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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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