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!)
I will not take this lion down
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”.
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.
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.
How the Supremes’ decisions will hurt animals and our shared environment
Last month the U.S. Supreme Court made two rulings that will negatively impact on me, a Canadian citizen living in Canada, and I’m as angry as I am so very powerless to do a damn thing about it.
Political scandals are such fun for those of us who don’t like the party involved, and we Canadians enjoyed (well, I certainly did) a juicy one recently when a guy by the name of Maxime Bernier left some documents behind after visiting his girlfriend’s apartment in May 2008. At the time, Bernier was the federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, the documents were classified, and the lady, Julie Couilliard, had been in relationships with some shady characters, one an associate of a Hells Angels leader imprisoned for killing a couple of prison guards, the other a gangster who died in a gangland slaying.
A few weeks ago, we were contacted by a man named Erick in New York asking what could be done about the culling of Canada geese in New York, as a result of the infamous crash of a U.S. Airways flight earlier this year. Thanks to a heroic captain and crew, the plane landed safely in the Hudson River as the world sat glued to the videos of the crash, which spread like wildlife across the Internet.
Defending the pit bulls: the ones that don’t wear lipstick
I am in contempt of court. Literally. Two years ago, as the older of my beloved dogs reached the end of her life and needed my constant attention, I got a preliminary questionnaire on my eligibility for jury duty. No way. I did everything I could to convince them I was not suited to serve, and had that not worked, I’d have paid the substantial fine rather than leave my dog. There are reasons why one can be excused from jury duty, but caring for loved ones who are not human is not one of them. Fortunately, I was successful in convincing them that I’d make a lousy juror.
If you’re Canadian, there’s a good chance you are aware that Rex Murphy is a well-known Canadian commentator most visible as a once-per-week commentator on “Point of View,” an editorial on The National, which is flagship TV news show of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). There he is usually indignant, eloquent, supercilious, and highly critical of whatever irks him. He also often hosts a phone-in radio show, Cross Country Checkup, also on the CBC, every Sunday afternoon. There he is normally polite, balanced, and gracious, having a few special guests informed on the topic of the day, plus listeners who call in with their own opinions.