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The editorial below points out how much some media has bought into the misinformation about Ontario Black Bears diseminated by radical elements of the animal rights movement, and how much value some media put into being politically correct, rather than ethical. The lack of research, and clear bias of this article is apalling in a newspaper of the Toronto Star's stature. The quality of this article begs the question: Is the Toronto Star a Newspaper or a Gossip Rag which is a waste of the trees it took to print it? The NOTO reply below corrects the misinformation but has not been printed by the Toronto Star.


Toronto Star
www.theStar.com
Editorial: Say no to bear hunt
Dec. 9, 2005. 01:00 AM

Citing the rising number of bears and humans, several major pro-hunting organizations, such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association, are urging the provincial government to reinstate the spring bear hunt.
And MPPs representing Northern Ontario ridings have called on the government to take additional measure to protect residents from bears.
The mauling death of Cambridge physician Dr. Jacqueline Perry in September at a provincial park near Cochrane has added a sense of urgency to those impassioned calls.
But allowing a spring bear hunt, which was cancelled in 1999 by the former Conservative government, is a move Premier Dalton McGuinty should refuse on several grounds.
First, there already is an autumn hunt in which several thousand bears are killed annually. In addition, hunting bears in the spring often leaves cubs orphaned and helpless.
Too often, bears are hunted more for trophy sport than for food. The same does not hold true with hunters of other animals, such as moose, ducks and deer.
Also, the spring hunt will benefit only a few wilderness outfitters and hunting camp operators.
Public opinion surveys indicate most Ontario residents did not support a spring bear hunt when it was cancelled six years ago. It is unlikely that they have changed their minds dramatically.
Hunters may be right when they say that contact between humans and bears is becoming more common. A provincial hotline has received 18 per cent more calls this year than in 2004.
And clearly some businesses do rely on hunting for much-needed income in a region lacking economic opportunity.
However, neither argument carries sufficient weight to consider restoration of the spring bear hunt.
The province is taking steps to reduce contact between bears and humans. One such effort is the 2-year-old Bear Wise program, which has funded 98 community projects and provided teaching materials for schools to ensure people and bears can more peacefully co-exist.
Killing more bears to prevent their encroachment into human territory, though, smacks of the kind of attitude that continues to decimate species across the globe.
Stand firm, Mr. Premier.

Comment on the Toronto Star's Editorial on
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Below is NOTO's reply to the Toronto Star Editorial. Although the Toronto Star mentioned NOTO directly in their editorial, the Toronto Star has not yet printed NOTO's reply to their editorial. Generally it is considered only fair, that organizations and individuals mentioned in an article be allowed to present their side of the story.

The Toronto Star
One Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M5E 1E6
December 14, 2005

Dear sir:

In your editorial of Dec. 9, you suggest that the premier should resist the pressure from MPPs in northern Ontario to reinstate a spring bear hunt. Unfortunately, every one of the arguments you give for not reinstating the hunt is based on incorrect "facts".

You suggest that a spring hunt orphans cubs. Figures from the Ministry of Natural Resources demonstrate that this is clearly not the case. Although it was illegal to shoot sows with cubs, MNR records for the five years preceding the cancellation do not show a single charge being laid, or even warning given for illegally shooting a sow with cubs. Estimates by ministry biologists suggested that orphaning of cubs due to hunting was so low as to be insignificant.

Orphaning of cubs has increased dramatically since the cancellation of the spring hunt. Some are orphaned when their mothers are killed as nuisance bears, but most orphaning probably occurs when the sow is killed defending her cubs from a cannibalistic male bear. Bears are highly territorial, so increasing population density increased this behaviour.

Your editorial also suggests that bears are hunted mainly as trophies, and that the meat is wasted. Again, this is absolutely untrue. It is illegal to waste game meat, including bear, and there is no evidence whatsoever that this meat is commonly wasted. Contrary to the popular myth, black bear meat is absolutely delicious and very easy to prepare. Why would any hunter throw it away? On the other hand, the nuisance bears being killed by local offi cials are being wasted. They are generally disposed of at local dumps, and provide neither food nor economic benefi t to anyone.

You also suggest that the spring hunt brought very little economic benefi t. Most estimates suggest that it was about a $40 million annual activity. In communities struggling with declines in traditional industries like forestry, this is a signifi cant fi gure. Furthermore, the hunt extended the tourism season by six weeks or more and provided an important infusion of income at the very start of the season. Very few tourism operators have found other activities to attract guests during this time, and therefore stay closed. The losses don't stop there. Guests who came to Ontario to hunt in the spring often returned for fi shing or other vacation activities later in the season. Those people now go to Quebec or Manitoba.

A spring hunt for black bears makes sense for the same reasons that hunting other animals in the fall makes sense. Bears are different than moose or deer. They give birth at a different time of year, and their main food needs occur at a different time.

The issue of the spring hunt should not be decided because of nuisance bears. Black bears are a magnifi cent animal and a valuable renewable resource. The fact that the discussion has shifted to nuisance animals and dangerous encounters is sad evidence that black bears are rapidly losing their status as a highly prized big game animal and being regarded as valueless vermin.

Any black bear management strategy should be evaluated on the basis of sustainability of the resource, socio-economic benefi t and humane hunting practices. A well regulated spring hunt clearly meets the test on all of these counts. The cancellation was a mistake, based on misinformation. The time has come for the premier to do the right thing and correct that mistake.

Sincerely,
Doug Reynolds

Executive Director

Comment on Doug Reynold's Reply to the Toronto Star's Editorial on
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PDF of the NOTO Reply to Toronto Star Editorial
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www.OntarioBlackBears.com
Black Bear Picture Link to Home Page

Ontario
Black Bears
Black Bear
Facts

VIDEO
Nursing Mother
Black Bear
Toronto Star
Editorial
 
Black Bear
Politics
Spring
Bear Hunt
NOTO Black Bear
Bulletin Board

Why?

Ontario's Problems With Black Bears
~As Complicated As Nature Itself~

Toronto Star Editorial

NOTO Reply to Toronto Star

NOTO Letter PDF

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