hunting and fishing ontario

People are fighting against a change coming to Ontario law that is being called cruel

A new proposal the Government of Ontario has put forth to change a law in the province has people up in arms over what would be blatant cruelty to animals for the sake of the sport of hunting with dogs.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is pushing an amendment to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to allow an expansion of grounds used to train hunting dogs.

These "train and trial areas" are enclosed spaces where species like cottontail rabbits, red foxes, coyotes and snowshoe hares are held captive and used as prey for dogs to learn how to pick up scents, track and pursue wild animals.

These facilities already exist in Ontario, but there have been no additional spaces opened since 1997, as they "were intended to be phased-out over time," the proposal notes.

Now the government is trying to permit new licenses for such areas to be granted, and existing ones to be transferred, as "over time, the ministry has received requests for changes to allow dog train and trial areas to continue to persist."

But it doesn't seem there is much, if any, support from the public at this time.

Many are calling the method of dog training "terrible," "barbaric," and downright animal cruelty, and organizations have arranged petitions not only against allowing it to continue, but encouraging it to grow.

The Toronto Wildlife Centre is among those speaking up against the proposal in recent weeks, deeming it an archaic practice of inhumane treatment of wildlife.

"The victims of this practice — like timid coyotes, frightened foxes, peaceful cottontails — can be legally trapped and taken from their homes," the group wrote in a social media post raising awareness of the issue.

"Torn away from their families, these animals are then forced into pens to live the rest of their lives experiencing intense fear, trauma and extreme stress as they are horrifically chased down by dogs on a regular basis."

The Animal Protection Party of Canada has likewise condemned the move, wondering how it can be considered ethical and noting that residents are shocked by the legislation.

"Some of the compounds have as many as fifty guys training their dogs weekly," the group writes in an open letter published earlier this week, adding that training and trialling events and hunting dog competitions are also held at these facilities in the name of "sport."

"How would running dogs in a competition over a three-day period be humane even if the wild animals were not killed? This activity cannot be considered humane by any animal welfare standard."

The leader of the party also called on the government to go back to its original plan of gradually eliminating these compounds altogether, which it is now backtracking on.

Even some hunters seem opposed to the change, with one saying in a popular Reddit thread on the topic, " I am someone who hunts and I will say everyone I have spoken to is against this. Even those who bring dogs to hunt are against this. This isn't hunting this is cruelty and goes against conservation."

hunting and fishing ontarioOthers in the comment section agreed that it could be considered "straight-up cruelty" and is "against everything hunting stands for," on top of being so extremely far from the changes Ontarians actually want to see made by the government.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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