Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Wildlife Act Review 2007

New Protection for Wildlife and the Public

VICTORIA – The Environmental (Species and Public Protection) Amendment Act, introduced on April 16, 2008 by Environment Minister Barry Penner, makes amendments to the Wildlife Act and the Environmental Management Act (EMA).

The Wildlife Act, the legislative foundation for the interaction of people and wildlife in B.C. going back to the 1800s, has not had a major rewrite in 25 years. Since that time, new issues have arisen in the management of wildlife.

“These amendments to the Wildlife Act will allow us to fill in regulatory gaps for managing alien species, such as snakes and tigers, and help us protect both the public and native wildlife,” said Penner. “We are also increasing maximum fines and penalties for poaching to up to $250,000 and two years in jail, sending a clear signal that we won’t tolerate illegal hunting.”

Amendments to the Wildlife Act will add new authority to regulate ownership of harmful alien species and double fines for wildlife violations. In addition, park rangers will be given greater enforcement power, while new provisions will govern the feeding of wildlife, hunting rules, and the guide outfitting industry.

“We’re pleased that the amendments to the Wildlife Act include increased penalties for those who choose to flaunt the regulations,” said Patti MacAhonic, executive director of the B.C. Wildlife Federation. “Stiffening the fines and penalties will act as a deterrent by sending a message to would-be offenders that there’s a high price to pay for their misdeeds.”

The legislation introduced on April 16, 2008 provides authority to address the possessing, breeding, release, trafficking, shipping or transportation of alien species such as tigers and venomous snakes and other species that are potentially hazardous to public safety or native wildlife. Under the amendments, the minister will be able to prohibit or regulate the keeping of listed alien species, making it an offence to acquire, possess or sell them, except as authorized in regulation. Up until now, the government of B.C. has not had authority to take such measures with respect to alien species because they do not fall under the definition of “wildlife” in the act.

“Giving the environment minister the authority under the act to regulate exotic species that could be considered a threat to public safety is a valuable tool,” said Sara Dubois, manager of Wildlife Services for the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “It can be used by our officers, who have sometimes in the past found themselves at a loss in dealing with situations involving dangerous exotic animals.”

Park rangers will have increased authority to monitor hunting and fishing activities to ensure those activities are being done in accordance with the Wildlife Act.

The legislation authorizes the environment minister to make regulations that restrict the feeding and attracting of certain wildlife in specific areas. This will make it easier for the ministry to deal with wildlife feeding problems where and when they arise, and to enhance public safety.

In addition to these amendments to the Wildlife Act, the Environmental (Species and Public Protection) Amendment Act also amends sections of the Environmental Management Act to clarify the scope of the government’s authority concerning spill response and cost recovery, and to improve general regulation-making powers for results-based regulations and minister’s codes of practice.

For all the details on this and other new legislation, please visit: http://www.leg.bc.ca/38th4th/1st_read/gov29-1.htm

Comment: The European rabbit or domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), like other mammals released into the environment are placed in "Class C" regulations, a classification that is afforded very little, or no protection.  While releasing domestic rabbits into the wild is a criminal act under the Criminal Code of Canada and an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, the PCA Act does not apply to "wildlife," under B.C.'s Wildlife Act.  The Definition of Domestic Animal in Section 26 (2) under Regulation 8 was not amended to include the European rabbit.  Inappropriate terms like "pest" or "nuisance" wildlife also remain under the Act.

British Columbia is home to one native species of hare (Snowshoe Hare; Lepus americanus) and two native species of rabbits (White-tailed Jackrabbit; Lepus townsendii and Nuttall’s Cottontail; Sylvilagus nuttalli). Vancouver Island does not have any native species of hares or rabbits.

Schedule A of the Wildlife Act Designation and Exemption Regulation lists all species of the family Leporidae -hares and rabbits -as "wildlife. This means that any rabbit in BC is "wildlife" and human interference with them is regulated under the Wildlife Act. Ownership in all "wildlife" is vested in the government of BC and a person does not acquire a right of property in any wildlife except in accordance with a permit or licence.

The ministry does not give out possession permits to keep wildlife as pets, except for the following uses:

- For use in zoos [for commercial use where such use does not adversely affect the public interest];

- To an individual with recognized qualifications or a scientific institution to conduct research in a region [only the Director may issue a permit where scientific research is to be conducted in more than one region];

- The keeping of wildlife under the provisions of the Game Farm Act or the Fur Farm Act are not covered by this policy.

A person can take a feral rabbit from the wild, and keep it without a possession permit, once taken they can also transport this feral rabbit without a permit.  They cannot release this feral rabbit back to the wild without a permit [unless they are releasing the rabbit within 1 km of capture site and within 24 hours of capture], nor can they give this feral rabbit to another person, without that person requiring a possession permit to do so.

BC SPCA Protecting Wildlife & Pets

March 20, 2014 Province takes aim at feral pigs, B.C. government actions

Learn More: Province of BC invasive species website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/invasive-species

Invasive Species Council of British Columbia: http://www.bcinvasives.ca

Government Legislation UK: Under the Pests Act 1954, it is legal to kill rabbits humanely by gassing, trapping, snaring, shooting or fencing. Landowners are responsible for controlling the number of rabbits on their land and ensuring they do not cause damage. Rabbits cause British agriculture around £100 million of damage every year, according to Natural England. (2011 stats)

Comment: Man is a blight upon this planet and has caused the most damage, bar none.

Read about the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland and one man’s campaign against this barbaric entertainment that passes as sport in Ireland.  Bad Hare Days