Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Rabbit cull firm faces threats

August 13, 2008 Chuck Poulsen, Kelowna Daily Courier

The company hired to kill feral rabbits has received threats from people who plan to disrupt the culling. The company, EBB Environmental Consulting, is scheduled to start the culling “soon,” but Ian Wilson, the city‘s urban forester, said he doesn‘t want to give an exact date.

“It‘s in the works, but EBB has received a few threats,” said Wilson. “Some people want to upset what‘s going on.” The city has hired EBB for a rabbit-control plan that includes killing and trapping. Most of the rabbits are around Enterprise Way, but the city has had calls about rabbits in the downtown, Mission and Glenmore.

Sinnika Crosland, the head of The Responsible Animal Care Society, which is trying to rescue and relocate the rabbits, said her group is not behind the threats. “We‘ve been vocal, but we haven‘t threatened the company,” said Crosland. “I haven‘t a clue who has, but there are a lot of disgruntled people out there. A lot of people are very upset about this.”

Meanwhile, the SPCA is urging the city to pass a proposed bylaw to ban the sale or adoption of unsterilized rabbits.

“It is very upsetting that the city is having to deal with these animals through a cull, and we have to look at ways to prevent this from happening again,” said Sara Dubois, manager of wildlife services for the B.C. SPCA. She said one of the root causes of feral rabbit populations is people who purchase rabbits as pets and abandon them in city parks or other areas when they tire of the responsibility of caring for the animals.

“They think rabbits can fend for themselves, but in reality many of them succumb to terrible deaths through starvation, disease, predators or by running into traffic,” she said. “Those who do survive multiply rapidly, causing the type of rampant rabbit overpopulation that we‘ve witnessed in Kelowna.”

Wilson said the proposed bylaw is only one of four designed to deal with the problem. He said the sterilization bylaw would even outlaw possession of rabbits that haven‘t been spayed or neutered.

Other bylaws would forbid feeding any wildlife in parks or public places, require that feral rabbits be contained on the property of owners and require that people raising rabbits do so in clean conditions. He said the bylaws are being reviewed by the city‘s lawyer and may come before council in September.

Dubois said that 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 Act. “There is no doubt that the suffering of the feral rabbits in Kelowna and the subsequent need to cull them is, in part, the result of irresponsible humans who failed to provide the proper care for their domestic rabbits,” said Dubois.

“While it is difficult to catch people in the act of dumping animals, a bylaw preventing the sale or adoption of unsterilized rabbits would at least help prevent the rapid growth of feral populations.”

Rabbit cull methods revealed

August 13, 2008 Kelly Hayes - Story: 41121 Castanet.net

It's all systems go for the campaign to rid Kelowna of its rabbit problem. Kelowna has been plagued by an explosion of feral rabbits, prompting the City to hire an environmental consulting company to deal with the issue. Animal rights groups and the BCSPCA has been demanding the City release what methods will be used to deal with the animals.

The City released the list Wednesday. Ian Wilson with the City of Kelowna says three methods will be used.

"The first one is live trapping, followed by providing the live animals to rabbit rescue groups or to wildlife shelters. The second one is live trapping followed by lethal injection, which is akin to putting an animal down in a veterinary facility. The third one is the use of an air-rifle and the euthanized animals would be provided to wildlife shelters (food). It's a high-powered air-rifle that I guess is similar to a regular one except for the fact it doesn't make the same noise."

Wilson wasn't sure if the projectile would be pellets or bullets. He says every effort will be made to have the rabbits relocated to shelters, but says some will have to be destroyed.

"We agree with some of the groups that we would like to try to preserve as many of the animals as we can, but we feel there are too many to rescue them all and have them spayed or neutered. We understand that TRACS has rescued up to 250 animals which is great."

Wilson says something has to be done now because the rabbits are spreading into farming communities. "That's a major concern because they can cause major damage in the agricultural community. That's already happened at one farm where they've attacked the young apple trees."
He says there are more than 700 feral rabbits in Kelowna.

Wilson says he can't reveal when the campaign will begin because the company hired to do the job has been receiving threats from animal lovers, but says it will start within the next 30 days. The BCSPCA says it doesn't have a problem with the three methods proposed

Rabbit beaters arrested

August 13, 2008 Kelly Hayes - Story: 41105
Kelowna RCMP have collared a couple of rabbit beaters.

The male suspects were arrested shortly after
2:30 Wednesday morning following reports of two people attempting to beat rabbits with sticks in the area of Harvey Avenue and Cooper Road.

A 24-year-old man and 14-year-old boy were arrested at the scene. They have since been released and police say that charges are pending.

Kelowna's feral rabbit problem is being addressed by an environmental consultant which plans on trapping the animals soon.

August 15, 2008

To: Vancouver Province

Re: Sickening Cull 

Dear Editor, 

Regarding Melanie Barron's letter of August 15th expressing her outrage over the killing or proposed killings of black bears, beavers, and seals, let me add another species.  Kelowna's about to "cull" a significant number of feral rabbits.  Rabbits that were once pets, and then dumped outdoors.  True to human form, now that they've become a nuisance, it's time to bump them off. 

Time to reduce our population, I'd say. 

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver

August 15, 2008 

To: Kelowna Capital News 

Re: Imminent rabbit kill 

Dear Editor, 

Regarding the imminent feral rabbit kill by EBB Environmental Consulting, endorsed by the City of Kelowna, I'm not surprised at the public's response.  We cannot continue to take the lives of other creatures, for no other reason than we can.  These rabbits didn't ask to be dumped by their previous 'owners' and are only doing what they need to do in order to survive.  Rabbit advocates and animal welfarists have lobbyed local governments for years to create bylaws that would see the sale of unsterilized rabbits, banned.  No municipality was willing to do so.  Pet store owners weren't obliging and the BC SPCA continued to partner with Petcetera, a major offender.  

Finally, expanding populations got everybody's attention.  And now these rabbits are forced to pay the ultimate price of human stupidity and years of inaction.  And what timing, it's Worldwide Rabbit Appreciation Day, August 24th. 

Carmina Gooch
Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC
North Vancouver

New information:  Evidently the killing of Kelowna's feral rabbits is on hold.  Maybe the strong public condemnation and the threats EBB has allegedly received has forced the postponement.  We're closely keeping an eye on this situation so don't let it die. Due to ongoing pressure, the City of Kelowna was forced to reveal the "cull" methods.  And as we know, where there's a lack of transparency there's often a lack of accountability. 

Keep writing and phoning Kelowna City Hall and the media.  KEEP THE STORY AND THE RABBITS ALIVE.

Reported on August 22nd, Castanet News.  During spring break two children "rescued" three bunnies from the large population in east Kelowna and brought them to the District of Westside. TRACS has been contacted by the city to capture and relocate the rabbits who have now multiplied to fifteen.  Where has the BC SPCA been all these years for the rabbits?  Certainly not leading the way.  In fact, this animal "welfare" agency turned a blind eye to their business partner, Petcetera, selling intact bunnies as young as four - five weeks old, while populations of abandoned rabbits grew, and their organization killed the unwanted. Tell the BC SPCA to SPEAK FOR RABBITS! 

Meanwhile, donations to help the Kelowna bunnies can be sent to TRACS. http://www.tracs-bc.ca/index.html  

Read more: Rabbit extermination causes uproar   

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