Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Rabbit-shooting ban continues  

2008-10-23 Chuck Poulsen, Kelowna Daily Courier

The city will continue its ban on shooting rabbits, approving instead either adoption or one of two forms of killing after they have been trapped.

“The SPCA has indicated they will take small numbers and there‘s a group out of Vancouver called the Rabbit Advocacy Group that has offered to help find homes for some of them,” said the city‘s Ian Wilson.

“The SPCA has told us there are two forms (of euthanasia) that would be acceptable to them. One is called a penetrating captive bolt, something like a device used in the cattle industry. That would be the preferred method. The other method is lethal injection.”

The bolt is injected into the animal‘s head, then it retracts. It was the weapon of choice by the sociopath hitman Anton Chigurh in the movie No Country for Old Men.

“The biggest problem with injection is that the carcasses can‘t then be provided to wildlife shelters for food,” said Wilson. “They‘ve been providing them as food for raptors and other kinds of wildlife. They can‘t eat the rabbits if there is poison in them.”

The city discontinued the air-gun shooting of the rabbits after an employee from the contractor, EBB Environmental Consulting, was seen stomping a rabbit to death after a pellet failed to kill it. The suspension of air rifle use remains.

“If live trapping is not effective in reducing the number of feral rabbits, the city may revisit the use of air rifles as a rabbit-management technique,” said Wilson. “The public can assist by not feeding the feral rabbits which are more difficult to trap when food sources are readily available.”

The public is also asked to make donations to animal rescue shelters to assist with the cost of housing and spaying and neutering feral rabbits.

Wilson said feral European rabbits have caused severe damage in other areas around the world and could be particularly damaging to Kelowna‘s agricultural industry.


Comment:  The candidates running for office in the November civic election were asked their opinion on whether the program to kill the rabbits should continue.  Their responses

Kelowna will use live traps to cull rabbits

Program was suspended after bunny shot, stomped

Friday, October 24, 2008 Glenda Luymes, The Province

Thousands of Kelowna rabbits could soon be looking for new homes. The City of Kelowna is conducting a rabbit-control program by live-trapping the feral furballs instead of shooting them with air rifles. If rescue groups can't take them, the bunnies will be euthanized.

The rabbit-control program was suspended earlier this month after a worker was seen shooting a rabbit before stomping on its head to kill it. The RCMP decided not to charge the man, an employee of EBB Environmental Consulting, the company contracted to control the city's rabbit population, because he did the most humane thing in rapidly putting the dying animal out of its misery.

But the controversy led the city to put the rabbit cull on hold and re-negotiate its contract with EBB.

The use of air rifles has now been suspended, city forester Ian Wilson said yesterday, adding: "The rabbits will be live-trapped and provided to rescue groups or euthanized. "The good news is that the SPCA will take small numbers and the Rabbit Advocacy Group from Vancouver has also offered to help."

The remaining rabbits will be euthanized in one of two humane ways, including lethal injection or a penetrating captive bolt, a device similar to what is used in the cattle industry. If live-trapping is not effective, the city may revisit the use of air rifles.

Sinikka Crosland, with the animal rescue group TRACS, said the group would like a cut of EBB's contract to build rabbit pens that would allow them to take in some of the rabbits and sterilize them.

"Something should be done because rabbits are getting hurt," she said, referring to reports of angry homeowners taking matters into their own hands, using baseball bats to dispatch the bunnies.

A spokesman for EBB, who did not want to be named, estimates there are several thousand feral European rabbits in the community. The original bunnies, a foreign species, were likely pets released by their owners. 

Comment:  There were the usual idiotic comments posted online in response to this story.  I had to say something.   

Posted: Time to stop with all the moronic comments regarding rabbit stew.  Ever thought that humans are the problem and that there are several billion too many of us destroying the planet?  Carmina 

Note:  It's simply astounding that the self-appointed "superior human species" is in fact so stupid and uncaring about all other life forms we are destroying minute by minute, day by day.  The day can't come soon enough when we become extinct.

Bunny ranks thinned

2008-11-06 Ron Seymour, Kelowna Daily Courier

An estimated three-quarters of Kelowna‘s wild rabbits have been rounded up or killed since control measures started earlier this year. A city-hired firm has exterminated about 400, and The Responsible Animal Care Society has trapped and is caring for about 350 rabbits.

Before the trapping and euthanization programs began in earnest, the rabbit population was estimated at about 1,000 animals. “It does seem that there‘s been a significant reduction in the number of rabbits that are out there,” Ian Wilson, the city‘s pest control supervisor said Wednesday.

The firm contracted by the city, EBB Environmental Consulting, has not caught or killed any rabbits since a moratorium was imposed last month after one of its workers was observed stomping an animal to death.

However, it‘s expected EBB‘s round-up program will begin again within two weeks. After the rabbits are caught, they will be offered to animal protection groups.

The SPCA and the Vancouver-based Rabbit Advocacy Group have indicated they will be able to take small numbers of the rabbits, but TRACS is declining unless the group is compensated. “We‘re already taking care of 350 rabbits that our own members have trapped,” said TRACS spokeswoman Sinnika Crosland.

“Our position is that we would look at taking some of the rabbits that EBB has collected, but we would expect to receive a service fee to help cover the animals‘ spaying or neutering and their feeding,” Crosland said.

The group has raised about $20,000 to cover costs of sterilizing and caring for the rabbits. Roughly half the animals have been sterilized so far. Some of the younger rabbits may be offered as pets, but many of the older ones are too wild to be offered for adoption. Those animals will be kept in pens and allowed to live out the rest of their natural lives, Crosland said.

Meanwhile, she plans to launch a new website today, www.kelownaelection.com, which is designed in part to let voters know how the 36 candidates for city council would deal with the rabbit problem. “This is a totally political endeavour, something I‘m doing myself as a private citizen, and not related to TRACS, which is a charitable society,” Crosland said.

At Monday‘s meeting, council gave preliminary approval to a new bylaw that would make it illegal for people to feed wild rabbits. It would also make property owners responsible for ensuring there are no wild rabbits on their land. Fines would be set at $100, though, as with all bylaws, the city‘s aim is education, more than enforcement.

“It would probably only be repeat offenders, people who keep feeding the rabbits after they‘ve been warned once, who would be fined,” Wilson said.

Rabbits to be Killed by Bolt to the Head 

For Immediate Release November 21, 2008
First shooting, stomping, then talk of lethal injection...what next? 
The captive bolt. 

Kelowna, B.C.: Since an employee of EBB Environmental Consulting was caught stomping a rabbit wounded by pellet fire, the Kelowna rabbit massacre was brought to a standstill, ending at a toll of 400 animals.  Lethal injection was the next disposal method under consideration, but since the resulting toxins render rabbit carcasses unfit for consumption by animals in wildlife centres, City Parks officials in Kelowna have come up with yet another killing method.  This is the penetrating captive bolt strategy, which drives a metal rod into an animal's brain.   

"How in the world are they going to restrain these frightened rabbits properly in order to assure a humane kill?" asks Sinikka Crosland, President of TRACS.  "I have personally viewed ten hours of kill box footage taken at a horse slaughter plant, and numerous horses were not adequately stunned by the first bolt.  The target area on a rabbit's head is so much smaller.  Add to that a thoroughly terrified rabbit, and we have a recipe for a lot of suffering." 

EBB has not offered any caught rabbits to TRACS.  As of Wednesday this week, they had not offered any to the local SPCA branch, nor to the Rabbit Advocacy Group in Vancouver.  To date TRACS has taken 350 rabbits off Kelowna streets.  These animals are being cared for in foster homes and sanctuaries. 

City Parks and EBB rely heavily on AVMA guidelines to determine humane methods of killing the animals.  Although these guidelines list "laboratory rabbits" under the captive bolt category, another section cautions:  "Use of the penetrating captive bolt is an acceptable and practical method of euthanasia for horses, ruminants and swine.  It is conditionally acceptable in other appropriate species."  The guidelines also state that death may not occur if the equipment is not maintained and used properly. 

It is the view of TRACS that City Parks' lethal management strategies for rabbits have to date been cruel and totally unacceptable.  

What will it take for Kelowna to rise above engaging in animal cruelty and consider humane, non-lethal intervention instead? 

For more information, please phone TRACS:  250-768-4803.

Comment:  The Rabbit Advocacy Group has been in contact with EBB and the City of Kelowna, and have been informed that the SPCA has received fifteen rabbits and are at capacity.  We will be receiving ten or so next week, but that is all.  Please contact Mayor Shepherd and Council that you do not want to see any more rabbits destroyed.  Time is of the essence!

E-mail mayorandcouncil@kelowna.ca or phone 250-469-8687.

November 29/08  We drove to Kelowna and picked up the rabbits that were being held for us.  All seemed in good health so made appointments to have them sterilized.  One of the females was pregnant and we made the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy.  There were six fetuses.  To date just over 400 rabbits have been saved and roughly that many destroyed. 

Some of our rescues:


December 5/08  It's apparent that more rabbits are going to have their lives terminated, all because of the human species.  EBB is busy at night, and while some lives have been saved, too many have not.  We control, destroy, use, and abuse all other beings with reckless abandon, which leads me to concur with W.S. Gilbert: "Man is nature's sole mistake." 

December 10, 2008  We received news that the "rabbit stomper" is on the prowl again in the Hardy Road area and so is the "shooter" that EBB used in October.  The dark grey 4x4 truck, license plate number, 5005 KD, is the same one that was reported a couple of months ago.  The city has not ended its contract with EBB, and EBB hasn't fired the retired police officer (who, with his daughter) were caught inflicting terrible suffering and cruelty on a rabbit.

January, 2009  Carmina Gooch remains in contact with the City of Kelowna with regards to further assistance for the remaining rabbits that have not yet been trapped.  We are able to take in a few more, and will provide additional financial help to TRACS or to City, depending on what arrangements will be made by Council within the next few weeks.  To date 427 rabbits have been killed/murdered by EBB using an air rifle while TRACS has taken in roughly that many, another 100 have been put down, and about 30 more adopted to other groups.      

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