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ACTION ALERT: Ontario proposes new penned dog hunting licenses

Posted May 1st, 2023 in Blog

The Ontario Government is proposing amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to allow new licenses for dog train and trial areas, also known as penned dog hunting facilities.

These operations were phased-out in 1997 and existing facilities were grandfathered in. There are still 24 facilities operating in the province, but these proposed changes would allow more facilities to be opened in the province. The consultation period is only open until May 18, 2023 – ACT TODAY to reject the province’s proposal to allow new licenses for dog hunting pens.

What are dog train and trial areas?

  • Dog train and trial areas are enclosed pens where hunters train dogs to hunt wildlife (train) and run competitions for hunting dogs (trial).
  • Operators acquire wild animals and hold them captive, using them to train dogs in these pens.
  • Wild foxes and coyotes are captured through trapping, rabbits are purchased from existing facilities or through other means authorized by the Ministry.
  • Foxes, coyotes, and rabbits are kept in captivity in these facilities, used in the hunting pens to train dogs or in competitions.

What are the proposed changes?

  • In 1997, the Ontario Government phased-out train and trial areas, grandfathered the existing facilities, prohibited the transfer of licenses, and ended the issuance of licenses for new facilities.
  • The proposed changes will allow for:
    • the issuance of new licenses through a one-time, 90-day application period; and,
    • the transfer of existing licenses to new operators.

What this means for wildlife
Hunting pens are inhumane and unethical. Wild animals such as foxes, coyotes, and rabbits are captured and held in captivity only to be subjected to cruelty, abuse, and suffering through the training and trialing of hunting dogs. These archaic facilities have no place in today’s society.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s proposed changes demonstrate the complete disrespect towards wild animals by catering to the requests of hunters (the ministry’s notice states: “Over time, the ministry has received requests for changes to allow dog train and trial areas to continue to persist, including allowing for licence transfers in response to aging licence holders, as well as new licences to be issued.”)
Take Action! 
The province is asking for feedback on these changes in a public consultation period until May 18, 2023. It’s important to submit comments to prevent these cruel facilities from expanding.

Follow these steps to provide feedback:

1. Click this link to go to the consultation page: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-3685
2. Click the blue ‘Submit a Comment’ box on the left side
3. You have the option to register for an account or submit a comment anonymously. If you do not wish to register, click the blue ‘Comment without registering’ box.
4. Enter your comment on the next page                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

It’s best to submit comments in your own words, but as guidance, you can include some of these points in your submission:

  • I firmly reject the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s proposal to allow new licenses and the transfer of licenses for train and trial areas in Ontario.
  • Penned dog hunting facilities are cruel to wild animals that are subjected to various methods used to train dogs to hunt.
  • Wildlife should never be taken from their natural environments and held captive by hunters. It’s especially cruel to use rabbits, coyotes, and foxes as pawns for hunters to train dogs and hold competitions.
  • Opening applications for train and trial spaces after 25 years is a massive step backward into the past. These facilities have no place in Ontario.
  • Instead of opening new applications, the province’s existing 24 facilities need to be closed immediately.

Spread the word and help more people take action by sharing this post with your communities and on social media!

Please take this important next step! Contact your MPP and express your thoughts about this proposal. Use our one-click form below or find your MPP from the list here: https://www.ola.org/en/members/current

Coyote Watch Canada