The use of live bait
to train hunting dogs
Ontario’s Bill 91 re-introduces Train and Trial Compounds – Is Quebec next?
By Georges R. Dupras
September 14, 2023
It appears that the Ontario government has successfully re-introduced the “Train and Trial Compounds” for hunting dogs. Premier Ford’s Government is attempting to secure votes from the hunters and anglers of that province. Only a few years back, another provincial party in Ontario successfully wooed the hunting market by re-introducing the spring bear hunt, which had been cancelled by a previous government. There was no justification and little to no economic benefit behind the spring bear hunt – just a need to kill.
Included in Bill 91
The Minister assures us that no animals will be killed within these compounds though Section 38 of the Regulations allows for the discharge of firearms to euthanize “sick or injured wildlife.” Coyotes and foxes are trapped and released into these killing enclosures where, depending on the size of the compound, 50 or more dogs are let loose to harass, chase to exhaustion and sometimes kill them. The species of wild animals that are to be chased dictates the required size of the killing grounds, which are entirely fenced. The use of coyotes requires the largest compounds, foxes and rabbits.
Coyotes and foxes are trapped and released into these killing enclosures where, depending on the size of the compound, 50 or more dogs are let loose to harass, chase to exhaustion and sometimes kill them.
The Minister wants to allow more hunting compound facilities to prevent the “sport” from moving underground. Two now-retired Conservation Officers (Maw and Lintack) have stated that “Having more of these compounds will only increase this cruelty and illegal activities.”
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act already prohibits dogs from running wildlife on the landscape as set out except in the act and regulations for the Train and Trial Compounds. That said, why doesn’t the Minister simply enforce the Act and not extend the cruelty with new compounds?
Compounds are allowed to buy foxes raised on fur farms, animals who have never been out of captivity. How can these animals ever begin to defend themselves?
Violence, a conditioned characteristic
The Ontario Dog Association reports in one letter that over two dozen children attended these training sessions during a three-day period. How are young people to process these acts of violence?
Not to suggest that I, in any way, support this activity, but I would think that scent tracking could easily be used to replace live animal baits.
This document, ratified by Mr. Ford, comes into effect in 2024 despite opposition from humane societies across the country. When the Game and Fish Act was amended in 1997, Premier Harris agreed to a phase-out of Train and Trial Compounds.
‘The Ontario Dog Association reports in one letter that over two dozen children attended these training sessions during a three-day period. How are young people to process these acts of violence?’
Here in Quebec, during the Jean Charest tenure, a similar trial was implemented in the Sherbrooke region of this province but in this case, dogs were used to hunt bears. At that time, I was told by the head of the big game section of the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources that no government biologist supported the use of dogs. It was decided that the use of dogs to hunt bears not be permitted in Quebec.
Insult to injury
Public consultation is a farce. The Ontario government posted its intention to amend the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, seeking input from Ontarians. The posting was on April 3, the same day that Bill 91 received its First reading. The comment period closed on May 18 and Bill 91 received Royal Assent on June 8.
Anyone interested in joining our efforts to stop the proliferation of these facilities can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 416 462-9541.
Georges R. Dupras
Animal Alliance of Canada
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of WestmountMag.ca, its publishers or editors.
Feature image: Connor Martin – Pexels
Read also: other articles by Georges Dupras
Georges R. Dupras has advocated for animals for over fifty years. A member of the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA), a Director of the Animal Alliance of Canada (AAC), Quebec Representative of Zoocheck Canada and past Board member of the Canadian SPCA, he worked on the original Save the Seal campaign in 1966 that culminated in the founding of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 1969. Georges Dupras has published two books, Values in Conflict and the eBook Ethics, a Human Condition, and currently lives in Montreal, Canada.