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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Aug. 25 2010. Vancouver, BC. A communication from the BC Supreme Court August 24 to the petitioner and the respondent in the Cassells v. University of Victoria injunction explained that Supreme Court Justice Cullen will render his decision on this matter in writing on or before August 30 2010, and his reasons for decision at a later date.
The two parties will be advised on the day preceding the judgment that it will be rendered at 10 am on the following day.
In the meantime the injunction against UVic killing or trapping rabbits on UVic's property is fully in force.
I will advise the rabbit groups, the public, and the media when I receive notice of the pending decision, and will immediately release it to the public when it becomes available to me.
Rabbit sanctuary permit holders continue to negotiate with UVic and the Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders about the conditions surrounding the trapping, the importance of not killing the rabbits, and the necessity for a cooperative approach to the safe, orderly evacuation of all of the campus rabbits to their new sanctuary homes.
Advocates are concerned about the high rate of trapping proposed by UVic, 500 rabbits in the first week alone. This amount of animals can be quickly absorbed into the sanctuaries, but consideration must be given to the number captured in any given time period for a number of reasons.
The permit holders are allowed to "hold" varying numbers of rabbits at any one time.
In this case, to "hold" refers to the time between when the rabbits are trapped, spayed or neutered, and their transfer to sanctuary. While the sanctuary "holds" this number of rabbits, they are not permitted to take in more rabbits or they will be in violation of their Ministry of Environment permits. If UVic traps more that the sanctuaries can reasonably "hold" in a given period of time, they have said they will kill the "extra" rabbits.
Given that UVic knows the holding capacity of each permit holder, and given the fact that they are planning to trap well above that level, it is clear to all concerned that UVic plans to continue killing the rabbits if the injunction against killing is lifted. Permit holders are negotiating with UVic for a revised trapping schedule that would be reasonable, and would not cause the unnecessary deaths of rabbits that would otherwise be placed in forever homes in permitted sanctuaries.
UVic has said as recently as last week that they are under no legal obligation to do a non-lethal population control program, and the Ministry of the Environment has backed them on this, providing letters to the court to this effect. However, correspondence has been made public that reveals the insidious connections between the Ministry of Environment and UVic on the rabbit issue. Despite evidence that the university is using poison to kill the rabbits and has considered shooting the rabbits, both the Ministry of Environment and UVic deny these claims. Correspondence between UVic and the MOE shows that UVic has indeed considered shooting the rabbits. Correspondence between the MOE and members of the public shows that the MOE continues to misrepresent the facts regarding this and other aspects of the rabbit situation, in violation of their duty to these animals under the Wildlife Act. The MOE in their letters has in fact advocated for UVic and spouted some of the rhetoric produced by the Communications Department at UVic, a serious conflict of interest for a government ministry.
Community members hope the injunction remains in place with respect to the section on killing the rabbits (UVic shall not kill the rabbits). With respect to the injunction against UVic trapping rabbits, there is a strong concern about the lifting of this part of the injunction unless safeguards are put in place to protect the rabbits and the interests of their advocates. A reasonable collaborative enforceable agreement is what rabbit advocates are working towards.
see attachments in the body of this email pertaining to the above:
-revised trapping schedule correspondence UVic (Tom Smith) to EARS (Susan Vickery);
- re: revised trapping schedule correspondence EARS (Susan Vickery) to UVic (Tom Smith)
- Minister of Environment Barry Penner letter Aug. 19 2010
- Shooting UVic rabbits docs: press release, MOE correspondence, LGL Environmental Research Consultants report to UVic excerpt, Times Colonist article, student paper at UVic The Martlett article
- Media release re: bromadiolone poison use on UVic rabbits
- Lesley Sanford affidavit on bromadiolone poison use at UVic
- MOE correspondence