I am writing to express my support for the progressive reforms the city of Bracebridge has proposed to safeguard the wellbeing of animals and their coexistence with humans. The initiative to restrict wildlife feeding is a significant stride in mitigating conflicts between humans and animals, including vehicular accidents and rodent-related problems. Reducing such incidents will minimize the spread of diseases among wild animals as well as promote their independence from human interaction.
Nonetheless, I am deeply concerned that the exemption allowing for the feeding of songbirds would be a big mistake, and a missed opportunity to effectively reduce rodent problems as well as the hazards of rodenticides (rat poisons).
Scattered seeds around bird feeders are inevitable, and known to attract rodent families seeking a free meal. Last year I learned the hard way that this can mean inviting poisoned prey for our pets. I, too, used to feed the birds with the best of intentions. Unfortunately the mice, squirrels, and flying squirrels visiting my feeder were also dining on poisoned baits at my neighbour’s house. Suffering and slow, they were easy for Torchy, our once spunky rescue dog to catch. She suffered too, and ultimately died of liver failure due to the bioaccumulation (build-up) of rodenticides.
Since Torchy’s death, I have learned a great deal about rodenticides – these highly toxic compounds take days to weeks to kill. In that time, animals continue to consume the deliciously flavoured baits – far beyond a lethal dose. As they begin to feel sick, they spend more time in the open where they are easily consumed by owls, foxes, skunks, racoons, and many others.
Animal poisoning has become increasingly common in our area. In addition to family pets (~1 per week according to Cavan Hills Veterinary Services), a recent study in Ontario found that 62% of the owls tested showed positive for rodenticides in their livers.
More effective, humane solutions to rodent control do exist, but proactive measures are key. That is, preventing access to food (including bird food) and shelter on the property thereby removing attractants, locating and closing off all entry points, and maintaining these measures.
Please DO NOT use rodenticides. Simcoe Wildlife Removal offers humane and chemical-free pest control services in our area and guarantees their work. (No, I am not sponsored to recommend them).
Thank you for reading.
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