A couple of weeks ago Toronto’s finest shot to death a coyote that was roaming the streets of Cabbagetown within a block or two of a park that leads down into the Don Valley. The coyote was doing what coyotes usually do at night, roaming around looking for food. The incident was captured on film and it showed the coyote calmly walking around through the neighbourhood, even taking time to have a yawn and avoiding cars as it went. Clearly the poor beast was trying to get away from cops and camera-people as they followed him hither and tither. Then they shot the animal twice and it died. It seemed awfully dangerous to be shooting a gun in a residential neighbourhood that way. What if some person decided at that moment to come out from their backyard to take out their recycle bin? It was just like the wild west. The cops said that the coyote was behaving aggressively even though the film showed nothing of the kind. It had the misfortune of roaming into the wrong neighbourhood, where evidently some people feel that wildlife has no business sharing their space.
This kind of thing breaks my heart. In spite of our cruelties, animals do live amongst us. While we all love to see deer in our parks, why are we surprised to find out that fox and coyotes also come come up from the ravines and rivers that run through the city? Coyotes will eat your small dog or cat, and although rare occurrences, they have attacked humans. What do we do then? Kill them all? Is that a rational response? They are wild animals, but simple precautions can be taken to avoid confrontations, like not letting your cat roam the streets or leaving your Shih Tzu out unattended in your back yard. They’re naturally suspicious of humans (and so they should be). Act aggressively and they won’t come back to visit you. It’s just common sense. Before the cops opened fire in the densely populated residential neighbourhood, no wildlife professionals were consulted, else he or she may have taken away the fun of shooting something. Had they done their due diligence, the cops would have been told that if the habitat is suitable to sustain the life of that coyote, killing it will not stop another one from moving in. I guess since Toronto cops haven’t shot too many mentally ill people lately, their trigger fingers were getting a little itchy.
Too bad no one from Canada Goose was nearby to harvest the fur off that poor beast. Manufacturers of the ubiquitous parkas that adorn Torontonians because we need to wear coyote fur around our faces for survival, Canada Goose justifies killing coyotes because they’re “pest” animals. And they’re popular! No longer just big, boxy overcoats, their parkas are form-fitting and fashionable and are, as Randy Harris from the market research firm Trendex North America states, “the uniform of the inner city aged 16-to-24 year old.” So, for the rest of us urbanites who have lived this long without the need for a strip of coyote fur hanging off the hoods that we rarely use, I guess we’re just lucky we haven’t frozen to death.
Canada Goose insists that real fur is necessary for survival AND is more environmentally sustainable than synthetics. Not so, since animal fur is treated with toxic chemicals so that it doesn’t rot in your closet.
Further, and most importantly, should the coyote have no expectation of the right to live? It’s not by accident that their promotional film, “Precision is Perfection”, which shows how their apparel is made, leaves out the grisly bits about how they kill their coyotes. If anyone isn’t sure what that process looks like, please see the other film here, the one that they don’t want you to see. In spite of Canada Goose’s claims that steel leg-hold traps are things of the past and can only be seen in museums, the leghold trap is legal in every province in Canada and Canada Goose uses them to trap coyotes. While the steel spikes are gone, the trap is no less cruel. There is no hope of survival for the animal unless it chews its leg off. According to Fur Bearer Defenders, “Across Canada, trap check times vary from once every 20 hours to once every 14 days, but such laws are largely unenforceable. An animal who does not die quickly is faced with unrelenting pain and a panic-filled wait, until they are clubbed to death, suffocated, shot or strangled.”
There is nothing humane about this.
Many thanks to:
Furbearerdefenders.com for the use of their photos.
Furtrimisatrap.com for the quote.
Toronto Star for the picture.
Thanks to 680 News for the other film.