Environment

animal protection, England animal protection, England no-kill rabbits

UK Rabbit Policy Illustrates Animal Protection Conflicts

November 25, 2008 12:25 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
England’s farmers are frustrated by the government’s no-kill rabbit policy, an example of the often-conflicting viewpoints regarding animal protection.

Farmers Face Pests

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Farmers in England’s countryside have long been able to direct neighbors “to kill rabbits if the animals get out of control,” but a new government policy has negated that ability, reasoning that the rabbit population is lower than it used to be. Now, farmers and landowners are up in arms, complaining that the new policy favors animal protection while neglecting “the realities of rural life,” reported the Daily Telegraph.

Rabbits are quite damaging to a variety of crops, including wheat and potatoes, causing millions of dollars in crop damage each year. In light of the new policy, farmers expect a rabbit population “explosion” at a particularly inopportune time, when food supply and the economy are in peril, according to the Daily Telegraph.

In the Western United States and Canada, landowners have faced similar issues. For example, Wisconsin farmers must contend with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruling that placed the gray wolf on the endangered species list. The wolf population is expected to increase as a result, putting livestock at risk, and leaving wolves more susceptible to “disease and starvation,” according to an editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal.

In Ontario, the spring black bear hunt has been cancelled for the past nine years, resulting in massive overpopulation. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters says bears have been reduced “to the status of vermin,” interrupting campsites and backyards, sometimes attacking people.

Related Topic: Killing to contain animals

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