In the last year OSMA has made several other moves on predation. At the 2008 Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) Annual General Meeting OSMA brought forward a resolution requesting the formation of a Task Team on predation. This Task Team was formed in February, with representatives from the OFA, the Ontario Cattleman’s Association (OCA), the Anglers and Hunters and the Fur Managers among others. We put together a list of tools we would like to see available to producers to control predation. The OFA has taken this list to the Ministries of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Natural Resources (MNR) in its lobbying efforts.
In October the Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada organized a Round Table on predation. There were attendees from all across Canada, and various government departments. This was mainly a review of the different tools available across Canada. Several provinces have many more control methods than Ontario. The CSF is collecting information on the cost of predation to farmers, to be used in lobbying efforts.
At the 2009 OFA Annual General Meeting, the following resolution, moved by OSMA and seconded by OCA was passed.
“Whereas farmers are losing livestock to coyote predation in ever increasing numbers; and Where it is no longer the furtive, fugitive and rarely seen lone coyote that is preying on farm livestock, but rather packs of ravenous coyotes; and Whereas coyote predation occurs year round, but coyote pelts only have
value during late fall and winter, removing any incentive for trappers and hunters to remove nuisance coyotes; and Whereas some municipalities are compensating trappers and hunters for the costs of taking nuisance coyotes; and Whereas the uneven availability of this incentive puts farmers in municipalities
that do not offer this incentive at a competitive disadvantage versus farmers in municipalities that do offer this incentive. Therefore be it resolved that the Ontario Federation of Agriculture lobby the provincial government to pay trappers and hunters for removing problem coyotes from agricultural land.”
During the year producers have taken many opportunities to lobby their MPPS on the predation issue. OSMA has also been urging any producer who suffers predation losses to contact OMAFRA and MNR on the issue. A template letter is available on the OSMA website. The OFA has also made wildlife damage to farming one of its main lobbying efforts. Despite all these efforts this provincial government has been most unresponsive to any requests for either more tools or increased compensation. The Task Team had to wait several months for even a formal acknowledgement of its requests. It has been most frustrating for those involved. The reality of the situation is that farmers have very few votes and the anti-hunting and anti-wildlife management lobbies in the cities have a lot of votes. When it comes to compensation the government always cries poverty, though there seems to be plenty of money for the automobile industry. Perhaps we should threaten to move our farms to Mexico if we don’t get increased compensation. OSMA will continue to work with other organizations on these issues, but it is an uphill struggle. Farmers will have to continue to rely largely on their own efforts to protect their livestock and livelihoods.
More articles on Predation: