Former UVic bunnies shot -

Former UVic bunnies shot

UPDATED: Feral rabbits escape from sanctuary onto neighbouring farm


Feral rabbits relocated from the University of Victoria to a sanctuary in Coombs, on Vancouver Island, escaped to a neighbouring farm where they were shot. Barbara Smith, a former lawyer, returned to her farm after the weekend to find around 90 rabbits on her property. She called a trapper who shot at least 30 animals on Tuesday.

“I am a farmer and these things are inherently dangerous. They are akin to rats,” Smith who blames the government for allowing rabbits onto the rural sanctuary, told the Vancouver Sun.  “They have dumped UVic’s problem on us, created an environmental disaster zone and walked away.” It is legal to shoot wildlife so long as firearms are not used close to homes.

Wendy Huntbatch of the World Parrot Refuge, the Coombs sanctuary that has taken in some of the former UVic rabbits, says smith’s actions were rash and uncalled for. “This was just so unnecessary. This was just someone being angry,” she told the Sun.

UVic has already removed approximately 400 rabbits from its campus, as part of a plan to relocate the roughly 1,400  animals that had taken over the university. The sanctuary in Coombs is just one of several taking in the rabbits.

UPDATE: Rabbit activist Roslyn Cassells filed a complaint to the Law Society of B.C. against Smith. “This is not acceptable [behaviour] from any citizen and especially a lawyer” Cassells said. The law society has the power to sanction lawyers if they act in a way unbecoming of the legal profession, including actions outside their legal work.

Lesley Pritchard, a spokesperson for the law society, released a brief statement late Friday afternoon confirming that a complain had been received. “The Law Society of BC can confirm it has received a complaint about Barbara M. Smith, a retired lawyer and we are looking into the matter,” the statement read.

Photo by Laura Drake

The Law Society of BC can confirm it has received a complaint about Barbara M. Smith, a retired lawyer and we are looking into the matter.


Former UVic bunnies shot

  1. Barb Smith should be disbarred for her behaviour.

  2. I don’t suppose you’d care to elaborate on your theory that someone should be prevented from practicing law as a consequence for doing something that’s entirely legal?

    I get that you don’t approve of her actions, but are you seriously advocating a system where people are summarily punished with the loss of their livelihoods every time you disagree with their actions? Or maybe we should just enforce the laws that we have, and if we don’t like the laws that we have advocate for changes to them through appropriate channels.

    I suspect you may not have thought this one through. And as for the law society, yes, they’ll investigate a complaint when they receive one. And when they conclude their member’s actions were entirely legal, they won’t do a thing about it. Nor should they.

  3. The article from the Sun linked to above fills in some of the details nicely. From the looks of it, the rabbits escaped onto Smith’s property and were damaging her crops. Smith makes the point that the owner of the property holding the rabbits is responsible for keeping them off neighbouring properties–failing to do so could leave the property owner liable for the damages caused by the rabbits. That is, if anything, Ms. Smith may be able to sue the owner of the rabbits for damages to her property.

    In addition, the article claims that it has been confirmed by the RCMP, the SPCA and the ministry that killing the rabbits was both humane and legal.

  4. I am horrified, appalled and disgusted at Barbara M. Smith’s unnecessary cruelty. It is pathetic how humans have all the rights in these situations. Just because it is ‘legal’ does not make it right. It is her kind that make me ashamed of being part of the human race.

  5. Why is trapping mice and rats allowed but not rabbits?