Rabbit traps tampered with at UVic - Macleans.ca

Rabbit traps tampered with at UVic

Incensed activists give animal lovers a bad name


Nothing says “take me seriously” like vandalism and crying.

Police were called to the University of Victoria Monday after the university accused rabbit activists of overturning traps and spilling bait. The traps are part of a UVic initiative to live-trap and euthanize rabbits in order to stall a campus infestation.

Kathleen Terrio, an English teacher with the continuation education program, admitted to calling members of the Coalition for the Ethical Treatment of UVic Rabbits after noticing the traps. “One teeny-weeny, cutest little baby I recognized was in one of the traps and I asked if I could please take him home, but they wouldn’t let me,” she said to the Times Colonist.

I don’t like the idea of rabbits being trapped and euthanized either. Especially since alternatives have been proposed, such as Victoria veterinarian Nick Shaw offering to vasectomize rabbits for free. But kicking and swooning? Counterproductive, and frankly, embarrassing to those of us who like to call ourselves animal rights activists. If rabbit-defenders want the university to deal with the issue responsibly, they need to behave responsibly as well.

Photo by _Oblique_


Rabbit traps tampered with at UVic

  1. Arguably, UVIC acted just as cowardly and childish when they tried to sneak in the cull right after final exams, and once the students (who would have opposed this measure) had left.

  2. Overturning traps and spilling bait is not vandalism. Nothing was damaged. It just prevented the rabbits from getting killed. I’m not sure what other actions animal rights activist are supposed to take when the university has already taken the decision to cull. Sit around and let the rabbits die while you try and talk politely to the university? …which apparently some people already tried. Other universities have sterilized the rabbits and promoted rabbit adoption in the community. Apparently, UVic had a similar offer on the table. If it chose to ignore it and kill the rabbits anyway, it has chosen to be cruel. It should not expect sympathy from animal lovers under the circumstances.

  3. I’m the English teacher that you referred to as being involved with “vandalism and crying”. Trust me there was no crying at the time, as I was pumped up with so much anger that rabbits were being trapped in an area that supposedly was not targeted at the time (It was far from the athletic fields which was UVIC’S poor excuse for trapping them – all the dangers that the rabbits cause to the athletes etc) These were rabbits I have seen and gotten to know for the past three years. They never venture outside of this area ,so are basically harmless and extremely tame and friendly. For the record I did not commit any acts of vandalism, I merely stood outside the traps encouraging the rabbits not to go inside them. I think I showed a considerable amount of restraint. I was under a huge amount of stress as 8 burly security police, several other local police plus the Director of Facilities – Mr. Tom Smith kept watch on just little old me. The other coalition members didn’t do anything except arrive later and support me. So I would like to know how this is supposed to be not acting “responsibly.” I would say a reporter reporting information without interviewing the actual person involved in the story or getting the true facts is the one not acting in a “responsible” way.

  4. Good luck to all the compassionate folks who are overturning the traps. Please please please continue the great work!

  5. UVic should be the ones ashamed of themselves! Good luck to Kathleen and everyone else doing their very best to protect these abandoned animals under the most difficult of circumstances. You have my admiration for your courage!

  6. Robyn sure has a lot to say considering she wasn’t there. I was there, and I saw no “kicking and swooning.” Robyn “likes to call” herself an animal activist and writes a piece like this? Small wonder the animal activism community is scoffed at – who can take anyone seriously when duplicity rules the day?

  7. Whether or night Kathleen Terrio cried is not the point. Condemning someone for being compassionate does not help the cause of animal welfare either. If someone took away your favorite pet to be killed, how would you react? A supportive article would have been far more helpful. Unfortunately, taking the Times Colonist newspaper, which takes as gospel the word of those in the UVic administration who ordered the killing of the rabbits, is not particularly good journalism. A proper article to balance the biased reporting of local Victoria media would advance the cause of animal welfare much further.

  8. For all you bunny lovers… please realize how dangerously high the levels of bunnies are at. They are actually reaching the point of an eyesore on the landscape!!

    It’s not uncommon to see 13+ bunnies on a small grass patch. It’s insane and the population needs to be reduced.

  9. Define an “eyesore?” Ludicrous!

  10. Are living things “eyesores” then? I guess since there are so many humans living in the area the biggest eyesore in the area is us, not the rabbits considering how small their population is relative to us. Bearing in mind how harmful humans are to the environment, I really think we don’t have much right to go kill off what are really harmless creatures simply because they dig holes and create an “eyesore.”

  11. amen to brett. and look at that sweetie eating the spilled bait. what a honey, i hope he’s ok.
    UVic needs to keep pushing the humane route, that is to trap and sterilize them. It’s not the bunny’s fault they get dumped there by some douchebag humans. Make it political, with all the Lawyer students in UVic, it shouldn’t be hard to make a law saying it’s ILLEGAL to dump animals in Victoria. Stop the problem where it starts!

  12. Rabbits are food, not friends. We should have called in some small game hunters instead of starving the rabbits in shitty traps.

  13. I’m a student at UVic, and I definitely support culling the rabbit population which has reached unsustainable levels and is damaging the campus environment. I would prefer even more that we do it more cheaply as Kelowna did by bringing in a sharpshooter to reduce their feral rabbit propulation.

    Frannkly, I’m sick and tired of these extremist “activists” embarassing UVic repeatedly. Two of the common arguments about the rabbits are completely without merit:

    1) The rabbits are wildlife and part of the ecosystem. Not true, they are offspring of abandoned pets. There is nothing natural about our rabbit population and they do not belong in this ecosystem at all.

    2) The rabbits are gentle, harmless and tame. I wish some of the people using this argument would try to actually pick up one of the animals and take it home. In fact feral rabbits can be quite vicious, if they grow up wild they do NOT make good pets.

    I haven’t yet come across these silly activists on campus, but I doubt their “ethics” arguments make a lot of sense. Animals are not humans, the vast majority of people lead a lifestyle that involves killing animals (eating meat products) unwanted stray cats and dogs ususally end up being put to sleep…seriously what is unethical about the rabbit cull? I could understand this outrage if the university was keeping the rabbits in crowded, filthy cages for extended amounts of time (while trying to find someone willing to “adopt” a wild animal!) but this is just a quick kill, and completely necessary.

  14. I’m also a UVic student and I agree with David on the feral rabbit part. You can’t pick most of the older ones up, they’re wild and many of them suffer mental illness due to excessive in-breeding (especially the ones near the university centre) which causes them to lose balance and bite at people. Most of the ‘activists’ I’ve seen on the local news and met leafleting in the quad are older folks, probably not students at all, just local animal rights promoters.

  15. Most of the ‘activists’ you meet on campus are either alumni, staff, or faculty, as well as students. Most aren’t ‘local animal rights promoters’, but ordinary people who are honestly repelled by UVic’s actions and attitude. Many have put much of their lives on hold – forgoing niceties like sleep, regular meals, and clean laundry – in order to give the ‘buns’ a fighting chance.

    As for picking up rabbits – rabbits, even tame ones, don’t like being picked up. The Uvic rabbits, after years of being chased and grabbed at by drunken undergrads, have developed a healthy distrust of clutching human hands.

    Check out a site called “The Language of Lagomorphs”, and learn a bit about rabbit psychology, before passing judgement.

  16. @MATT: You speak like you know what you are talking about and clearly you have no clue. The rabbits on campus that “lose balance” are not suffering from any sort of “mental illness due to excessive in-breeding” as you say, but rather a parasite called E.cuniculi that attacks their brain. This is manageable with an anti-parasitic drug.

  17. David Foster: Please inform yourself with the facts before expressing your opinion.
    The two “common arguments” you claim are made about the rabbits are not in fact arguments that the so-called “activists” (anyone who is against the cull) have made. Let me try to explain it to you in a nutshell:
    If there is a choice between killing living creatures and not killing them, who, logically, would choose to kill them? All living things want to live and have a drive to survive. If you don’t HAVE to take that away from something, why do it?
    In this case, it doesn’t HAVE to be taken away – that is, the rabbits do NOT have to be killed. There is a viable, pragmatic and completely reasonable alternative that in actual fact would save the university money in the long-run and also is a much better long-term solution. That is IN ADDITION to it being more humane. The alternative is: trap, neuter, release. A local vet has offered to do the neutering for FREE and there are many, many people who would help with the entire effort. The university wouldn’t have to pay or do anything. So what is the difference? The difference is that a cull brings a quicker reduction. However: a) while no-one disputes that it is imperative that the population not be allowed to continue unchecked, there is no actual urgency to immediately reduce it (e.g. overnight), in spite of the university’s claims and b) a cull is a band-aid solution. It does not truly deal with the problem. In a few year’s time the cull would have to be repeated; however were the alternative solution to be adopted, at that same point in time the population would drastically decrease (as the sterilized rabbits ended their natural lives) so not only would a second cull not be necessary, but the numbers would then be lower than ever.
    Wanting another living thing to live it’s life, if possible, is not weakness or sentiment. To choose to kill something when it is avoidable is not only mean-spirited, to put it nicely, but in fact illogical. So, in conclusion, Einstein – the arguments DO in fact make a lot of sense – in fact, if you would strip away the bias you obviously have against anything you might perceive as “weak” or “sentiment” – you would see that the anti-cull arguments in fact make MORE sense than those for a cull. (You “doubt” they make sense? How about finding out what they are and then deciding?!) Don’t label people “silly” when you haven’t in fact even heard what they are saying. It is infuriating to me that people who are trying to avert unnecessary killing of living creatures are always labelled and therefore undermined in this way, when in fact the opposite is true.
    (P.S. You sure are fond of bandying the word “ecosystem” around. I bet you’re a big “green” supporter. But only in a forward-thinking, au courant way – not a “weak” one, right?!)

  18. Pingback: The UVic rabbit problem: lessons from the woods : Canada's online magazine: Politics, entertainment, technology, media, arts, books: backofthebook.ca

  19. Matt please clarify in-breeding in your statement. Are you talking about the rabbits or David Foster.

  20. Are you seriously saying we should just sit down and shut up? We’ve done everything else. We’ve argued, rationally I think, for fair treatment of animals we so far have treated terribly unfairly. We’ve given all the alternatives and even had all sorts of volunteers come forward to keep costs down and make a humane management plan effective.

    Instead we’ve been given lip service, a terribly and destined to fail trial service that somehow in total cost more then then SPCA charges per rabbit, and stealth attempts to cull both rats and rabbits with poisons.

    So yes. When all else fails it is a NATURAL last resort to come to kicking and screaming. Some might even call it last ditch tooth and nail efforts for fair practice. If they fight dirty, why not take their damn example.

    This week I plan on taking a good amount of time wandering campus with gloves and a trash bag to pick up poisons. In an ecologically sensitive community like UVic the use of poisons and mass culling is inexcusable – let along ineffective when done without interference. So I say why not make it harder for them. If they quit and finally listen to what we’ve all been saying for 3 full years now, all the better. In the mean time I’ll happily take saving the lives of a few good fuzz balls.

    I don’t care about cute and fuzzy truthfully. I care about humans finally getting over themselves and doing what’s right on a humane level for a change.