Toronto wants your input on wildlife feeding

Image of two raccoons on a fence
Raccoons scale a fence. Photo by JanosFMolnar / Getty Images

The City of Toronto is asking for public feedback as part of their Animal Bylaw Review, which includes an element on wildlife feeding.

The City’s website states the review is “to improve the coexistence of humans and wildlife, to decrease nuisance behaviour and to enhance animal welfare.”

Specifically, the City is considering updating its feeding of wildlife prohibition from only City parks to include intentional feeding of wildlife on all private and public properties across Toronto. The update under review would include the following exemptions to the feeding bylaw:

  • Feeding of song birds and bird feeders on private property, where the property owner has given permission to do so
  • Leaving food as bait to trap a nuisance animal
  • Feeding of a managed colony of stray or feral cats*
  • Feeding as part of a research program undertaken by a university, college or similarly provincially or federally recognized research institution

* A managed feral cat colony consists of one or more sterilized feral/unsocial cats that are registered with the City. Cats are fed daily at regular times, leaving food out for a set time while supervised and then removing uneaten food so as not to attract wildlife.

The Fur-Bearers supports this bylaw but will make the following recommendations:

  1. Modify the exemption for songbird feeders so that should the songbird feeder be shown to be attracting or feeding other wildlife, particularly when negative encounters or ‘conflict’ is being reported, it would be required to be taken down.
  2. ‘Leaving food as bait to trap a nuisance animal’ is ambiguous language and could be made more specific so as to not give tacit approval to baiting traps that can catch and harm numerous non-target species, including pets, or avoid efforts to otherwise coexist with wildlife.
  3. The exemption related to research can be modified to require notification to the City of such feeding as it still may have an impact on ecosystems, behaviours and lead to negative interactions between wildlife and people.

The will be submitted as part of our participation of the review, and we encourage all Toronto residents, business owners and other applicable individuals or groups to participate as well. You can learn more about this bylaw review by clicking here.

The report indicates City staff will present the findings and recommendations in early 2022; The Fur-Bearers will provide an update as it becomes available.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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