Animal Kind: A Better Approach to Wildlife and Rodent Control

SUNDAY, APRIL 22
2:15PM-3:00PM

SPEAKERS:
Dr. Sara Dubois, Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Manager, Scientific Programs, British Columbia SPCA (BC SPCA)
Nicole Fenwick, Manager, Research and Standards, British Columbia SPCA (BC SPCA)
Erin Ryan, Research Coordinator, British Columbia SPCA (BC SPCA)

ABSTRACT:
As urban development densifies and further encroaches into wild spaces, conflicts between people and wildlife (squirrels, raccoons, rodents, birds) increases. This affects homeowners, municipalities and any operator of a building, including animal welfare organizations. Typically, a "pest" control company is called, but in this mostly unregulated industry without clear standards or Codes of Practice, it is difficult to know what this means for the "pest" animal. So who can people who care about animals turn to for help with these conflicts?

In 2015, the BC SPCA presented on the need for humane wildlife standards because the public asks us for help in solving their wildlife and rodent issues, and we face these conflicts in our shelters and clinics. The ongoing challenge is balancing harms to wildlife with the need to protect the health and safety of the people and pets that occupy our buildings. To find solutions for ourselves and our supporters we developed AnimalKind, a new animal welfare accreditation program for wildlife and rodent ("pest") control.

KEY LEARNINGS:

  1. AnimalKind accredits companies and organizations that provide or use "pest" control services.
  2. Accredited companies follow AnimalKind’s science-based standards developed with the expert advice of the UBC Animal Welfare Program and PAACO animal auditors. This novel program was developed with grant funding and in consultation with the pest control industry.
  3. Growth of AnimalKind will include accreditation of "pest" control companies in other provinces and extension of the accreditation model to other animal-related service industries, such as dog training and animal boarding facilities.

BIOS

Dr. Sara Dubois is the BC SPCA’s Chief Scientific Officer, where she directs province-wide welfare science operations, education and advocacy projects. She works on: wildlife rehabilitation, oil spill response, captive wildlife and exotic pets, human-wildlife conflicts and compassionate conservation, and consults on wildlife cruelty investigations. Sara is a registered professional biologist with a BSc IN Biology (UVic) and an MSc and PhD from the UBC Animal Welfare Program, whose main area of expertise is in wildlife welfare and human dimensions. She is an Adjunct Professor with the UBC Applied Biology Program and Advisor to the Whale Sanctuary Project.

Nicole Fenwick is responsible for the AnimalKind animal welfare accreditation program in her role as BC SPCA Manager, Research & Standards. An MSc graduate of the UBC Animal Welfare Program, Nicole has previously worked on a variety of animal welfare projects in Canada including: policy research and development to further the Three Rs in Canadian animal-based science, rodent glue trapping and beef cattle welfare.

Erin Ryan is the BC SPCA Research Coordinator, supporting the Society's work for wildlife, animals in science and exotic animals through scientific research and by acting as a liaison for communications, fundraising and digital marketing. She has previous wildlife experience through the BC SPCA as a volunteer, coordinating the Society’s wildlife photo database and Wildlife-In-Focus photo contest. Erin holds a BSc in Applied Animal Biology from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and previously worked in communications consulting for a private company.