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Court dismisses animal welfare case against spring bear hunt

Ontario's spring bear hunt will go ahead tomorrow, after a court turned down a bid by two animal welfare groups for a judicial review.

Ontario's spring bear hunt will go ahead this week, after a court turned down a bid Tuesday by two animal welfare groups to block the hunt just one day before its scheduled start.

Liz White of the Animal Alliance of Canada said she is disappointed and hopes the reasons for the decision — when released by the court — will provide some insight.

"We'll see what they say. There may be some interesting stuff in those decisions,” she said.

“But, the fact of the matter is, there is still going to be hunting take place in the spring and cubs are going to be orphaned."

White said her group will now focus on a political campaign, to target the Liberals for reinstating the hunt.

The first spring bear hunt in Ontario in 15 years is set to open Thursday, and there is debate over the controversial decision. (File Photo)

Natural Resources minister David Orazietti said he is waiting to see how many licences are issued, now that the court has cleared the way.

“There may have been some lack of uptake as a result of people being aware that this action was being taken and that [the hunt] might not be able to proceed,” he said.

Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada challenged the pilot project, arguing mother bears would be killed and their orphaned cubs would be left to starve or be killed by predators.

Their application for a judicial review argued the hunt would be contrary to animal cruelty provisions in the Criminal Code.

The spring bear hunt, which has been cancelled since 1999, is slated to begin May 1 and run for six weeks. The pilot hunt will take place in eight wildlife areas known for having the most public safety incidents involving bears.