"this is crap," says dougie, a tentCity resident, of a July 13 article in the Toronto Sun titled Homeless Cookin'.Written by Sun reporter Tom Godfrey and subtitled Canada Geese, Pigeons And Squirrels Grace The Barbie In Tent City, the article reports that anonymous wildlife sources accused some homeless people of poaching and cooking birds and other animals.
After being passed around with some amusement by Tent City residents attending the Bread Not Circuses anti-Olympic press conference on July 13, the article was denounced by them as a fraud timed to scapegoat them for T.O.'s failed Olympic bid.
Suspicions about the Olympic angle seemed to be confirmed July 16 when the Sun ran an editorial attacking Tent City residents as "human animals" who occupy "one of our would-be Olympic venues" and "ignore the animal rights of our urban wildlife in favour of their own need for food."
But Al Geische, a Canadian Wildlife Service investigator quoted in the July 13 article, says he knows nothing about homeless people cooking wildlife at Tent City. Says Geische, "I told the Sun that the homeless people living on the streets of Toronto wouldn't be able to utilize the wildlife. That he should go down and check out himself the places where they actually live. So I then referred him to the Humane Society and he called back and said yes, he did talk to them, and yes, they do receive complaints about this.'
But Amy White, a Humane Society worker quoted in the same article, tells NOW her comments were twisted and taken out of context. Setting the record straight, she says she's never received a single report of a homeless person at Tent City or elsewhere in Toronto cooking and eating wildlife, there is no Humane Society investigation of the matter, and she has no idea who Godfrey's "wildlife sources" are. "The reporter didn't tell me," she says.
Godfrey did not return NOW's calls. But Linda Williamson, the Sun's acting editorial page editor, concedes that nothing has yet been published in the paper to substantiate the July 18 editorial that claimed the Humane Society said people are eating wildlife at Tent City.
"The story on July 14 said Humane Society investigators are following up tips that Tent City is one of the locations where animals are eaten. It doesn't say that it is (actually) happening."