How do we do it ethically?
It is surprising to me how many people work with this medicine and have never met the toads in person. There is a an emotional exchange between human and toad when the medicine is collected. Although it does not harm the animal it is a sacrifice on the toad's part. To give this medicine without that awareness seems wrong.
The only way to ensure that a toad is not harmed during this process is for a facilitator to personally collect the medicine or to buy from an ethical source. The ethical source should only collect from private sanctuaries so as to not to disturb the natural population of this toad. A sanctuary should be defined as private land located in the Sonoran Desert that is in some way contributing to the growing population of this species, like providing safe haven from over milking, offering lights to attract food, or building shallow pools that toads can utilize for breeding.
This is an invitation to others who work with this medicine to actively become a part of toad conservation. More sanctuaries in the Sonoran Desert need to be built so we can give back to this incredible creature and support its population. If anyone would like more information on how to create a toad sanctuary please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can share more about our experience creating one.