Sunday, July 12, 2015

Who Decides Who Lives or Dies – BC Wildlife

The recent suspension of Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant for refusing to kill two 8-week old bear cubs, despite orders from his supervisor and the provincial veterinarian, has revealed to British Columbians the extent of this government's policy to destroy our wildlife based solely upon complaints from the public. On the strength of a citizen's phone call the provincial veterinarian in Victoria ordered the destruction of a nursing sow and her cubs near Port Hardy, ignoring the professional opinion of the CO.

This event unfolded as the Port Hardy region was engulfed in forest fires. Photo credit, Steve Kendall.

In the fall of 2013 the story of a friendly buck named John Deer turned to tragedy when the province ordered him “humanely euthanized” near Vernon, B.C. “Provincial wildlife veterinarian Helen Schwantje says the docile deer was believed to be the same one that tangled its antlers in a child’s backpack...” National Post, Tristin Hopper, September 12, 2013.

In the same article Liz White of Animal Alliance of Canada “criticized wildlife authorities for being too quick to turn rifles on questionable deer, particularly when it could have been enough to simply “haze” the deer out of town.”  Hazing is the use of trained border collies to gently pressure ungulates out of areas where they are not welcome, a useful strategy for interior towns that are surrounded by forest.  To date only one pilot project for hazing was conducted in Kimberley, BC when the province permitted a one day trial.

All that is needed to order the destruction of nuisance wildlife is the belief that they have crossed an imaginary line of urban etiquette – referred to in ministry language as “public safety.”

When the public expresses outrage at the killing of our wildlife, be it by systematic culls or by the destruction of individual animals, those opinions are brushed aside as sentimentality.  Annoyance and fear are the only emotions that the province will respond to – with lethal results.

Advertisements on the MFLNRO website's document Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis are a shocking eye-opener into the business of animal slaughter and the attitudes of this government towards our resources – affectionately known to the public as "our wildlife."

The ministries responsible for our wildlife have an agenda, and it's not stewardship.

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