Letter to BC Gov’t Opposing Hunting Grizzly Bears For Meat

Now we have another study that indicates our pig-headed and intransigent government is on the wrong side of the public’s desires with respect to its peculiar enthusiasm for endorsing trophy hunting of a species that has already been extirpated from much of its range. Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Click Here: For more information on Valhalla Wilderness Society

October 6, 2017

OPEN LETTER TO THE BC GOVERNMENT OPPOSING
THE CONTINUATION OF HUNTING GRIZZLY BEARS FOR MEAT

We, the undersigned environmental and animal welfare organzations, and wildlife-based businesses, are pleased that the current BC government is committed to end the trophy hunt of grizzly bears. However we strongly oppose the government’s plans to allow continued grizzly bear hunting, under the pretext of hunting for meat, except for a jointly-regulated First Nations ceremonial/sustenance hunt. Part of the Great Bear Rainforest would have a total ban on hunting, but that’s only a very small part of grizzly bear habitat in BC. We oppose the meat hunt for the following reasons:

1. Grizzly bears are a species at risk. They are blue-listed in BC, and threatened by poaching, human conflicts, habitat destruction and hunting. They have disappeared from 18% of their range in BC. (1) Out of 56 grizzly bear subpopulations in BC, 9 are classified as “threatened” by British Columbia.

2. We expect to see much trophy hunting continued under the guise of
“meat” hunting. In the past, almost all grizzly bear hunting has been trophy
hunting. Many hunters find the meat unpalatable. Grizzly bears were
included by BC Fish & Wildlife with non-game animals such as wolverines,
wolves and cougars. Previously, BC hunting regulations have had
a provision allowing hunters to leave the meat on the ground and take
only the trophy parts. People do not travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres,
pay tens of thousands of dollars, and risk their lives shooting at
grizzly bears to put meat on the table. The proposed new regulations for
meat hunting will simply disguise trophy hunting as meat hunting. Even
if the head, hide and claws are left on the ground, or given to a conservation
officer, the hunter will take away trophy videos, photographs and
bragging rights. The bears will still be killed for sport.

The BC government is considering various options to distinguish trophy hunting from meat hunting, but they only increase our conviction that this division is unenforceable. For many years BC has been unable to control substantial poaching of bears, how will it account for every trophy part of every bear shot by hunters?

3. The government has claimed the grizzly hunt is sustainable. However, independent biologists have been saying for years that this is not true. We do not even know with certainty how many grizzly bears there are in BC, or how many can be killed without reducing the population. Peer-reviewed studies by scientists have found numerous cases of too many bears being killed (by all causes), even according to the government’s own population numbers. Studies have proven that hunters often kill too many female bears. The European Union investigated BC’s grizzly bear hunt, ruled it environmentally unsustainable, and banned the import of trophies.

4. Closing the meat hunt in a limited area will concentrate hunting in other areas. While the government proposes to stop all grizzly bear hunting in a 230,000-hectare area of the Great Bear Rainforest, this is only a small part of grizzly bear habitat across BC. Grizzly bear hunting in this area will simply move to other coastal and interior areas of the province.

In addition, the undersigned object to the following aspects of the public consultation process for the new grizzly bear hunting regulations.

1. The process only considers how to manage the meat hunt, not whether there should even be a meat hunt. Participants are forced to accept the meat hunt as fait accompli.

2. Poor public access to information. Only those who sign confidentiality agreements can have access to some important information. Only those willing to sign the confidentiality agreements can be “stakeholders”, which receive priority consultation. The government has not released a complete list of stakeholders. The process was not advertised until recently, when it had already been running about a month, unbeknownst to many undersigned organizations. The confidentiality agreements represent muzzling of public organizations and suppressing information.

In June of this year, 23 organizations concerned with the welfare of wildlife sent a letter to the BC government that stated: “The wildlife of the province belongs to all British Columbians, and has by law been held by the government in trust.” The letter came about because the provincial government had been giving hunting organizations and related businesses priority access to consultation on matters related to wildlife, resulting in glaring policy bias.

Today the undersigned organizations and businesses are seeking increased recognition by the government that BC wildlife belongs to all Canadians, who have an equal stake in how it is managed, and an equal right to relevant information. We expect proportionate representation in all provincial wildlife matters. BC has over 1,500 species at risk. Recognizing the worldwide biodiversity crisis, the management of our wildlife must shift away from maximizing how many animals hunters can kill, to the practice of conservation biology to ensure the survival of species at risk.

We hold that the upcoming Auditor General’s report on the grizzly bear hunt — which was due to be released in September — is critical information for all parties to have before making decisions on this issue. Rushing to change the hunting regulations before the report is released wastes the tax dollars that have been spent to better inform decision-making. We urge the BC government not to authorize any further grizzly bear hunting until it has done a full review of public input and the soon-to-be released Auditor General’s report.

Sincerely,

References
1. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Grizzly Bear of Canada, https://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=A32186C4-1&offset=9

2. Artelle, K. A., Anderson, S. C., Cooper, A. B., Paquet, P. C., Reynolds, J. D., Darimont, C. T., “Confronting Uncertainty in Wildlife Management: Performance of Grizzly Bear Management,” PLOS ONE, Nov. 2013, Vol. 8, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0078041&type=printable

38 Signators

1. Animal Advocates of BC
2. Animal Alliance of Canada
3. Animal Justice
4. Animal Protection Party
5. Applied Conservation GIS
6. BC Nature
7. BC SPCA
8. Bears Matter
9. Canadians for Bears
10. Clayoquot Action
11. Craighead Institute
12. David Suzuki Foundation
13. DeerSafe Victoria
14. First Nations Environmental Network
15. Friends of the Lardeau River
16. Friends of Nemaiah Valley
17. George Rammell Grizzly bear activist
18. Great Bear Chalet
19. Humane Society International/Canada
20. Justice for B.C. Grizzlies
21. Kootenay Reflections Photography
22. Kwiakah First Nation
23. West Coast Wild Art Co.
24. Lifeforce Foundation
25. Ocean Adventures Charter Co.
26. Ocean Light II Adventures
27. Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours
28. Pacific Wild
29. Purcell Alliance for Wilderness
30. Save the Cedar League
31. Steve Williamson Photography
32. Stop the Grizzly Killing Society
33. The Furbearers
34. Tourists Against Trophy Hunting
35. Valhalla Wilderness Society
36. Wildlife Defence League
37. Wolf Awareness Incorporated
38. Zoocheck Canada

 

9 thoughts on “Letter to BC Gov’t Opposing Hunting Grizzly Bears For Meat

  1. tracy stevens

    This is ridiculous and Canada is an embarrassment when it comes to this topic. How many people exactly eat Grizzly meat?! This is a joke and a loophole. This needs to STOP!!. End the Grizzly hunt so Canada can be a proud country and be known for protecting our precious wildlife. Protect our animals now!!!!!!!!

    Reply
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  3. Dawn Mackey

    Please stop the senseless killing of our Grizzly Bears it is heartless and cruel when all they want is the hide and most of the people know that. So saying killing them for “meat” is not the answer. Stop catering to the “paying” customer for a Trophy. It is nothing to be proud of enjoy them in their habitat not in your living room

    Reply
  4. Barb Browning

    The issue before all of us in this province regarding imposing a full & complete ban on grizzly bear hunting for the whole of the province is far too important to not become involved. This is something that we as British Columbians can fix today. Our forests and wildlife as well as our oceans are suffering, and while there is much to be done to help save them, you have before you an opportunity right now, to start with these majestic animals. Please consider what myself and 78% of all other British Columbians feel in our hearts is just the right thing to do….

    Reply
  5. Dee Butler

    Will they ever stop? It is not for food or if it is then for a very small population. We have now fished until the stock is so low our whales are washed up on shore. They were starving. What on earth is this telling us?? Bears matter they are a big part of our natural history. The Governments must pay attention for wiping out a species is not who we are.

    Reply
  6. Cindy Weitzel

    Since when do they hunt grizzlies for meat.. I call bullshit!!! None of the guides nor people that hunt this bear and eat them .. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.. leave the bears alone !!! It’s always been a trophy hunt and discarded the remains ..

    Reply
  7. Pam Nosworthy

    I agree with the ban and also question why grizzlies will still be hunted for meat.Its just another way of telling trophy hunters (go ahead and shoot them but make sure u take all the parts.)I disagree with this hunt as most ppl do not eat their meat just want their prized paws and gall bladders for chinese medicine…Also heads and hides fetch a high profit for those big game hunters that choose to stay away from a big carnivore but like their parts…I believe shutting down grizzly bear hunting is the ethical choice in my mind.Grizzlies are majestic and are really First Nations Spirit Relatives in their culture.Whether they keep it that way is up to them..First Nations need to provide the Animal Conservationists with data to keep track of their numbers.This way we prevent modern day poachers from killing all our Grizzlies..

    Reply
  8. Lars Friis

    I thought we (BCers) were finished with deceptive governance, and now it seems the BC NDP are continuing along the same lines as the ex- BC Lieberals!! Straighten out this piece of legislation now, or you will definitely hear far more from concerned citizens!!! SHAME ON YOU NDP!! Disgustedly, Lars Friis

    Reply

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