5 Tro­phy ban ‘il­log­i­cal’

Groups want ban to ex­tend to hunt­ing for grizzly meat Van­cou­ver

StarMetro Vancouver - - NEWS - Matt Kiel­tyka

Bri­tish Columbia’s im­pend­ing ban on the tro­phy hunt­ing of grizzly bears does not go far enough, ac­cord­ing to 38 an­i­mal-wel­fare and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions like the BC SPCA, BC Na­ture, David Suzuki Foun­da­tion and the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of Canada have all signed on to an open let­ter to the B.C. gov­ern­ment op­pos­ing the hunt­ing of grizzly bears for meat, which will re­main le­gal when the prov­ince’s tro­phy-hunt­ing ban kicks in next year.

BC Na­ture pres­i­dent Alan Burger, a wildlife bi­ol­o­gist at the Univer­sity of Vic­to­ria, says fu­ture hunts will still be driven by sport, not sus­te­nance, even af­ter tro­phy hunt­ing is banned and that the prov­ince’s ban “de­fies logic.”

“Un­til now, grizzly bears have not been re­garded as a meat species. The only rea­son some­one would go out to hunt a grizzly bear is so they can get the photos and the brag­ging rights,” Burger said. “Sud­denly (in­clud­ing) them as a food species when it’s ac­tu­ally been a tro­phy hunt un­til now does seem il­log­i­cal and de­fies pub­lic opin­ion.”

The open let­ter, pub­lished Fri­day, states the groups “ex­pect to see much tro­phy hunt­ing con­tin­ued un­der the guise of ‘meat’ hunt­ing” and high­lights the lack of sci­en­tific con­sen­sus about the pop­u­la­tion of the species, which is blue-listed as “at risk” in B.C.

Gov­ern­ment sci­en­tists es­ti­mate there are roughly 15,000 griz­zlies in the prov­ince and 250 are hunted each year.

“The gov­ern­ment doesn’t re­ally know how many grizzly bears are out there,” said Burger. “But it’s more than just a pop­u­la­tion is­sue. It’s a moral is­sue and it’s an ecosys­tem is­sue. Peo­ple en­joy see­ing bears, and hav­ing some­one come and take out a bear in a place where nat­u­ral­ists en­joy see­ing them to me is just im­moral.”

Burger said he doesn’t op­pose most reg­u­lated hunt­ing, such as deer or elk, for meat.

A re­cent pub­lic opin­ion poll con­ducted by In­sights West found 74 per cent sup­port among Bri­tish Columbians to end all grizzly hunt­ing.

The cur­rent fall grizzly hunt ends Nov. 30.

A grizzly bear fishes for sal­mon near Bella Coola.


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