A cull by any other name
To the Editor
And so the moose slaughter is set to begin yet again. Unlike nature's natural selection of killing sick and weak animals, healthy animals in our National Park will be killed indiscriminately as they were last year. According to a localxpress.ca article by Tom Ayers, last year's dead included 10 calves, 18 cows, and 9 bulls. If a moose has the misfortune of wandering into the killing zone on North Mountain, then it dies. What a sad state of affairs in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, mandated to protect the very animals it allows to be slaughtered. Shame!
According to Derek Quann, Parks Canada manager of the boreal forest restoration project, "there is no annual survey of moose in the park, but the forest is monitored regularly" (CBC News online October 20). By that statement alone, it appears that moose have been predetermined as the culprits in the decline of the boreal forest. According to Parks Canada's moose reduction webpage, "As a result of over 15 years of research and monitoring initiatives, Cape Breton Highlands National Park has determined that moose are hyperabundant and are a serious threat to the forest ecosystems within the national park." Where is the scientific evidence carried out over this period showing that moose alone are responsible? How can anyone call this science when they don’t even know what that part of the equation the number of moose - is?
As a taxpayer, I strongly oppose using any of my tax dollars to kill supposedly protected moose in a National Park. From information obtained through access to information requests, the public has learned that approximately $430,000 was spent in one year's 'cull' to kill 37 moose. If similar costs can be expected in the proposed culls for the next 3 years, we could be looking at a total of nearly two million dollars! The plan for boreal forest regeneration includes several ‘experiments’ being conducted: building fenced enclosures, tree planting and reducing the moose population. Think of how many kilometres of fence could be installed for two million dollars - an option already proving successful on North Mountain by keeping moose out of fenced areas and allowing the boreal forest to regenerate there. For that amount of money, think of how many moose could be relocated to mainland Nova Scotia or other areas of Cape Breton, where they would at least have a fighting chance at life. Instead, they are being treated as part of a shooting gallery in a 20 square km killing zone on North Mountain, aided by helicopters used to spot moose, transport hunters, and then haul dead moose - the reason I call this a slaughter instead of a 'cull'.
There is no way that I can look at this moose slaughter as a necessity, when other options exist that should be considered first. I do not understand the reasoning of people who prefer to kill as a first option, rather than a last option, especially when their own evidence shows that another option is working on North Mountain to help regenerate the boreal forest.
Rose Courage Sydney and Victoria County