A cull by any other name

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary -

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

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