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Letter to BC Govt re: Grizzly Meat Hunt Regulations (Deadline Nov 2, 2017)

Ward Trotter
Executive Director, Natural Resources
Resource Stewardship Division, FLNR Ministry ( see emails and initial response below)

Oct 19, 2017

Dear Mr. Trotter,

I wish I could thank you for your response. However, I can’t. It’s difficult to thank for a generic email that was sent to everyone and doesn’t address any of the concerns I highlighted in my letter regarding the grizzly hunt. I truly hope that this public consultation will be different than the ones we had under the liberal government.

I reiterate my strong opposition to grizzly hunt and I am asking for a full and complete ban on hunting grizzly bears all over BC. We are being asked to comment on how to manage the ‘meat’ hunt, but the majority of British Columbians clearly stated that there should not be grizzly hunt of any kind. I respectfully want to remind you that this is the view of the same majority that voted for change. I would like to ask, thus, my government to address our wishes instead of ignoring them and asking us to comment on the ‘meat’ hunt.

I also wanted to stress that among those who oppose the grizzly hunt, there are also hunters who truly hunt for food. They view the grizzly hunt as “socially and environmentally unsustainable” – an unethical practice that has no place in modern society, and conservation”. They say that statement about eating grizzly meat from both Guide Operators and hunters “betrays an ignorance and selfishness that should never be supported by our government.” Indeed, we all know the BC grizzly hunt has never been about the “meat” hunt. It is and always has been about for a rug, a head on the wall, a photo over a dead grizzly bear, a trophy. Reviewing old hunting forums tells us a lot about hunters’ opinion about grizzly meat. For the majority, grizzly bear meat is inedible because contains parasitic diseases and needs to be handled and cooked in a particular, laborious way to make it safe. However, incredulously, over the past year or so, many grizzly bear hunters have suddenly developed the taste for grizzly meat… I do not think British Columbians can be fooled so easily. This whole idea of eating grizzly meat is really insulting the intelligence of many of your supporters.

Furthermore, as I also mentioned in my previous e-mail, the notion of sustainability of the grizzly hunt can be easily questioned… As a conservation scientist who has a training and years of experience with population models, I know how much uncertainty is involved in their predictions. And these predictions have become even more uncertain due to impacts of climate change on food supply and habitat. Even though hunters claim that they see more bears in some areas, this claim is misleading. Grizzlies respond to changes in food supply and to other human related stressors. And yes, they move across the landscape, which can give a false impression of their higher densities in some areas. This does not mean, however, that population is doing well. Far from it. In fact, we keep waking up every day to ‘surprise information’ about species going extinct. Just a recent WWF analysis looking at the long-term trends of more than 900 species of wildlife in Canada has found that half of them have seen their populations decline, including several species already listed as threatened or endangered. Is it really a surprise or are we just turning a blind eye to what’s happening to wildlife around us only to wake up one day to the stern reality that it is already too late? Please, do not let it happen to grizzlies.

Finally, I would appreciate my government to stop using the word ‘harvest’ in relation to wildlife. As a scientist, I have been trained in wildlife management and this is the vocabulary that I have been taught. Still, it does not mean that we should keep using it. Our social values change, and this change needs to be reflected in our vocabulary and in how we define our relationship with animals. We don’t view grizzlies or any other wildlife species as “resources” to be “harvested”, but, instead, living, breathing beings that has the right to live and be free from our dominance and persecution. Is this an emotional statement? Yes, it is. Still, it can no longer be brushed away because its relevance is supported by the latest science. These latest findings reveal the richness of animals’ inner lives and provide a vindication for our deep emotional appreciation of other beings. Ironically, the attempts by government’s and pro-hunting groups to paint the public’s emotional arguments in relation to animal welfare as unscientific are, on their own, blatantly unscientific — a denial of science at its most fundamental level.

I therefore plead with you to hear British Columbians when we say that we do not want to comment on the ‘meat’ hunt that they find unethical and unjustifiable. Instead we are asking our newly elected government to end all hunting of all grizzly bears across all of BC. Please, do not let grizzlies slip through the bureaucratic cracks into extinction. We can’t let it happen. Instead, let’s put our efforts into habitat restoration and education on co-existence with these majestic creatures that the whole envious world is coming to BC to see and admire.


Dr. Gosia Bryja,  British Columbia, Canada


From: “Executive Division Office, FLNR:EX” <[email protected]>
Cc: “OfficeofthePremier, Office PREM:EX” <[email protected]>; “Minister, FLNR FLNR:EX” <[email protected]>; “Minister, ENV ENV:EX” <[email protected]>; “Weaver.MLA, Andrew LASS:EX” <[email protected]>; “Tegart.MLA, Jackie LASS:EX” <[email protected]>; “Olsen…MLA, Adam LASS:EX” <[email protected]>                                                                              (also write to  [email protected] )
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2017 2:30 PM
Subject: RE: Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunt (ref: 230514/230704)

Thank you for writing concerning the grizzly bear trophy hunting. I apologize for the delayed response.

As a number of British Columbians have written with enquiries and comments on this topic, I am providing further information below. Your comments will be considered as part of all feedback received through the consultation process outlined below, which is open for public input until November 2, 2017.

Effective November 30, 2017, the ministry plans to end trophy hunting by making it illegal to possess the trophy parts of a grizzly bear harvested after November 30, 2017, along with all hunting of grizzly bear in the Great Bear Rainforest, which acts on the new government’s platform commitment. Closing the grizzly bear hunt altogether in the Great Bear Rainforest also goes beyond the previous commitments made to Coastal First Nations. Hunting for meat will be allowed to continue outside the Great Bear Rainforest.

The prohibition on possession of grizzly bear trophy parts and the grizzly bear hunting closure in Great Bear Rainforest will not apply to First Nations who harvest grizzly bears within their traditional territories pursuant to Aboriginal rights for food, social or ceremonial purposes, or treaty rights.

Government has invited public input on the trophy hunting ban and proposed regulation changes required to implement the ban. The correspondence we received from you has been provided as input to this consultation process.

Should you wish to provide additional comments, you have the opportunity to provide input until November 2, 2017, on two policy documents outlining the proposed regulation changes required to implement the ban. As part of the consultation, input is being sought on:

• Changes to manage the ban in hunting areas that overlap the Great Bear Rainforest;
• Changes that will prohibit the possession of “trophy” grizzly bear parts;
• Changes that will manage prohibited grizzly bear parts;
• Changes to prohibit the trafficking of grizzly bear parts; and
• New reporting requirements for taxidermists.
The two policy documents can be reviewed at:
Members of the public may send comments to the Fish and Wildlife Branch at: [email protected]

If you choose to submit further input at that email, you will receive a confirmation of receipt back. Due to the expected volume of material, individual responses will not be possible.

We will also be developing, with public input, a renewed wildlife management strategy for BC. The key elements of that strategy will include dedicated funding for wildlife and habitat conservation and a collaborative process to develop short- and long-term plans for wildlife resources.

Thank you again for writing to express your concerns.
Ward Trotter
Executive Director, Natural Resources
Resource Stewardship Division


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