The BC government has told a National Post reporter that they are in “’the early stages’ of exploring options for an independent review or oversight body to deal with complaints about officer conduct.”
The article, 'Animal-welfare activists worry pro-hunting culture is 'militarizing' provincial conservation agencies', published in today’s National Post by journalist Douglas Quan, examined ongoing concerns about law enforcement agencies responsible for environmental and wildlife-related issues across Canada. The article heavily featured Lesley Fox, executive director of The Fur-Bearers, as well as our ongoing efforts to advocate for change to protect wildlife.
“To the best of our knowledge, there is no province or territory that has an established independent board to oversee policies, practices and complaints related to wildlife/environmental enforcement agencies,” Fox said in her interview with Quan.
Over the course of the last two years The Fur-Bearers have challenged the Conservation Officer Service in British Columbia over their responses to wildlife conflict and perceived conflict, including two formal complaints, one of which is now in the hands of the Supreme Court of Canada. The most recent complaint regarding the accidental and preventable death of a bear sow has not yet received a response from the service.
The statement from the government that they are in the early stages of exploring options for oversight is extremely positive – even if at this point it may not materialize. It is an acknowledgement that they can do better, and The Fur-Bearers, with support from advocates and organizations like West Coast Environmental Law and Lush Cosmetics, will continue to apply pressure.
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