Open letter to Mary Polak: public distrust of first responders is a dangerous scenario

Dear Honourable Mary Polak,

A clear divide is rising between the Conservation Officer Service and its policies, and the expectations of the people of British Columbia.

This week the media has again highlighted a case of confused parties. Resident Tiana Jackson called the conservation officer service to her home outside of Dawson Creek after she found a bear cub alone on the side of the road. The cub was apparently playing and comfortable on her property, but the conservation officer, upon his arrival, insisted that euthanasia was necessary.

The media is already calling the actions of the officer into question and stirring the public’s curiosity into why the bear cub, who in photographs provided seems healthy, was killed and not taken to a wildlife rehabilitation centre that was able to accept him.

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals (The Fur-Bearers) sees a larger issue, unfortunately. Without greater transparency and oversight, the confidence of the BC public into the Conservation Officer Service will continue on its downward trajectory, which was given a strong kickoff by the ostracizing of officer Bryce Casavant for his compassionate decision regarding two bear cubs last year.

The public distrust of first responders is a dangerous scenario.

We believe it is time for an open dialogue between the Ministry of Environment, stakeholders, and the general public, on the methodology and policies of the Conservation Officer Service. At your convenience, representatives of our organization – and our 50,000-plus supporters – would like to schedule a meeting to discuss the formation of a committee or inquiry on this matter.

For the benefit of the Conservation Officer Service, the public, and of course, the animals, we hope to hear back your intentions regarding such a meeting in the near future.


Lesley Fox,
Executive Director
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals


Tell Minister of Environment Mary Polak (and your own MLA if you're a resident of BC) that you want her to meet with stakeholders – including The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals – to discuss the need to update the conservation officer service. It's easy – just send her a quick letter find your BC MLA by clicking here) using our the wording found above. Remember to forward any correspondence you receive back to us at!


Stay on point:this issue is about theproposal to increase the influence of consumptive wildlife users in management policies – not anything else. Keep your comments directed to the facts and provide citations if necessary.

Stay polite and use spell check:if you’re rude, aggressive, misspell words, or use incorrect grammar, readers may become disengaged or dismissive of your points.

Provide solutions:rather than just say what’s wrong, say what’s right. Offer solutions or alternatives to help move forward conversations.

Identify yourself:it’s important to include your address when writing politicians so they know who you are, where you’re from, and that your vote will affect them in the next election.

Let us know what you hear:if you receive a message back from your representative, or they would like to discuss the issues in greater detail with us, please let us know by emailing

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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