When will the killing end?
In the British Columbia town of Osoyoos, Mayor Stu Wells is requesting help from the provincial government: bigger guns.
In a recent report, Mayor Wells noted that his town is being overrun by Canada Geese and – much like the previous year with rabbits – he wants the province to offer more kill permits to handle the perceived problem.
This is a case of a Mayor reacting to what his constituents are telling him: there are too many geese. But reaction should always be a last resort. Instead, Mayor Wells – and his colleagues at the Union of BC Municipalities – should be asking the provincial government for better policy so they can be proactive.
For 300 years we have attempted to systemically eradicate many species from modern Canada. Despite the use of poisons, traps, military-grade weaponry and a cruelty only possible with human ingenuity, many of these species have thrived. Some, however, were not so fortunate. By listening to lore rather than current science, governments have made poor decisions. In some cases there was visible devastation by human interference (Yellowstone National Park) from which we are only barely recovering. For other species, we may never be able to truly fathom the destruction we have wrought.
But what we can learn from this cacophony of errors is that the past need not repeat itself. We have witnessed a combination of science and compassion result in safe, sustainable ecological communities (Niagara Falls, Stanley Park). We have seen municipalities build both ecologically and economically rich environments by embracing proactive plans.
This is what we think that the town of Osoyoos, the Union of BC Municipalities, and ultimately, the province of British Columbia, need to do. Every year they can kill animals they deem to be a nuisance. And every year, there will be another species they consider a nuisance. Because these government culls do not address the underlying issues that bring wildlife in close proximity with people and homes. They do not examine the available body of science to see solutions that are less costly and ultimately more successful. They react out of fear, out of misunderstanding. They kill because they think it’s the only option.
But we can prove that culling wildlife to ‘control’ it is not the only option. Killing is a choice. And it’s time for the leaders of British Columbia to decide: do they want to protect the animals they share their land with, or kill them?
Sign our petition to the municipal and provincial leaders of BC to have your voice heard.
Photo credit: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de
Read our news release here.