Time for British Columbia to end its disgraceful assault on grizzly bears

By on April 28, 2017 with 0 Comments

It’s an image that millions of people who’ve watched it won’t soon forget: a majestic grizzly bear thrashing in confused agony as she tumbles down a hill, her blood smearing the snow, while the men who shot her cheer at the misery and suffering they’ve delivered. An investigator might have filmed the horrible spectacle to expose it and remind regular citizens what some people are capable of doing. But they filmed the bleeding animals themselves, as some sort of Kodak moment, which they’d presumably watch for pleasure in the years ahead.

It’s become all too commonplace in the Canadian province of British Columbia, where the government allows trophy hunters to slaughter hundreds of grizzly bears a year — the biggest toll of grizzlies in all of North America. But according to reputable polls, more than 90 percent of B.C. residents oppose the trophy hunt of the province’s grizzlies.

Because of that nearly unanimous opposition to this government-sanctioned policy, it may be the next thing that comes crashing down.

B.C.’s provincial election is on May 9th, and the New Democratic Party, which is neck and neck with the governing Liberals in the polls, has promised to ban the trophy hunt of grizzly bears across the province if elected. Even the Liberals have made vague promises to look into ending the hunt in a portion of the grizzlies range – in the Great Bear Forest in the west of the vast province.

More than 10,000 supporters of Humane Society International/Canada have signed a letter to B.C. premier Christy Clark, asking her to ban the hunt. And along with partner groups Pacific Wild, LUSH Cosmetics, and Wildlife Defence League, HSI/Canada participated in the delivery of over 70,000 signatures to the B.C. legislature this week, calling for a ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting.

Many shot bears don’t succumb quickly to the hunters’ bullets. All too often, injured bears run off, suffering for hours before blood loss or shock or sepsis overcomes them. Perhaps most tragic is the fate of the countless bear cubs who slowly starve to death while they wait in their dens for their slaughtered mothers who will never return.

British Columbia is home to the second largest grizzly bear population in the world, and grizzlies are an iconic species for both the province and for all of Canada. Every year, tourists from around the world flock to B.C.’s lush forests to participate in bear viewing expeditions, which have been shown to bring in up to 10 times more direct revenue to the province than trophy hunting.

Bear viewing is a much larger industry than bear killing, and the latter business threatens the former. Bear viewing operations have noted that demand for bear viewing has grown to the point where they’re reaching capacity, but they cannot access the vast majority of grizzly bear territory, because most of it is set aside for trophy hunters. Furthermore, they point out that nobody wants to view a bear that they know is likely to be slaughtered for head and hide.

The provincial government estimates that the grizzly populations number up to 15,000, but leading scientists from the University of Victoria and Simon Frasier University have been critical of the methods used to census bears. The actual count may be half the current estimate. Those same scientists also found that hunters were exceeding their kill quotas in half of the populations they studied. But even with current government estimates, we know that at least nine of the province’s 57 grizzly populations are threatened.

It’s clear that this trophy hunt is not just poorly monitored and managed, but that there’s no compelling rationale for it whatsoever. From every angle one looks at the issue – whether it is animal welfare, conservation, or economics – it’s clear that there is no good reason for this hunt to continue.

Let’s hope that after May 9, the party that commands the majority makes the decision that more than 90 percent of British Columbians polled want them to make: putting an end to the grizzly hunt, thereby reversing the damage done to the province’s economy and reputation.

Trump should leave national monuments alone

By on April 27, 2017 with 2 Comments
Trump should leave national monuments alone

It is unsettling that President Trump has called for a review of protected areas established by his predecessors under the Antiquities Act. Set-asides of the last, best places in the United States, both terrestrial and marine environments, has been a legacy for both Republican and Democrat presidents, and the Antiquities Act has been a critical . . . 

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Breaking news: Mexico adopts felony-level penalties for dogfighting

By on April 26, 2017 with 7 Comments
Breaking news: Mexico adopts felony-level penalties for dogfighting

In a groundbreaking victory for countless dogs caught up in Mexico’s animal fighting trade, the nation’s Senate has put the final stamp of approval on a comprehensive law that bans all dogfighting in the country and establishes tough penalties, including imprisonment and fines, for anyone involved in dogfighting activities like organizing fights, owning or trading . . . 

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Breaking news: Los Angeles to ban use of all wild animals in circuses

By on April 25, 2017 with 20 Comments
Breaking news: Los Angeles to ban use of all wild animals in circuses

The city council of the nation’s second largest city – and the capital of the entertainment industry – today unanimously voted to ban the exhibition of wild or exotic animals for entertainment, including circuses, other wild animal shows, displays in public areas such as on sidewalks or parks, and rentals for house parties or events. . . . 

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Cecil’s cousins under attack here in the U.S.

By on April 24, 2017 with 24 Comments
Cecil’s cousins under attack here in the U.S.

Imagine the terror. Without warning, a lion hears chaotic barking from a pack of dogs. The barking gets louder as the dogs close in on her. She runs in the opposite direction. The barking continues. Winded, she uses her extraordinary muscles and claws to climb a tree as nimbly and effortlessly as a squirrel, and . . . 

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Breaking news: Florida commissioners reject trophy hunt, spare bears for at least two years

By on April 20, 2017 with 3 Comments
Breaking news: Florida commissioners reject trophy hunt, spare bears for at least two years

In yet another dramatic turn in a long-running battle over contrasting views of proper wildlife management, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted by a 4-3 margin not to proceed with a black bear hunt in Florida. The especially good news is that the commissioners voted to maintain the moratorium through the end of . . . 

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The HSUS calls on the United States to stand tall and provide enhanced protections for giraffes

By on April 19, 2017 with 4 Comments
The HSUS calls on the United States to stand tall and provide enhanced protections for giraffes

What kind of person shoots a giraffe to obtain a trophy? How difficult is it to shoot the tallest animal in the world? Imagine seeing a creature this size crumple to the ground after a trophy hunter’s bullets tear through the beautiful, patterned fur markings and into the creature’s flesh? As the largest importer of . . . 

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Facebook killer may have had a history of animal abuse

By on April 19, 2017 with 2 Comments
Facebook killer may have had a history of animal abuse

The murder of Robert Godwin, Sr., with a shot to the face on Easter Sunday, jarred the nation. The perpetrator uploaded the encounter to Facebook for all to see, in an act that blended violence and vanity in the most macabre way. Steve Stephens opened his car door and picked his victim at random, gunning . . . 

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American trophy hunters target our black bears

By on April 18, 2017 with 10 Comments
American trophy hunters target our black bears

Yesterday, Florida’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, rightly urged the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to forego a trophy hunt for black bears in the state, as it did last year after an outpouring of concern from residents. Connecticut is going through a similar debate, with its small black bear population, and there’s . . . 

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Animal factories exact enormous toll on local communities, taxpayers, and animals

By on April 17, 2017 with 2 Comments
Animal factories exact enormous toll on local communities, taxpayers, and animals

Last week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nullified a Bush-era regulation that gave something of a free pass to factory farms that pollute the air and water. The regulation wrongly exempted factory farms from any obligation to report releases of toxic air emissions, including ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, which can cause so many problems . . . 

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