Provincial government policies need change

Conservation officer shouldn’t be suspended for saving bear cubs

To the editor:

This is an open letter we have sent to Environment Minister Mary Polak regarding the issue of Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant being suspended without pay for saving the lives of two bear cubs in Port Hardy, British Columbia.

We are ashamed at how wildlife issues are “managed” in this province. Too many deaths of wildlife animals occur at the hands of conservation officers who are acting in accordance with the policies set out by our provincial government.

This ongoing slaughter does not go unnoticed by us or many other residents of B.C. It is anthropocentric, inhumane and short-sighted to believe we have the right to exterminate other animals in the name of convenience and economy.

Every year hundreds of healthy wildlife animals are killed in our province by this government. We have spoken at length with many conservation officers and have heard all the justifications and rationales.

We are tired of hearing how these animals are a threat to human safety. It is we humans who are the biggest threat.

In fact, in Kamloops, two rescued bear cubs were taken to our Wildlife Park and were slaughtered upon their arrival due to government policy. Minutes after their extermination, the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter called to say they had heard of the bear cub rescue and they were ready and willing to take the cubs. They were already dead.

Further, some of the wildlife shelters in B.C. receive government funding and are, therefore, obligated to tow your unethical line.

We are two citizens of this province who are outraged at your policies and practices.

You should be commending Officer Casavant for his forward-thinking, progressive, compassionate refusal to carry out your anthropocentric policies.

We salute Officer Casavant for his courage to stand up for what is right. He should be immediately reinstated to his job (with back pay), and promoted to be your consultant and advisor on the humane, sane and compassionate treatment and stewardship of our wildlife brethren.

Sandi Mikuse

Claudette Laffey

Kamloops

Editor’s Note: Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant remains under suspension but is back on the payroll.