Vol.15 - No.13, Fall 1996
The following debate between Anthony Marr, WCWC's BET'R Campaigner, and
a typical B.C. bear hunter. A composite drawn from actual meetings and
radio talks shows in communities across B.C. during Marr's road tour.
TBH - Typical Bear Hunter
AM - Anthony
Marr, WCWC's BET'R campaigner
TBH: "Your campaign is based only on emotion. There is no
biological basis or reasons behind your demand that bear hunting ends"
AM: "Although we believe that the
killing of bears for pleasure (recreational hunting) and for vanity
(trophy hunting) is morally indefensible, we also have biological reasons
for wanting to end the sport hunting of bears in B.C. Grizzly bear
populations are declining and the species is now listed as "threatened."
Although black bears are not yet considered 'at risk', population
estimates are extremely variable and poaching is increasing. Four out of
seven of Earth's bear species are already endangered. We must start to
protect our bears before they, too, are in such dire straight as, say, the
Asiatic Black bear."
TBH: "You are challenging our right to hunt. This is
wrong in principle."
AM: "I am concerned about the bears'
right to survival. I am focusing on all threats, including habitat loss. I
am also challenging the long-standing Oriental tradition and 'right' to
use animal parts for medicine, an effort that hunters support."
TBH: "You are lumping us law-abiding hunters in with
AM: "Do you indulge in bait hunting?
(Editors note: putting out food so that those animals attracted to it can
be shot at point blank range.)"
TBH: "Of course not. It is illegal,
and not right."
AM: "Baiting is legal in Washington
state. Does that make it right there? The issue is not one of simply law,
which changes with the thinking of society, but what is right given the
current precarious state of wildlife on this planet."
TBH: "Hunters are
the only true and effective conservationists."
AM: "According to whom?"
"Former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, for one."
AM: "Theodore Roosevelt predated the
environmental movement by nearly half a century and lived at a time when
wilderness dominated the planet. People now dominate the planet and many
species have been driven to extinction. Today, conservationists fight to
protect wildlife for its own sake, not for theirs."
TBH: "Hunters go after older, breeding-age animals. It's
a good way to control population." (Terrance Standard - July 10)
AM: "Unlike other predators, who go
after the weakest prey, thus genetically strengthening the prey species,
hunters go after the most magnificent specimens, thus weakening the
TBH: "If you get rid of hunting, there'll be a bear
AM: "Natural biological controls, such
as food shortages, lower birth rate and intraspecies competition and
predation will keep the population level steady."
TBH: "Why target legal hunters when poachers are the
AM: "As far as the bears are
concerned, hunters and poachers are all bear-killers. We target both
hunters and poachers as well as traffickers and habitat destroyers to
ensure that bears will survive over the long term."
TBH: "You should go after the Asians and their use of
bear parts, not us hunters."
AM: "Check out the media coverage of
our BET'R Campaign over the last year. We have confronted the Asian
community's use of bear parts long before the inception of the Ban Bear
Hunting Referendum Initiative, and will continue to do so after the
Referendum Initiative ends."
TBH: "Hunting is not killing; it goes way beyond that.
It's a form of communing with nature. I can't expect you to understand."
AM: "Hunting is not killing? Some
humans may buy that argument, but not the bears. It's not necessary to
kill in order to appreciate and enjoy nature."
TBH: "Hunters are the anti-poaching field force. We are
the eyes and ears for the conservation officers."
AM: "Relying on hunters to watch out
for poachers is like letting coyotes safeguard sheep from wolves. We need
to add more conservation officers, but there are also other hunters,
hunting deer and moose for example, who can keep a watch. Further, without
bear hunters, poachers will be much easier to spot, since anyone seen
killing a bear or possessing bear parts would be a poacher."
TBH: "Bear hunting is the only hunting with a spring
season. Without us bear hunters, there'll be no one out there watching out
for poachers during this season when the bears are coming out of
hibernation and are so vulnerable."
AM: "Yes, there will be-hikers,
campers, mushroom pickers. They now easily outnumber bear hunters a
thousand to one. Also the spring bear hunt is so ecologically unsound that
42 of 48 lower U.S.A. states have banned it."
TBH: "WCWC pulls numbers out of a hat. (Morning Sun -
July 31) They're playing with figures fast and loose." (Times-Colonist -
AM: "All WCWC figures are quoted from
published writings of internationally recognized bear research
authorities, with references given, whereas hunters tend to quote the
highest populations estimates available, and the lowest poaching estimates
made by some B.C. government employees."
TBH: "Banning bear hunting is WCWC's first step to
banning all hunting."
AM: "We have made may public
statements to the contrary. In WCWC's 16 years of conservation work, it
has always supported subsistence and food hunting as well as aboriginal
hunting and trapping rights."
TBH: "Many interior and northern towns economically
depend on hunting."
AM: "Bear hunting is only a small
percentage of the total hunting activity. Additionally, there is a far
greater potential for generating local jobs and revenues through
eco-tourism than through the sport hunting of bears."
Return to Anti Trophy Hunting