Editor’s note: A shorter version of this letter was published in the paper on Jan. 25.
Dear Mayor and Council, Princeton:
Re: Deer Kill Moratorium
A vocal pro-hunting minority has tried to turn a few isolated human and wildlife conflicts into mass hysteria for a B.C. wide deer cull. Contrary to government claims there are successful non-lethal solutions that include common sense and sterilization. The use of humane alternatives must not be determined by the price tag.
The Lifeforce Foundation has asked Penticton, Kimberley, Invermere and Grand Forks to place a moratorium on their deer kill plans.
We based this request upon:
1. Violation of permit conditions
It has come to our attention that the first trap set up in Kimberley did not have the approval of all neighbors as per the conditions of the deer trap and kill permit.
Two neighbors expressed upset and concern over the trap being located in their area without being consulted. It was reported to the city. Darryl Oakley (city councilor and one of the new deer committee members) spoke with Mayor McRae about the contractor not following this protocol and both agreed it should be removed as a result. However, blood was found so it appears that there was a deer killed in spite of this violation of the permit conditions.
2. Conflict of interest
If Mr. Purdy and Mr. Kerr had not been allowed to Chair and/or sit on the deer committees, the information provided to the public and final decision may well have been different. They appeared to have had preconceived plans to place a bid on the contracts.
Mr. Kerr was on the deer committee (Kimberley) and resigned after the contract to CP Trapping (Mr. Purdy on Cranbrook Deer Committee) was awarded. Mr. Kerr is now working with Mr. Purdy.
Please provide any legal opinion if you agree or disagree.
3. Uninspected meat
Mayor Taft, Invermere, said that from his discussions with residents, it seems many of them are reluctantly agreeable to a trap and cull program, but only if the meat is used by food banks or local residents. This is problematic too, he continued, as current provincial regulations prevent members of the public from accessing the meat from culled deer, and there are high costs associated with butchering the animals properly. (taken from Columbian Pioneer)
The CFIA states that only farmed deer are taken to Federally Inspected slaughter plants.
The “personal use” health inspection exemptions by hunters would not apply to this massive cull and distribution of any meat to the public.
At what costs?
Food Banks urge people to donate cash so they can get three times the amount of food that is purchased by an individual. It has been reported that the contractors get $350.00 for each deer they kill (there are other costs too). So, instead of uninspected deer meat over $1000 worth of food could be provided for each dead deer.
4. B.C. government public comment period
There is an obligation to consult the public before issuing the permits. There is certainly an obligation to consult any affected First Nations.
In regards to the B.C. government obligation re: consulting the public there is a general duty to make decisions in a procedurally fair way, and in general fairness requires notice to people who may be affected, including sufficient info to allow them to make informed comments, and at least an opportunity to give written comments. Lifeforce requests to participate were not responded to.
Please advise if indeed the B.C. government made public notice for the public to give comments to the B.C. government prior to the permits being issued.
5. Non Target Deer
It has been reported that Kimberley releases the White tail deer because they believe that the Mule Deer are the aggressive ones. Do you have any statistics on the reported problems and the deer species involved? Also, at this time of year, the Mule Deer will come down from the mountains in search of food. When baiting traps what measures are taken to prevent attracting these innocent deer, who were not the “aggressive” ones?
It is also reported that one to two year old deer have been seen without their moms. The males will stay with the mother for up to one year and females will stay up to two years. This not only creates a cruel situation for the young but will also increase the actual deer numbers if they cannot survive.
6. “Deer” related motor vehicle collisions?
It was reported, “ICB.C. data show deer-related motor-vehicle collisions in CRD municipalities have increased by an average of 13 per cent a year since 2000, growing to more than 100 collisions in 2010 from 35 reported in 2000. Province wide, animal-related insurance claims rose to $30.8 million in 2007 from $15.8 million in 1997.”
First, is this all “animal-related” accidents not just deer? If so, what percentage is solely deer related? These stats were actually over 10 year periods which can be expected due to increase human population growth and the increased number of vehicles on the roads.
7. Inhumane of Clover Trap and Captive Bolt Guns
The public and perhaps councils were not fully informed of the inhumanness of this type of hunt..
The following is from a deer kill contractor called White Buffalo:
“Trap and Euthanasia:
This technique can be used in areas where there is a concern about or law prohibiting the discharge of firearms. Physical restraint, using box traps, clover traps, drop nets or rocket nets, is followed by euthanasia using a gun shot or captive bolt to the head. As mentioned above, deer are subjected to great amounts of stress during the restraint component. Minimum cost is $400 per deer.”
Here are some examples of experts against this kill:
VOICES AGAINST TRAP AND CAPTIVE BOLT
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) “We firmly believe that it is impossible to ensure that this technology is used correctly enough in the field to provide a humane death to deer. Captive bolt guns are designed for use on restrained animals in highly structured and controlled environments. Even there, the “Humaneness” of these devices has been called into question. These guns were not designed for use on wild animals under any circumstances and certainly not as a management tool for white-tailed deer.”
Dr. Peggy Larson – Animal Law and Veterinary Medicine, “This is a very inhumane way to rid yourselves of excess deer because of the extreme fright experienced by the deer and because the captive bolt does not effect a clean kill when the animal’s head is not immobilized. The misplaced bolt does not always kill but merely wounds the deer making repeated attempts necessary to kill the struggling animals.”
Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR) – “AVAR is opposed to this cruel method of capturing deer because it subjects them to extreme stress and suffering before they are killed. Deer struggle and kick, often fracturing a limb or sustaining other injuries. If the deer moves his or her head at the time the bolt is fired, the deer will be painfully wounded and the struggle continues until additional shots are fired.”
Jack Schrier, former Fish & Game Council member, Mendham Township Committeeman, Morris County Freeholder, Member of the NJ Highlands Commission, Chair of Morris County Land Management Commission. “Net and bolt is barbaric. It works in slaughterhouses only because the animals are limited to a single-file lane, restrained and unable to wriggle or struggle. In the field it is impossible – impossible – to have the poor creatures hold still long enough for the bolt to be accurately used. There are too many cases of misses and try-try again. Humane it is not. Certain it is not. Swift it is not. Horrible it certainly is.”
Dr. John W. Grandy, Ph.D. Wildlife Biologist, Senior Vice President of Wildlife and Habitat Protection, Wildlife Land Trust, Washington, D.C., “Captive bolt guns were designed for use on restrained domestic animals, typically in slaughterhouses. The ‘humaneness’ of this device has been called into question under those circumstances. There is ample documentation about the cruel, slow deaths suffered by domestic animals even in slaughterhouses. These guns were not designed for use on wild animals under any circumstances.”
Robert Kubiack, hunter and former slaughterhouse worker…http://deeralliance.org/expose.html
The following is from a memo written by a Princeton hunter, Bob Kubiak, which details the reality behind captive bolt….
“At a Princeton township meeting, I personally brought to the table my objections based solely on my long held conviction that “bolting” in actual practice is grossly inhumane. As a long time butcher and slaughterer of farm animals, (over twenty years experience) I can assure all who will hear that this method in practice is not only inhumane, but barbaric. I have personally (but unintentionally) wounded far more animals with a bolt gun than with my arrow. In the absolute pristine condition where an animal’s head is held firmly in place by mechanical means, where no movement is possible, bolting would be my first choice of killing. However, in the “real” world, this type of restraint is not possible. In a netting situation, I can’t even imagine the horrific result.”
Dr. Allen Rutberg, Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Former Senior Scientist for HSUS, led the wildlife contraception program.
“My personal opinion, which does not in any way imply endorsement from the Tufts-Cummings Veterinary School or the Tufts Center for Animals, is that netting & bolting free range deer is at best difficult to carry out humanely and at worst is brutally cruel. Because the practice localizes responsibility for killing with specific property owners, it also stirs up personal animosity among members of the community. Again, in my opinion, the potential for animal suffering and the elevated animosity generated by the practice outweighs any benefits that might be achieved by deer population reduction.”
Please be advised that we have also received info that an organization in Cayuga Heights, NY were successful in having the courts grant an injunction to temporarily halt a deer kill pending an environmental impact study. Lifeforce has requested information regarding such an injunction in B.C. See http://cayugadeer.org/.
A proper study would include an accurate deer count. As reported on January 19, 2012: When Penticton City Council dropped its 2012 budget deficit they also cut spending to the controversial deer cull program from $20,000 to $10,000. Councillor Judy Sentes suggested lowering the budget for the deer cull during Monday’s city council meeting, because she believes not as many deer should be culled as originally thought. Sentes says that since the City of Penticton has not conducted a one day count there is no idea of the number of deer that should be culled. (http://www.castanet.net/edition/news-story–21-.htm)
Worldwide condemnation of this cruelty is coming in from concerned people around the world (see the Lifeforce petitions). They will boycott cities that permit the kills in British Columbia. They want to visit the “Super Natural B.C.” with all its beautiful wildlife. Not a B.C. with innocent deer being wantonly killed.
Lifeforce is urging B.C. business against the “urban” deer kill to please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to show the world that the majority of people in B.C. have compassion and will stand up to protect defenceless animals.
People worldwide have been signing Lifeforce petitions. There has also been incredible support of the Boycott B.C. Deer Kills. See:
Lifeforce’s Worldwide Petition to Stop the Killing of 225 deer was signed by 1,000 people from Dec. 7 to Dec. 12.
Based on the above issues, on behalf of Lifeforce and concerned citizens I request that:
1. Princeton will oppose any deer kill plans.
2. Princeton will increase any needed education programs to advise people how to humanely resolve any real human and wildlife conflicts. A partial list is at: http://lifeforcefoundation.org/files/HumaneAlternativesDeer.pdf
Please advise us of your decision.
Lifeforce Founding Director