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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The cruelest April Fool's joke

It's that time of year: April Fool's Day.  When I was nine years old my Dad rushed down into my bedroom in Salmon Arm, British Columbia to tell me the news -- my beloved NHLer Guy Lafleur had been traded that morning from my equally beloved Montreal Canadiens to the California Golden Seals.  I lay in bed and cried and cried, heart-broken and crushed, until finally my Dad gave my arm a gentle punch and said those infamous words, "April Fool's!" and snuck back out of my room.

It still brings a devilish smile to my face every time I think about it, how my Dad took me at my most vulnerable and pulled a fast one on me. And since that day onwards, I've always tried my best to pull my own brilliant versions of April Fool's on those around me.

Only that this time around, as we 'celebrate' April 1st, 2014, it's bear lovers that are the brunt of the foolish joke: because this morning it's no April Fool's line when I tell you that grizzly bear hunting season opens in British Columbia, and the hills are alive with trophy hunters intent on adding a new rug or head to their grisly collections.

The beautiful big bears of the Chilcotin are once again being hunted today, after 13 years of peace

April 1st, Day One of grizzly bear hunting season in B.C., despite 87% of the province's residents being opposed to the hunt, and despite all of the science pointing out quite clearly that the current hunt is not based on science and is not sustainable in the long-term. You can ignore the ethics of the trophy hunt all you want -- why are grizzly hunters so intent on killing something that they do not eat or need to kill -- but the science is supposed to be what our governments use to manage our wildlife.


So when four of the world's most prominent grizzly bear and wildlife scientists speak out publicly about the failed science behind the BC grizzly bear hunt, I tend to listen: http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/Stephen+Hume+Grizzly+hunt+fails+test+science+experts/9652306/story.html

Nature, the International Journal of Science, published the scientists findings, too, again coming out strongly against the grizzly hunt: http://www.nature.com/news/canadian-grizzly-bears-face-expanded-hunt-1.14914 

Another gorgeous Chilcotin bear that will be under fire from grizzly hunters this morning on 'April Fools Day'

So why isn't the British Columbia government listening to any of this? Why are they not listening to the general public?  Those are both good questions, and I suggest you fire off a quick email to the BC Premier Christy Clark at premier@gov.bc.ca and to Minister Steve Thomson at flnr.minister@gov.bc.ca  (the idiot that keeps defending the hunt in the BC Legislature saying repeatedly that it's "based on science") to ask them exactly those questions (and please feel free to include the links to those two articles).

Check out this article for more ammunition: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Stephen+Hume+Brutish+Columbia+trophy+bear+hunt+puts+display/9624211/story.html.
Vancouver Sun columnist Stephen Hume brilliantly sums up some of the ridiculousness of the trophy hunt.  Did you know that almost a third of the bears killed are females (even though grizzly hunters are not supposed to shoot females)?  And perhaps the best/worst part of the entire article is when Hume exposes that grizzly bear hunting in British Columbia contributes the same amount to the provincial economy as the CAR ALLOWANCE for 19 cabinet ministers and their assistant ministers. No, that's not an April Fool's joke, either, though I wish it was.

And if you feel like getting onto Twitter to express your displeasure, feel free to tweet Premier Christy Clark (@christyclarkbc) or Minister Thomson (@Steve4Kelowna).

I'm usually not that gentle in my tweets to either of them (read from bottom up to the top)

And finally, I want to point out a great article in the Huffington Post recently from a friend and colleague, Chelsea Turner: Bears are My Neighbours, and You Wouldn't Slaughter your Neighbours.  Please take a read when you have a chance and let me know what you think of Chelsea's opinions in my Comments section below.

Here's to hoping that by next year, April Fool's Day will be back to being just that...a day of funny fake jokes, not cruel real ones.

Thank you everyone for all of your support in trying to shut down the British Columbia grizzly bear hunt once and for all.

John