EDITORIAL: Do we really need a grizzly bear hunt in B.C.?

Like many issues in B.C., the grizzly hunt has a polarizing effect.

Why does B.C. need a grizzly bear hunt?

We understand the value of guides and outfitters to local economies, and we are not opposed to hunting per se, but we just don’t understand why someone would want to shoot and kill a grizzly bear.

The B.C. government is currently looking at allowing a grizzly bear hunt in two areas of the province it’s not permitted currently, the Kootenays and the Cariboo. (Historically there has never been an established population of grizzlies on Vancouver Island, but there have been more and more sightings in recent years as these industrious, athletic bears island hop from the mainland and reach our island.)

We understand the hunt for deer and elk. Those who eat meat can’t really, in good conscience, speak against hunting while they enjoy a steak off the barbecue.

And First Nations will follow their hunting traditions, which we should not interfere with, seeing as they go back hundreds and thousands of years before any of us immigrants arrived.

But who eats bear? And a grizzly?

Our first thought of any bear hunt take us to gall bladders and their supposed, ahem, medicinal qualities. Bears slaughtered and left to rot just for an internal organ or two, or some paws. Not a high point in human activity, to be sure.

Our second thought turns to those from outside our country who pay exorbitant fees to shoot a B.C. grizzly so they can display it in their den at home in California or England. Seriously, is this still 1850?

Like most issues in B.C., the grizzly hunt has a polarizing effect. Groups parade their own science and economic indicators to support their side of the debate. It’s important to not just heed the words of those who shout the loudest.

At least one group against the hunt is saying live grizzly bears viewed in their natural habitat are a better tourist draw and better potential economic boost than that provided by those who come here and spend thousands to kill them. Quantifying future economic benefits is akin to nailing Jello to a wall, but we have to say we like the sound of that argument.

— Editorial by John Harding

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