by Barry Kent MacKay
Senior Program Associate
Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative
If they knew how pathetic they looked to ordinary people, would they feel
shame? Nah. They probably don’t care what others think. I speak of those
whose idea of fun is to end the life of a magnificent animal, pose over his
or her cooling carcass while photos are snapped, and keep remnants of the
slaughtered being in their trophy rooms.
The Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, who heads the Liberal Party,
is the darling of Safari Club International. She supports trophy hunting
because, well, it brings in money. That-not the lives of innocent
wildlife-is what matters to her ilk. Blood money is still money: the
fervently worshipped material deity of all that matters. Safari Club
International recently donated $60,000 to help assure that, in the May 9
provincial election, the National Democratic Party would not unseat Ms.
If elected, the National Democratic Party-far more progressive than the
Liberal party-has promised to end trophy hunting for grizzlies. Thus, rich
and powerful Safari Club International members in both Canada and the U.S.
dug into their change drawers and donated the $60,000 to the Liberal
election campaign, apparently through the Guide Outfitters Association of
British Columbia (which has honored Clark with its President’s Award,
cheered by her refusal to change the laws in order to limit such
The more rare and more magnificent the animal, the more these trophy hunters
seem to want to kill. Perhaps it’s out of some deep psychological need to
dominate, as if owning the stuffed remains of these glorious animals somehow
imbues the hunter with some of the glory. (Although, of course, to most of
us, it does the opposite.) And, few animals left in North America are more
rare than the grizzly bear, extirpated through so much of its former range.
Poll after poll and survey after survey have shown that more than 90% of
British Columbia residents don’t approve of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.
Even hunters, many of whom hunt for food and sport, disdain the trophy
hunter; they recognize that the “trophy” is the result of wealth, not of
what they would consider skill or need. British Columbia’s National
Democratic Party leader, John Horgan, clarifies that he does not oppose
hunting, but that he would end the British Columbia trophy hunt if he
Wildlife biologists, including those on the government’s own payroll, often
stand firmly opposed to the trophy hunt on ecological and conservation
grounds. That’s an important economic consideration, as two major studies
have shown that bear viewing generates more tourist income than bear trophy
hunting. But, you need to have bears to view-and the grizzly, with its need
for extensive wilderness and its slow reproductive rates, is particularly
vulnerable to endangerment.
The Liberals ended a moratorium on grizzly trophy hunts when they came to
power. Now, it’s time for things to change.
Barry Kent MacKay
Senior Program Associate
Born Free U.S.A.