If you’re friends with a pet owner, dog walker, or maybe even just someone who’s a fan of clicking the ‘share’ button, you’ve likely seen the post below. It states that coyotes are actively mating, and that they become more aggressive at this time of year. Further, it implies that coyotes will draw dogs to an awaiting pack to kill them.
Where to start?
There is some truth in the post: coyotes are mating this time of year. However, they’re monogamous – so only young coyotes will be seeking a new mate. The gestation period is roughly 60 days, give or take. And loose dogs can come into conflict with coyotes (as well as other wildlife to whom dogs are seen as predators or risks toward). That’s about where the facts of this post end, and the sensationalism and disinformation begin.
This post indicates that an individual coyote will encourage a dog to chase them, then slowly lead them back to a pack (who is waiting for your dog). This is a wildly inaccurate assessment of canine behaviour, both for domestic dogs and for coyotes. What has been documented is dogs chasing or harassing wildlife of all sizes and stripes – loose dogs can pose a major threat to other animals.
Coyotes are naturally curious, and an essential part of their ecosystems. They will watch a dog and determine if they are a threat (that’s the long stare you may hear about). But if chased by a dog, which is what dogs often do, they will return to the safety of their family – just like you would if you were being chased by a predator. At that point, a coyote family may defend themselves, their territory, their den, or a food source from a predator or invader. This is not luring or some form of trickery, but very simple cause and effect initiated by a loose dog chasing wildlife.
Male coyotes do not become more aggressive this time of year. Both coyotes in a mated pair will protect each other, their territory, their resources like food, and their den or pups. The role a dog or human play in this is entirely on humans – not coyotes.
About the picture
This photo is deeply upsetting to those of us who have seen the original photo series. While it may appear to be a coyote attacking a dog and grabbing his collar, the full, uncropped series of images shows a coyote trapped against a fence line by their back leg. Three dogs are attacking and snapping at the coyote (the photo showing a third dog is not shown below due to its graphic nature), and there is evidence that they have bitten them on the hind quarters. This is not a coyote attacking – it is a coyote desperately defending themselves against three dangerous predators and the human who trapped the coyote. This is animal cruelty – and it’s been shared and promoted by unknowing animal lovers across the internet.
If you love animals – be it dogs, coyotes, cats, bears, or even guinea pigs, please consider deleting your share of that original post and sharing this one instead. You can also share this post into the comments of friends who have posted the original meme.
Knowledge is an essential step on the path to compassionate co-existence and co-flourishing, and it starts with you.
This blog was co-authored by Coyote Watch Canada and our friends at The Fur-Bearers.
Boreal woodland caribou (‘caribou’1) live across northern Canada and need large, intact forests to survive. The ultimate cause of caribou decline across the country is habitat loss and fragmentation from extensive industrial resource extraction activities. Extensive habitat disturbance in turn increases predation rates for caribou beyond what they can tolerate. To date, these caribou have lost more than half of their historic range in the continent.2 In 2012, the federal Recovery Strategy identified that 37 of 51 populations are not self-sustaining.3Caribou are a cornerstone of many Indigenous Peoples’ culture and history; for thousands of years Indigenous Peoples from across Canada have relied and continue to rely on caribou for sustenance and as a central part of their culture.
Under the federal Species At Risk Act (SARA), the federal government is mandated to identify caribou critical habitat – the habitat that caribou need to survive and recover – in a Recovery Strategy. It did so in 2012. A team of North America’s leading caribou experts established a strong relationship between the extent of habitat disturbance and whether a local population increases, declines or remains stable. From this, the federal government assessed how levels of habitat disturbance affect risk to caribou populations. It directed provinces to manage forests such that there is at least 65% undisturbed habitat in each caribou range, to give caribou at least a 60% chance to be self-sustaining.
Across Canada, provinces have failed to apply this science in effective caribou management strategies. As a result, disturbance levels continue to increase, and caribou in many ranges continue to decline. Below are three examples of ranges where increasing industrial activity since the Recovery Strategy’s release continues to undermine caribou survival and recovery.
Hot Spot Maps – Chinchaga AB, Pipmuacan QC, Brightsand ON
By using the slider on the interactive maps below to slide back and forth, you will see forest fragmentation in 2012 when the Recovery Strategy came out, and how it looked in 2016, four years later. We have selected “hot spots” in each range, where you can see how forestry and other developments continue to expand in caribou ranges. Use the overview maps on the right to select different hotspots to look at. You can also use the check boxes on the bottom left to highlight specific types of additional development.
Habitat disturbance in Chinchaga Caribou Range: 2012–2016 (Hotspot 1)
Projection: Canada Albers Equal Area Conic. Mapping prepared 2017-10-27, cartographer: S. Nichols. For technical details and information on the methodology used to produce these maps, please contact Carolyn Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alberta is one of Canada’s few provinces without a specific law to protect its species at risk. Alberta’s archaic Wildlife Act focuses on managing hunting rather than the importance of securing wildlife habitat. Recent caribou management decisions include both positive and negative elements, but overall, new forestry and energy sector surface disturbance continues to destroy caribou critical habitat within many of the province’s already excessively disturbed ranges. A long-term commitment to habitat maintenance and recovery must replace reliance on band-aid wildlife management measures, such as predator culls.
Alberta has monitored female mortality and calf survival in all its caribou populations. In 2013, the peer-reviewed scientific conclusions from this population research showed caribou were declining rapidly across Alberta, with a decline of approximately 50% every 8 years.
On the positive side, Alberta has paused new energy lease auctions within caribou ranges since summer 2015. It has also allowed existing lease holders to voluntarily delay drilling in ranges until early 2019. A government-appointed mediator conducted inclusive consultations on west central ranges in early 2016. In June 2016, Alberta made a high profile commitment to establish significant new protected areas in three northwest caribou ranges; these would be in portions of the range that have no existing industrial forestry tenure.
However, there are no timelines to stop new disturbance or achieve the minimum intact habitat levels to recover caribou. Alberta’s only draft caribou range plan is for the Little Smoky and A La Peche ranges in west central Alberta: it proposes more short-term logging (albeit less than ‘business as usual’), unspecified new oil and gas-related surface disturbance, and is silent on long-term logging. This ongoing habitat loss will lengthen reliance on the regrettable 10 year old massive wolf kill in that region. The draft plan also proposes to confine wild caribou females within a large fenced compound, and then release their yearlings into worsening habitat. A positive element of the draft range plan is an extensive seismic line restoration program, funded largely by the energy industry.
Chinchaga Range Profile – Situated on Alberta’s northwest border adjacent to BC, the Chinchaga caribou range was assessed as having 76% habitat disturbance in 2011. It has one of the lowest estimated calf survival rates in Alberta. Since the 2012 federal caribou Recovery Strategy, the Alberta government auctioned 1000 km2 of new energy leases in this range before halting lease sales in August 2015. One Wildland Park covers 5% of this caribou range; otherwise there are no limits to industrial disturbance. In June 2016, the Alberta government promised to extend the existing Wildland Park by 3500 km2 into an adjacent area that has no industrial forestry, to increase protected areas to 24% of this range; however, there have been few follow-up actions to date.
Participation of Alberta’s indigenous communities and stakeholders is needed to find optimal solutions for range plans. Sustainable economies for communities can be consistent with caribou recovery, including:
Significant energy extraction from greatly reduced surface footprint, with longer distance directional drilling, pooled leases and shared infrastructure.
Substantial jobs from extensive forest habitat restoration programs across and adjacent to ranges.
Reformed regional timber supply allocation and management, to support sustainable forestry that is compatible with recovery of caribou and other sentinel wildlife species.
Quebec’s woodland caribou recovery team was formed in 2003 and is comprised of scientific experts, government and industry representatives, outfitters, First Nations and environmental NGOs. In May 2013, the team produced its second 10-year woodland caribou recovery plan (2013-2023). Despite acknowledging receipt of the plan, the government indicated it would not adopt it due to potential socio-economic impacts. In April 2016, Quebec announced it had a “credible, acceptable and reasonable” action plan for woodland caribou habitat conservation. That plan is currently in development and expected to be released in 2018.
Quebec has come under fire in recent months due to a highly controversial announcement that the isolated Val d’Or population (~18 individuals) would be translocated to a zoo in St-Félicien. Furthermore, it was revealed that construction of a new road had been approved through one of the population’s last refuge areas against the recommendation of government scientists. Opposition to the government’s announcement was so fervent that the St-Félicien zoo finally retracted. However, construction of the road in question is still underway. Overall, Quebec’s announcement sets a dangerous precedent suggesting it is an acceptable solution to relocate threatened caribou and thereby ignore the underlying sustainability issue.
Industrial forest management is the primary driver of caribou critical habitat deterioration in Quebec. Additional disturbances include mining, hydroelectric development and recreational tourism. The majority of Quebec’s commercial forest is excessively disturbed and considered unlikely to support self-sustaining caribou populations. Current modeling projections indicate that in many cases, sufficient habitat recovery is unlikely to occur over the next 100 years. The areas most likely to support self-sustaining caribou populations at present include the Broadback river valley, the White Mountains, and the remote North and Lower North Shore regions.
Although cumulative disturbances continue to further erode caribou critical habitat in Quebec, certain places have benefited from interim protection. Negotiations continue towards designating at least one new protected area in the White Mountains. A relatively small portion of the Broadback river valley was granted permanent protection in 2015, although roughly half of it is situated outside the commercial forest. The Quebec government is currently designing a network of ‘suitable vast areas’ for caribou, within which mitigation measures yet to be disclosed will be implemented. These are likely to involve special management of intact residual forests presently slated for future logging.
In terms of other concrete measures, Quebec is investing $7 million over the next 3 years toward population delineation and monitoring, although this also includes migratory and mountain caribou of Quebec. Work has also begun on a pilot study area in the North Shore region where road restoration practices will be tested. Lastly, four technical committees have been formed to develop the governmental action plan as it pertains to habitat management, socioeconomic impacts, population monitoring and population protection. Quebec’s action plan for woodland caribou is eagerly awaited, and a significant step forward is needed if it is to meet the requirements of the federal recovery strategy.
Pipmuacan Range Profile – The Pipmuacan caribou range overlaps the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean (western portion) and North Shore (eastern portion) regions of Quebec4 near the Pipmuacan hydroelectric reservoir. It is one of the southernmost ranges found within the semi-continuous caribou distribution zone and therefore among the most disturbed. Several hundred kilometres of new roads have been built on the Pipmuacan range since the federal Recovery Strategy was released, and several hundred square kilometres of caribou critical habitat have been logged. In 2013, range disturbance within the two forest management units encompassing the Pipmuacan range was estimated to be roughly 74%,5 most of which is attributed to the permanent road network. Less than 1% of this area is protected, and even the most optimistic scenario indicates that cumulative disturbance rates will remain over 45% in the long term (100 years).6
Landscape mapping combined with aerial surveys conducted by government biologists in 2007 and then in 2012 suggest that caribou may have gradually concentrated near the Pipmuacan reservoir as a result of extensive logging in the surrounding areas. Recent data indicates that calf recruitment is insufficient to compensate for adult mortality, and supports the conclusion that caribou of the Pipmuacan range are declining.7 What is more, this decline is expected to continue well into the future without a substantial commitment by government to increase habitat protection.
Recently, the Montreal Economic Institute reported that the conservation of woodland caribou in Quebec would cost the forest industry $740 million and 5700 jobs.8 This sensationalist claim is based on superficial rules of thumb, not a rigorous and scientifically defensible economic study. In reality, changes in fibre sourcing and consumer demand have played a key role in the downsizing and increased automation of the forest industry in recent years, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs in the forest sector. Under the circumstances, caribou have become a vulnerable scapegoat for forestry industry lobbyists. While conservation of caribou critical habitat may result in reduced wood supply, practical solutions exist and these must be embraced while there is still time. For example, government subsidies normally directed toward road construction and maintenance could instead be used to train and hire skilled workers for habitat restoration purposes. Furthermore, practicing intensive forestry close to mills could lessen logging pressure in more remote intact areas where boreal caribou are more likely to be concentrated due to existing habitat disturbance. Conducting forest management planning at the population range scale would facilitate this approach by increasing the area within which wood volumes could be sourced.
For two decades, Ontario has had management policies in place that apply to boreal woodland caribou. As a listed threatened species9 under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ESA), they require a provincial Recovery Strategy and government ‘response statement.’ In 2008, the Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou in Ontario was finalized, and the government’s response statement, known as Ontario’s Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan (‘CCP’), was released in October 2009.10 Its goals are “to maintain self-sustaining, genetically-connected local populations of Woodland Caribou (forest-dwelling boreal population) where they currently exist, improve security and connections among isolated mainland local populations, and facilitate the return of caribou to strategic areas near their current extent of occurrence.” The key innovation of the CCP was that it prescribed the adoption of a range management approach: caribou ranges would provide the geographic basis for evaluating habitat conditions, identifying caribou habitat, assessing population trends, and quantifying and addressing cumulative effects. Five years later (December 2014), Ontario published the “Range Management Policy in Support of Woodland Caribou and Recovery.” The first Principle of the Range Management Policy is that ranges will be managed such that “the amount of cumulative disturbance remains at or moves towards a level that supports a self-sustaining caribou population.”11Despite the breadth of policy and management guidance developed in Ontario, cumulative disturbance, specifically anthropogenic disturbance, has continued to increase since the federal Recovery Strategy was published in 2012. In the seven caribou ranges that overlap with industrial logging, the estimated anthropogenic disturbance12 was 6,975,000 ha in 2012, and rose to 7,178,400 ha in 201513, an increase of 200,000 ha. During the same period, natural disturbance increased by 13,000 ha.14 Five of the seven caribou ranges that overlap with industrial logging are below the minimum 65% undisturbed threshold identified in the federal Recovery Strategy. Four populations are now considered at moderate-high risk, and unlikely to persist if conditions do not change. In addition, recent population surveys have indicated that most caribou are in decline in Ontario: some moderately, some significantly.15Caribou recovery is further hampered by the fact that forestry activities associated with industrial logging have received a regulatory exemption from Ontario’s ESA. As a result, they are not subject to the recovery requirements defined under this law (i.e., “overall benefit”). This is despite the fact that disturbance associated with industrial logging and associated roads areis one of the key contributors to cumulative disturbance in Ontario’s managed forest. Instead, forest management direction is provided through the 1994 Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) which is designed to mitigate impacts of logging on wildlife habitat, not support the recovery of species at risk.
Brightsand Range Profile Located just north of Thunder Bay, the Brightsand caribou range is considered “unlikely” to persist, based on cumulative disturbance which has now exceeded 45%.16 In the 3 years that Ontario undertook calf recruitment surveys (2011-2013), recruitment ranged from 18.2 to 25.5 calves per 100 cows. Environment Canada (2008) suggests that a level of 29.8 calves per 100 cows is needed to support a stable or increasing population. The most recent range report also stated that long-term trends suggest that range recession has occurred within the Brightsand range, as some previously occupied areas in the southern portion of the range are no longer occupied by caribou. As an average across the Brightsand range, young forests are within the amount expected under natural conditions, however, there is a significant variation in spatial distribution – the bulk of mature and old growth forests are located in the northern parts of the range, and the bulk of the younger forests are located in the southern parts of the range.
Increasing disturbance trend in the Brightsand caribou range. Disturbance has continued to increase while the forest industry has had a regulatory exemption from Ontario’s Endangered Species Act; disturbance now exceeds 45%.
In 2015, anthropogenic disturbance on the Brightsand range = 808,082 ha, and natural disturbance = 195,274 ha.
Myth:There is inadequate science to plan for caribou recovery
Fact: Scientific research has yielded clear and consistent results across the country. The continuum of risk established by Environment Canada in 2008 has been refined by recent science, but no new science has served to refute it.
Myth:The science is too rigid
Fact: The Recovery Strategy allows for regional variation in managing habitat, as long as it is supported by
Myth:Caribou plans will deprive indigenous and other local communities of jobs and development opportunities
Fact: Indigenous communities, other local communities and all citizens deserve meaningful consultation and information about managing the important lands that support caribou. Indigenous and local communities should participate in choosing the best socio-economic actions that guarantee caribou range requirements to protect caribou critical habitat. Planning range access with indigenous communities, industry, hunters and trappers that is compatible with caribou recovery is urgently needed. Recent studies have shown that the primary driver of job losses in Canada’s forestry sector is mechanization and the downturn in newsprint, not habitat conservation.
Myth:The real problem facing caribou is climate change
Fact: Caribou habitat loss driven by excessive clearcut logging and energy surface disturbance has been documented for decades. Climate change adds to pressures on northern forest ecosystems, and only increases the reasons why we need better management. Caribou habitat recovery can help forests be more resilient to climate change, by reducing fragmentation and slowing down loss of older forests and wetlands.
Myth:It’s not habitat, the problem is too many wolves and other predators
Fact: The root cause of increased caribou predation by wolves and other predators is fragmented and degraded habitat in caribou ranges. Cutblocks, roads, and poorly reclaimed seismic lines and well pads support increases in deer, moose and wolf populations, create more predator access to caribou and diminish caribou’s ability to avoid overlap with predators they’ve co-existed with for thousands of years.
Myth:It’s good enough for companies to follow ‘best practice’ or mitigation measure guidelines
Fact: Caribou populations are declining almost everywhere that project-level operating guidelines are the main habitat management tool.
A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
A female wolf, left, and male wolf roam the tundra near The Meadowbank Gold Mine located in the Nunavut Territory of Canada on Wednesday, March 25, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
A female wolf, left, and male wolf roam the tundra near The Meadowbank Gold Mine located in the Nunavut Territory of Canada on Wednesday, March 25, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
MONTREAL – A Quebec government plan to kill wolves that get too close to an endangered woodland caribou herd is raising concern among environmentalists, who accuse the government of sidestepping the true problem of habitat loss.
The plan by the Department of Forest, Wildlife and Parks involves placing tracking collars on both the caribou and members of local wolf packs to monitor distances between them.
If a wolf were to threaten the herd, trained shooters in helicopters could be sent in to kill the wolf in a “targeted intervention,” according to Francis Forcier, who is the general manager for strategic mandates at the department.
Forcier said the measures could be necessary in order to reverse the decline of the Charlevoix herd north of Quebec City, whoe numbers have fallen to an estimated 31 animals from 59 two years ago. He stressed that the plan remains hypothetical and is intended as a stopgap while the province addresses the greater problem of habitat restoration.
“What we’ve started to do, given this drastic fall of nearly 50 per cent in two years, is to look at measures that are stronger but temporary, because the principal element we have to do is restore the habitat,” he said in a phone interview.
Forcier said no wolves have yet been shot, and they will be left alone as long as they don’t threaten the herd. Overall, he believes no more than a dozen wolves will need to be killed.
The plan has drawn criticism from both environmentalists and members of the public. A petition denouncing the plan to shoot the wolves currently had amassed more than 9,000 signatures by Wednesday.
Rachel Plotkin, a caribou expert who works with the David Suzuki Foundation, says predator control is a popular management practice employed by provinces “that don’t have the political will to do the habitat restoration and protection that is needed to recover caribou populations.”
She said that while wolves are indeed killing caribou, that’s because of human activity that has destroyed the old-growth forests that protect them.
“Predator control is just a band-aid measure that further degrades ecosystems,” she said. “Predators and their prey have co-evolved for thousands of years, and they’re not the reason the caribou is declining.”
Plotkin notes that the federal government’s caribou management plan found that caribou herds need a minimum of 65 per cent of their range left undisturbed if they’re to have any reasonable chance of survival. The Charlevoix herd’s habitat has only 20 per cent.
Both environmentalists and the government agree that habitat preservation is crucial to the survival of the caribou, which are especially sensitive to human interference and depend on thick, old-growth forests to shield them from predators and provide the lichen they eat.
Those same old-growth forests are prized by the forestry industry, and Forcier acknowledged that finding a balance between economic growth and conservation is a challenge. But he said the government is limiting development on important lands and will take even stronger action in a caribou restoration plan to be unveiled in 2022.
Henri Jacob, the head of environmental advocacy group Action Boreale, feels the provincial government’s actions show it has no intention of helping caribou. He points out that the promised action plan will only be implemented at the end of the current government’s mandate.
“In other words, for their whole mandate they’ll do nothing to protect the caribou,” he said.
He also criticized the province’s decision, announced this week, to remove protection for some 460 square kilometres of woods in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, which had been previously designated protected caribou habitat.
Forcier said the decision was made mostly because no caribou had been seen in the area in several years, but Jacob doesn’t buy that. He says that it’s normal for caribou to leave an area for a few years after grazing there, to allow the lichen and moss to grow back.
Jacob is also critical of the government’s plan to kill wolves, noting they can actually help keep herds healthier by eliminating sicker, weaker animals.
He said that while predator management can sometimes be part of a temporary preservation strategy, it serves no purpose if it is not paired with serious effort to preserve habitat.
“When you want to make a cake, if you only put in flour, you won’t have a cake,” he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec 11, 2019
Underwater factory farms are condemning fish to live “on the edge of what they can tolerate”.
The Shameful Reality of Aquatic Torture and Death Pens
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
One of the things that has troubled me for many years is the way that we treat the fishes of the sea.
As a species we deny and ignore their sentience. We dismiss them as living beings and refuse to comprehend that these animals think, that they suffer, that they have emotions.
We literally vacuum them from the sea using highly mechanized machinery to scour the bottom of the sea, to trap them in huge nets or to ensnare them in hooks on long lines that can stretch over a hundred miles across the waves. We suffocate them, we crush them, we tear open their mouth with savage hooks and mutilate their delicate gills in plastic curtains of death and destruction.
For fish there are no safe places. We have invaded their homes and ravaged their lives, destroyed them by the billions and polluted their habitats.
And to add insult to injury, not content to murder them in their homes we now breed them in massive confinement facilities that literally fill the air with the stench of decay and death as they spew toxins, parasites and viruses into once pristine eco-systems.
A Haida elder once told me that salmon farms were a perversion of the spirit of the salmon.
What we do to them by raising them in concentration camps is obscene.
We abuse them, we assault them with chemicals, we force them to consume dye in the food pellets to actually dye the flesh pinkish while they are alive. We inject them with antibiotics and force them into toxic chemical baths. We scour the sea to catch millions of other fish from other species to render into cheap fish meal to feed them. We see hundreds of thousands of them die off as the farms collect insurance for the losses and then we send them to market after slicing off the cancerous growths so that humans can have cheap salmon.
As a species, we cruelly accept that the viruses and parasites that these mass incarceration facilities produce gets transmitted to wild indigenous species of salmon and that the diminishment of wild salmon means the diminishment of food for Orcas, Eagles, Bears, Seals and so many other species of wild sentient creatures.
These fish that are bred in these horrific facilities are living, self-aware sentient beings that we force into unbearably miserable confines and it takes a toll in suffering and death, pollution and ugliness.
These shameful facilities degrade not just the salmon but also ourselves.
They need to be shut down in every eco-system that these companies have invaded.
The B.C. government has banned logging in an ecologically sensitive area along the U.S. border after Seattle’s mayor and environmental groups called for protection of the watershed.
Forests Minister Doug Donaldson announced Wednesday that B.C. will no longer award timber licences in a 5,800-hectare plot called the Silverdaisy or “doughnut hole” in the Skagit River Valley.
He said the province’s previous Liberal government awarded a timber sale licence for the area in 2015 but that approval has now ended and no future licences will be granted.
“Individuals and groups on both sides of the border have expressed concerns that logging should stop in the Silverdaisy and we’re responding to those concerns,” the minister said on a conference call with reporters. “This is a significant step in addressing a lingering issue.”
B.C.’s forestry industry is in a slump due to timber shortages but Donaldson said his government is working to ensure access to new harvest areas that will replace the portion of the Silverdaisy that had been available for logging.
The doughnut hole is surrounded by the Skagit Valley and Manning provincial parks just east of Hope.
There was one timber sale planned in the area for 67,000 cubic metres, a relatively small volume, and Donaldson said he doesn’t anticipate any immediate impact on jobs.
Imperial Metals Corp., owner of the Mount Polley mine where a tailings dam collapse caused an ecological disaster in 2014, owns copper mineral claims in the Silverdaisy.
Tom Curley of the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission said it’s working to acquire those rights to ensure preservation of the area.
The commission, which aims to protect wildlife and acquire mineral and timber rights consistent with conservation purposes in the Skagit Valley, was created through the High Ross Treaty, a 1984 agreement between Canada and the U.S.
Imperial Metals did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan wrote to the B.C. government last year urging it to halt logging in the area. She also said the Silverdaisy provides more than 30 per cent of the fresh water flowing into Puget Sound.
Environment Minister George Heyman said when the treaty was signed three decades ago, the B.C. and Washington governments signalled clear intent that, once the issue of mineral tenures was resolved, the doughnut hole would be returned to park status.
“Somewhere along the line … there was a lapse in corporate memory,” he said. “We’re restoring that today.”
The B.C. Liberals did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Heyman said the area is a critical wildlife corridor and foraging habitat for grizzly bear, wolverine and other species, and 33 per cent of the area is currently protected to provide a home for spotted owls and other species at risk.
“But today’s action will conserve the entire package,” he said.
From August to January, it’s hard to find a trapper in the North.
Most are deep in the bush, working traplines that, in some cases, have been in use for hundreds of years.
So they probably haven’t heard the news yet: they’ll have one less customer for their furs this year — and she’s a big one.
Queen Elizabeth, Canada’s head of state, announced last week she would no longer purchase fur.
“Our only comment on this story is as follows: As new outfits are designed for the Queen, any fur used will be fake,” wrote her communications secretary.
The palace said that doesn’t mean fur on existing outfits will be replaced or that the Queen would never wear fur again. “The Queen will continue to re-wear existing outfits in her wardrobe.”
Gordon Zealand, executive director of the Yukon Fish and Game Association, said, “The trappers I know are all out on their lines currently.
“At the same time all would be disappointed with the decision.”
Rosemarie Kuptana, an Inuk former politician and cultural advocate, said she was “somewhat shocked, and then disappointed.
“I think it’s a real departure from the commitment to Inuit as a people … because fur is important to our way of life.”
Decision follows public opinion
The Queen’s decision follows those made by the world’s biggest fashion houses to ditch using fur in their designs — Gucci, Prada and Armani among them.
D’Arcy Moses, a Dene fashion designer with a workshop in Enterprise, N.W.T. who uses fur in some of his work, said the shift has been the result of “pressure … from the really strong anti-fur movement in Europe and the U.K.
“The whole gamut of the industry has done an about-face,” said Moses. “No one wears mink coats anymore.”
Financially, it’s another blow to a Canadian fur industry that appears to be in terminal decline.
Just last month, the world’s second largest fur auction house, North American Fur Auctions — a former subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Company with over three centuries of history — went into creditor protection.
It now says wild and farmed fur auctions planned for 2020 are unlikely to go ahead.
Industry assessments show some tanned and taxidermied products remain in high demand at auctions, and Jackie Yaklin, secretary treasurer for the Yukon Trappers Association, said wild trappers are responding by increasingly sending pelts to be tanned out of territory.
But Mark Downey, chief executive officer of Fur Harversters, Canada’s other major fur auction house, wrote in his 2019 wild fur market forecast that “many fur species are selling below acceptable levels” — even if a surge in Chinese interest led to a moderate recovery in prices this summer.
Even beyond the industry impact, the Queen’s rejection of new fur carries an important symbolic weight, ending a centuries-long relationship with northern Indigenous trappers.
It’s a real departure from the commitment to Inuit as a people … because fur is important to our way of life.– Rosemarie Kuptana, Inuk former politician and cultural advocate
“What she wears is very important,” said Kuptana. “She is, after all, a world leader, a monarch” of 16 Commonwealth countries, “and in these … countries, there are Indigenous people who [have a] relationship with the land that requires them to hunt and trap.”
“The fur trade was how Canada was made,” she said. “It’s how Canada was built…. So fur was always a very important aspect of our relationship with the royalty.”
Trading fur ‘to the liking of the colonizers’
Francois Paulette helped found the Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories, the precursor to today’s Dene Nation. He also sued the Crown over the treaty rights of Indigenous people in 1972 in a famous case known as the “Paulette caveat.”
Paulette said what the Queen decides to wear is “her business.” But he added that the failure of the fur industry could be grounds for another lawsuit against the Crown.
“It was the Hudson’s Bay [Company] … that initiated trapping into our part of the world,” said Paulette. “Trapping became a way of life that never existed.”
Paulette said the meteoric rise of the fur trade fundamentally altered northerners’ relationship to the land and animals.
“Before that … our people, the Dene, lived in balance with nature, and we took what we needed,” he said.
“But something changed, and that was when the Hudson’s Bay [Company], along with the British Crown, came to our lands. From there on, our whole civilization, our way of life began to change to the liking of the colonizers.”
Now, Paulette said, with the bottom falling out of the fur trade, Dene people are left at loose ends, with a marred relationship to nature.
Editor’s note: Since this story went to press, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided to take up Desautel’s case.
In the early morning hours of an October day in 2010, Rick and Linda Desautel left their hunting camp on traditional Sinixt lands near Vallican, British Columbia, and drove to the steep, thickly forested hills a few miles away. After the road faded to gravel, they turned left at a blue Valhalla Provincial Park sign, and continued to climb. At seven in the morning, Rick spotted a cow elk and a calf down a steep embankment, standing among the shrubs about 100 yards away. They rolled to a stop off the road and crept back toward the elk. Rick raised his Mauser 98 bolt-action rifle, aimed down the hill, and shot the elk.
Six years later, in a courtroom in Nelson, British Columbia, Desautel described his relationship to the area like this: “When I come up here, I’m walking with the ancestors.… It just runs chills up and down me that I can be where my ancestors were at one time, and do the things that they did.” Desautel, a member of the Arrow Lakes Band, descendants of the Sinixt, bent to work dressing the carcass: He pulled out the heart and liver, then quartered the meat.
Linda sweated up and down the hillside, a packboard heavy with a hundred pounds of elk strapped to her back, the climb slippery with frost. After loading up the truck, the two went back to camp to hang up the white cloth game bags, full of meat and spotted with blood. Then they drove until they had cell reception, called the game wardens and told them what they’d done.
The Canadian government had declared the Arrow Lakes Band “extinct” in 1956, after the death of the last known member in Canada. But just south of the U.S.-Canada border, Arrow Lakes Band members were alive and well on the Colville Reservation in Washington, where the Desautels live. The planning behind the hunt had been in the works for years — some would say decades — and it was a strategic attempt to force the Canadian government to recognize the Arrow Lakes Band’s right to hunt and, by extension, its tribal sovereignty.
To the Arrow Lakes Band, what Rick Desautel had done was a ceremonial hunt on land his ancestors had never ceded to the Canadian government. But to Canada, it was a crime.Although the charges eventually brought against Desautel were for hunting, at the heart of the case is something bigger — whether or not Canada will have to recognize the Arrow Lakes Band as a modern First Nation, acknowledging their right to hunt and use their traditional lands. If Desautel loses, it means the Lakes will remain, in the government’s eyes, “extinct.”
THE CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF THE COLVILLE RESERVATION are composed of the Arrow Lakes Band and 11 other tribes from the region, who share a 1.4 million-acre reservation in Washington state. To go forward with the hunt, the tribal council representing the 12 bands had to agree to support it, and the court case they knew would follow. For months leading up to the 2010 hunt, tribal officials spoke with their British Columbian counterparts and with wildlife biologists, explaining their plans. The Canadians continued to insist that Arrow Lakes Band people did not “presently exist” in the province. The tribal representatives, who had expected as much, responded that they were going ahead with the hunt regardless.
Afterward, prosecutors charged Rick Desautel with hunting without a license and hunting as a non-resident of Canada. (Linda Desautel was not charged.) He pled not guilty.
Desautel’s case is unique because the Lakes are, as far as they know, the only First Nation to receive an explicit declaration of “extinction.” But his case, if it succeeds, means that other tribes cut off by the U.S.-Canada border with Aboriginal ties to the land could make a First Nations claim, too, even if their members aren’t Canadian residents. And that would require Canada to consult with those nations if any activity or development could impact their traditional lands. The right to own, use and control ancestral lands is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Canada announced its full support of the U.N. declaration in 2016, the same year Desautel’s case went to trial, as “Canada’s commitment to a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples.”
During the trial, Desautel and other Arrow Lakes Band members listened while experts debated their existence in Canada. The judge ruled in favor of Desautel on March 17, 2017. But the B.C. government has since appealed twice, most recently to the Supreme Court of Canada, which has yet to decide if it will hear the case. (Editor’s note: Since this story went to press, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided to take up Desautel’s case.) During his preliminary hearing, Desautel recalls, an interim court lawyer told him, “You’re going to go to the Supreme Court with this case, you know, but when you do get there, you’re going to be an old, old man.” Well, Desautel laughs now, at 67, “I’m starting to believe him.”
RICK DESAUTEL WAS ABOUT 10years old the winter he went on his first deer hunt. He’d been trapping small animals for years already, rambling the pine woods and grassy meadows around his grandmother’s house in Inchelium, on the Colville Reservation, with his brother Tony. They’d shoot ground squirrels and grouse with a .22-caliber Remington rifle and bring the meat home. But the deer hunt was something else — it was a rite of passage. “When that day comes, it’s mind-shaking,” Desautel said.
Since his dad had died when Rick was young, it was Tony who took him out, borrowing a .25-35 lever-action rifle from the neighbors. The pair pushed through seven inches of snow, up to a ridge about 15 miles from home, when two mule deer jumped out about a hundred yards away. Rick aimed for the buck, but he hit the doe instead, bringing her down. “When it’s your first deer, it’s distributed with the community. None of it is ever kept,” Desautel said. “Everything that you kill is gone; deer hide, deer head, deer hooves, deer meat.” But, he added, you get the honor, “and glory.”
As a former game warden for the Colville Tribes, Desautel is used to testifying in court in cases involving poachers or drug smugglers. As in his everyday life, he’s consistent and unflappable on the stand. He has a deep knowledge of Colville Reservation lands, and has spent most of his life outside: 23 years as a logcutter on top of a lifetime of trapping and hunting. He’s survived half a dozen falls through ice in the winter and getting caught in a beaver trap. In 2006, while still working as a game warden, he shot down a floatplane smuggling $2 million worth of drugs onto the reservation. As a wild animal damage control officer — his current title — part of his job involves removing wildlife, “whether it be bats in your attic, elk in your field, bear on your porch.” At the direction of the tribal council, Desautel also carries out ceremonial hunts for community events. And he’s hunted in Sinixt territory over the Canadian border since 1988.
Rick and Linda Desautel live in a tidy log cabin on 40 acres of land, with a view of a meadow and Twin Lakes in the distance. In August, golden grasses shush in the breeze while sunflowers nod along the road. Linda grew up in Omak, three mountain passes to the west, just over the bridge from the reservation’s border. Now a school custodian, she’s also been a stay-at-home mom as well as a corrections officer. Together they’ve fostered fawns, hawks, eagles and other wildlife. People too; even after raising six kids, they’re always providing for more.
They’ve also been partners in resistance. In 1988, Arrow Lakes Band tribal members got word that the construction of a road near Vallican, B.C., in Sinixt territory, was going to affect Sinixt graves. A caravan of people went to Vallican to block the road; including the Desautels and their kids. In the end, the road was built and the graves relocated to a property called the Big House, which the Arrow Lakes Band bought as a home base in their ancestral territory. But had the Arrow Lakes Band been a recognized First Nation, the result may have been different.
That was the first time Desautel had the chance to talk with a whole community of Lakes people, standing together for a purpose. At the same time, he got to see the lands that generations before him had inhabited. “It infuriated me that people would desecrate graves and stuff like this here, and pick up their bones and move them,” Desautel said. “I said, ‘OK, I’m ready for it. I’ll head up there and see what I can do to stop this.’ And that’s what I did.”
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE LONGemployed hunting and fishing as a form of civil disobedience. It’s been a critical method for getting courts and governments to recognize tribal nations’ legal rights to land, water and wildlife — even freedom of religion. In the 1960s and 1970s, tribal members in the Pacific Northwest, from the Nisqually Tribe to the Yurok Tribe, were beaten and arrested for salmon fishing in defiance of state laws that violated their treaty rights. Their actions resulted in multiple victories in the U.S. Supreme Court, reaffirming their right to fish. And more recently, in 2014, Clayvin Herrera and several other Crow tribal members shot and killed three bull elk without a license off-reservation in the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming. The state charged Herrera with poaching, but a Supreme Court decision in 2019 upheld the Crow Tribe’s rights to hunt on “unoccupied lands of the United States,” in accordance with its pre-statehood treaty with the federal government.
In Canada, important cases testing Indigenous rights include the 1990 decision in R v. Sparrow. In 1984, Ronald Sparrow, Musqueam, was arrested for deliberately using a fishing net twice as long as legally allowed. While lower courts found him guilty, the Supreme Court of Canada found that his ancestral right to fish was not extinguished by colonization and remained valid. “It’s definitely a very common tactic to use in Canada, which raises a lot of interesting questions about having to break the law to get certain (First Nations) rights recognized,” said Robert Hamilton, assistant professor of law at the University of Calgary.
“The vast majority of the province is not covered by any treaty, and so the First Nations there have not given up their rights to the land.”
Desautel is navigating the Canadian court system and the unique histories between Canadian federal and provincial governments and Indigenous nations. Early in Canada’s history, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, tribal nations on the eastern side of the continent signed treaties with the federal government. But as settlers pushed west, that stopped. As a result, First Nations in what is now British Columbia ceded almost no territory to Canadians. “The vast majority of the province is not covered by any treaty, and so the First Nations there have not given up their rights to the land,” said Mark Underhill, Desautel’s attorney. “We’ve been wrestling for an extraordinarily long time to deal with those rights in large part because for many, many decades, the governments of the day, both federal and provincial, simply pretended they didn’t exist — that there were no such rights.”
That began to change with First Nations land claims — when tribal nations pursue legal recognition of their right to land and resources — which set the stage for Desautel. A landmark case brought by Nisga’a Chief Frank Calder in 1973 was the first time that the Canadian courts recognized that unceded First Nation lands exist. Another big change came in 1982, when Canada’s Constitution was amended to explicitly protect Aboriginal rights. That, together with other early court cases, resulted in a modern-day treaty process as an alternative to costly court proceedings. More than 25 treaties between First Nations and the Canadian government have since been negotiated over territory, water and other resources, with more in progress. Many First Nations are not participating, however, instead calling for an overhaul of the process.
Michael Marchand, a former Colville tribal chairman and Lakes tribal member who helped plan Desautel’s hunt, said that the Arrow Lakes Band were concerned that, as other First Nations in B.C. began to make land claims through the courts or treaties, its own claims could get edged out. But before the band could officially assert its ownership over its ancestral lands, it had to re-establish its legal presence as a First Nation.
The core of Desautel’s defense was the evidence that the Sinixt people inhabited the valleys and riversides around the Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes before Canada’s government existed. He and his legal team also demonstrated that their lifeways persisted throughout colonization, as Arrow Lakes Band members, and that they never ceded their Aboriginal rights. It’s been shown in court through Sinixt sturgeon-nose canoes, a main source of transportation before the Columbia River was dammed. It’s been shown through their place-based language and family trees. It’s been shown through the stories of Sinixt culture persisting, despite tribal members being killed by settlers and pressured out of their land, or swept off to boarding schools. It’s also been shown through Canada’s own laws: An 1896 law passed by British Columbia, for example, made it illegal for non-resident Indians to hunt. That is proof, said Underhill, of how many Indigenous people cut off by the border were continuing their way of life despite colonization.
One of the difficulties of the case is how few living tribal elders can speak to that history, because so many from that time have died. Still, the words they left behind remain influential. Shelly Boyd, Arrow Lakes Band facilitator and tribal member, represents Lakes interests in Canada with community members and First Nations. She points to a series of letters that had a strong impact, written by Arrow Lakes members Alex and Baptiste Christian, her husband’s ancestors, and sent to Indian Affairs agents in 1909. The Christians requested that the agents reserve lands around Brilliant, British Columbia, for the Arrow Lakes tribal members. The areas contained graves and were their home prior to settlement. Instead, the agents sold them to someone else, and the bones were eventually churned up under settlers’ plows. “It was a really sad story,” Boyd said. But the mark that they left mattered. “They lived through a time where after all of their work and all of their sadness and all of their pain, they had to leave … but those letters that they wrote, they helped us win this case.”
Desautel is matter-of-fact about the lawsuit, as he is generally about doing what needs to be done. The actual elk hunt itself was routine, much like the hundred or so hunts that came before it. When he turned himself in to the game wardens, he knew they were just doing their jobs. “If I let (the charges) pass, it’s going to go on to the next generation,” Desautel said. “I’m gonna throw out an anchor now. I mean, if it doesn’t hold and I go dragging on through life, my daughter or my granddaughter can come along later on and say, ‘Look here, my grandfather was doing this here. He was up here. He was doing this.’ ”
If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case and rules against Desautel, it would be the final say — period. “If we lose, we’re out of the game, we’re extinct,” Boyd said. Though 10 years younger than Desautel, Boyd knows him from growing up in Inchelium, where their grandmothers were best friends. She sees, and feels herself, what the land means to him. “He is risking something he loves very much.”
Regardless of the final outcome, Desautel will continue hunting in his ancestral lands in the years to come. If he loses, he shrugged, “They’re going to have to put handcuffs on me then.”
THE TRIAL PROGRESSED SPORADICALLY over four months. The early mornings and long days away from home wore Rick and Linda out, and court proceedings were often mind-numbingly boring; Linda joked that the prosecutors sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. In essence, the prosecution argued that the Sinixt people voluntarily left their lands, moving south to become farmers and abandoning their traditional lifeways, thus giving up their rights as a First Nation.
About halfway through the trial, Dorothy Kennedy, a leading ethnographer who documented Sinixt histories in the ’70s and ’80s, took the stand as an expert witness for the government. Despite her past work for the tribe and her conversations with Arrow Lakes elders, Kennedy did not consider the Arrow Lakes Band a First Nation. Nor did she believe that the Sinixt experienced racism from settlers. Instead, she testified about “isolated incidents” of harassment that went “both ways” — because, she said, the Arrow Lakes were Americans in Canada, not because they were Indigenous. In the report she submitted to the court, she wrote that instead of “meekly fleeing settlement … they enthusiastically took up a different lifestyle south of the border.” To Desautel and his team, it felt like a betrayal.
“I grew up knowing I was declared extinct in Canada. As an 8-year-old girl, it’s like, what? Dinosaurs are extinct. It is still really inconvenient for us to exist.”
When Mark Underhill was hired by the Colville Tribe to take on Desautel’s case, multiple senior attorneys told him that they’d never win. But nearly four months after the trial finished, the judge found that Desautel was within his rights as an Aboriginal person to hunt within his ancestral territory. The courtroom, filled with Arrow Lakes tribal members and extended family, erupted in cheers and applause. So far, after two appeals, other judges have agreed with the first ruling. After the most recent one in March this year, from his office in Vancouver, B.C., Underhill called Rick and Linda on the phone at their home in Inchelium, and read the judge’s statement aloud on speakerphone. “(The judge) said some amazing things,” Linda said. “She made me cry.”
As long as the lower court ruling stands, the Canadian government now has a duty to consult with the Arrow Lakes Band concerning activities like logging and hydroelectric developments, or anything else that might impact their rights in the area. But there are also more intangible benefits of Desautel, as the decision has come to be known. “There’s some kind of indescribable freedom to it,” said Boyd. “I grew up knowing I was declared extinct in Canada. As an 8-year-old girl, it’s like, what? Dinosaurs are extinct. It is still really inconvenient for us to exist.”
DESAUTEL AND THE ARROW LAKES BANDare still waiting to hear if Canada’s Supreme Court will take up the case; they could know by the end of this year. Despite the resolute language of the past three judges, the Desautels aren’t assuming they’ll win. “(We’ve) never felt totally confident,” Linda said. “You’re dealing with the government. I don’t care who you are and what country you’re in. Never feel confident of your government, especially Native people. We know.” Still — Rick wants them to take up the case, to have Canada’s highest court affirm his rights.
If the Supreme Court declines to hear the case, it ends in Desautel’s favor. But if the court takes it up, the case could drag on for another year or longer. Already, as Arrow Lakes Band facilitator, Boyd’s sights are set on what comes next for the tribe. They’ve reintroduced salmon to the upper Columbia River for the first time in almost 80 years and resumed canoe journeys using their traditional sturgeon-nosed canoes. Next, they’re planning to re-establish the Sinixt language, Nsyilxcen, in their territory. And every fall, Desautel will continue to cross the northern border to hunt.
“You’re dealing with the government. I don’t care who you are and what country you’re in. Never feel confident of your government, especially Native people. We know.”
The hillside in British Columbia where Desautel shot the cow elk is overgrown now, nine years later — 20-foot-tall white pine, tamarack and western hemlock trees crowd out the view of Slocan Valley below.In late September, not far from there, he explored the steep draws and thick forests of Sinixt lands for signs of elk. Scouting for game with Desautel, the place comes alive even without any wildlife in sight. Faint prints of a bear cub crossing a road. Scat of a bigger bear from the morning, bright with berries. Torn tree bark from where an elk rubbed its antlers two weeks before. Alder saplings stripped of their leaves, a snack for a meandering moose. After a life lived outside, Desautel can read the forest’s early autumn activity like a book he’s paged through a hundred times before.
Desautel doesn’t usually hunt until later in October, when the days are colder. For now, he’s exploring — glassing the countryside with his binoculars, occasionally bugling for elk, searching for a spot that “looks elk-y.” As he hiked back down to his red Toyota Tacoma, the shoulder-high fireweed released its seed tufts like a cloudburst, swirling in his wake. As he drove north, cresting over Strawberry Summit, Desautel looked out at the expanse before him. “This country is so vast,” he said with a note of pride. “I’ve only checked out 1% of 1%, and I’ve got hunting rights as far as the eye can see.”
On Ho Plaza, Lucy Contreras ’21 defiantly faced the Thursday afternoon passersby with the words “Fur Kills” painted across her abdomen and an apparently blood-drenched Canada Goose jacket wrapped around her body.
The blood was fake, as was the jacket — an imitation with a “Canada Douche” sticker where one would normally find the coat’s iconic sleeve patch.
Contreras, who is a Sun opinion columnist, and her fellow demonstrators aimed to raise awareness about the animal cruelty involved in making the products of the ubiquitous winter-time brand. The coats use goose feathers, most commonly obtained by plucking live geese without any painkillers, and leaving open wounds before they are killed, according to Contreras, president of Cornell Vegan Society and Sun opinion columnist.
The detachable fur trim around the hood of the coat is made of coyote fur, Contreras said. This fur is obtained by capturing wild coyotes in steel traps, where they are often left to agonize for days — suffering from gangrene, dehydration, or attacked by other predators before the trapper returns, according to PETA. If still alive at this point, they are bludgeoned, stomped, or strangled to death, said Contreras.
The demonstrators hoped that those who currently own Canada Goose products never buy from them again and donate the detachable coyote-fur trim of their coats. Several organizations, including PETA and the Wildlife Rescue League, accept donations of furs and redistribute them to rehabilitating animals in shelters or homeless people.
And for those who don’t own Canada Goose products, the demonstrators want them to consider animal cruelty when they buy products such as coats, pillows and comforters.
Chloe Cabrera grad, a participant in the demonstration, called for people to make more responsible consumer choices.
“Each Canada Goose jacket requires seven birds and two coyotes. That’s nine animals dying for virtually no reason, for an overpriced coat that works just as well as any vegan coat,” Cabrera said.
Ultimately, Contreras said, geese and coyotes suffer and die on behalf of the market demand for Canada Goose.
The demonstration was “eye-opening,” Paul Agbaje ’22 said after speaking with a protester.
“No matter how you feel about it, people seem to just mindlessly buy these Canada Goose jackets, without ever considering the ethical implications,” he said.
Other onlookers were less keen, making hostile comments about the demonstration as they walked by.
Contreras is understanding of negative responses like these. “I feel like this shame and this frustration is the beginning of a process of acceptance and of actually taking action against Canada Goose,” she said.
“We’re not blaming them,” Contreras said. “We just want them to know, in the future, to buy jackets that don’t have down or fur.”
Contreras declared the demonstration a success, describing it as one step towards a better public understanding of the relationship between everyday expenditures and animal exploitation.
She encourages friends and peers of Canada Goose wearers to engage them in dialogue. On campus, conversations about ethical consumption are on the rise — Cornell Vegan Society has risen from just a handful of members twoyears ago to about twenty five today, according to Contreras.
She wants them to know that, “with that social status, you are hurting a lot of beings in the process. And it’s not worth it.”
It comes a little over a week after six bears were shot in the space of three days in the area of Lake Okanagan Resort northwest of Kelowna. In that case, the bears were eating garbage that hadn’t properly been secured and had lost their fear of humans.
An undisclosed company near Kelowna was fined $230 and ordered to improve the way it stores its garbage.
Sprado implored people to safely secure bear attractants like garbage, fruit, as well as pet food, bird feeders, barbecues and compost.
A massive salmon die-off on Newfoundland’s south coast has led to the suspension of licences for Northern Harvest Sea Farms in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The die-off first occurred on Sept. 3, but information about the incident did not go public until weeks later.
No estimate for the amount of dead salmon in the Northern Harvest pens were disclosed until Friday, when the company announced 2.6 million salmon had died.
“As a result of the ongoing investigation and evidence of non-compliance, I am suspending all affected Northern Harvest Seafood Farms licences and issuing a directive that requires the company to continue the cleanup of the sites,” Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne said in a statement.
“I will be amending licence conditions to all unaffected Northern Harvest Seafood Farms and other associated MOWI licence sites in the coming days.”
As of Friday, the company was not made aware of what needed to be done for its licences to be reinstated. Northern Harvest communications director Jason Card says the government is drafting a letter detailing what is needed.
“Surprised by the suspension? Yes. Warranted? I think the minister has an obligation to protect the public good, so he’s doing what he thinks is best,” Northern Harvest managing director Jamie Gaskill said.
An initial number provided to the government was that two million fish had died, but after an addition 600,000 fish were found dead, the company updated the figure, triggering the suspension of the licence.
The massive death was not accompanied by a massive escape of farmed salmon, Gaskill said.
“There are no fish that have escaped. I am very confident,” he said.
Provincial regulations dictate that companies must report the escape of even a single fish, and no such reports have yet been issued.
The 2.6 million salmon carcasses will be delivered to another company to be processed and turned largely into cat food and other animal feed.
The company says sustained southwestern winds in the area of the farm caused increased temperatures near the sea farms housing the salmon. The company says the surface water near the pens warmed up and maintained an increased temperature over the course of weeks.
Because water near the surface was warmer than water further below, Gaskill said, the salmon followed their instinct, toward their demise.
“These fish want to go where it’s good for them. So, what they do, they nose down — it’s called sounding. Anybody that is familiar with herring, mackerel, lots of fish do this,” he said.
“They put their nose down, they try to get down to where it’s cool, where conditions are better, and they smother themselves.”
As for why information was slow getting to the public, Gaskill said his company “misinterpreted” the reporting requirements for the second mass die-off of salmon.
“That is our fault,” he said.
Card says information about the mass die-off was reported locally, but not to the public.
“To be clear, we did disclose to local stakeholders, mayors, indigenous first leaders, the FFAW, to our own staff when we observed this event, that it happened. To be clear, we also disclosed to government that we had a mass mortality on September 3.”
According to the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, new regulations were implemented on Thursday, enshrining for the first time a duty to publicly report mass deaths of farmed salmon.
Large deaths of farmed salmon are not rare within the aquaculture industry throughout the world.
According to the Ferret, a Scottish investigative news outlet, nine million farmed salmon have died in that country since 2016, between 760 reported mass deaths in the country. The mass salmon die-off in this province hit almost a third of that number in one incident.
Michael Montague, a specialist with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), says there are three separate entities that oversee differing aspects of the industry in that country.
SEPA oversees the concentration of fish in aquaculture pens and effluent coming from aquaculture projects, and determines how much chemicals and antibiotics are allowed to be used at any given time. SEPA has monthly monitoring programs for companies to comply with as part of their regulations.
“We don’t really look at the mortality aspect. The mortality aspect is covered by two legislative parts. There’s the Marine Scotland … they are very much focused on fish health. If there’s a certain percentage of fish lost, then they have to report that through Marine Scotland,” said Montague.
“Then, there’s also the Animal and Plant Health Agency. They have the regulations covered by animal byproducts regulations, and that looks at any kind of waste, from cattle to marine caged fish farms. They deal with those kinds of (mass death) incidents and how to deal with the waste coming from them and any concerns around that.”
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the aquaculture industry is largely regulated by the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). DFO declined an interview request from The Telegram.
Enforcement measures at the government’s disposal, according to the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, include a formal warning, followed by tickets ranging between $100 and $500, administrative penalties. Those charged with an offence under the act will be charged between $5,000 and $20,000 for a first offence and/or face one to six months in prison for a second offence, and up to a $50,000 to $100,000 fine and/or three to six months in prison for third-time offenders.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is expected to make a statement Tuesday about the incident.