Killing for Conservation

Dr. Sara Dubois PhD, Chief Security Officer for the BC SPCA, presented SIERP’s eighth owner education session, April 23, 2021, an Overview of the International Principles for Ethical Wildlife Control. The ethical principles can be summarized into seven questions to ask before undertaking control efforts:

Ethical Wildlife Control (Dubois et al. 2017)
1. Can the problem be mitigated by changing human behaviour?
2. Are the harms serious enough to warrant wildlife control?
3. Is the desired outcome clear and achievable, and will it be monitored?
4. Does the proposed method carry the least animal welfare cost to the fewest animals?
5. Have the community values been considered alongside scientific, technical, and practical information?
6. Is the control action part of a systematic, long-term management program?
7. Are the decisions warranted by the specifics of the situation rather than a negative categorization of the animals.

During this session Dr. Dubois provided a comparison of the Oak Bay deer cull and the Gwaii Haanas deer eradication by Parks Canada on Ramsay Island (SIERP owner education session #4, March 19, 2021: Overview of the Gwii Haanas “Restoring Balance” Project, Dr. Robyn Irvine PhD, Parks Canada). The SPCA sanctioned the latter project, not the first. Both failed.

It is noteworthy that one of the contractors involved with the 2017 Ramsay Island project was Coastal Conservation and coincidental that the CEO of this company was the chairman of the SIERP Steering Committee of the Sidney Island eradication project — food for thought.

We are most grateful to Dr. Dubois for providing the guidance and wisdom for our owners to make an informed, ethical decision on the final vote, deciding the fate of the fallow and blacktail deer on Sidney Island.

— Ruth and Jack Albrecht