Re Oak Bay secures permit for deer cull, Jan. 29.
It is unfortunate that this unbalanced story presented Helen Schwantje’s views as unchallengeable facts. The residents of Oak Bay, whether they are for or against the cull, deserve to know they are being misled.
If this cull is as necessary and humane as Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen and Dr. Schwantje would have us believe, then why is the BC SPCA – the independent provincial authority on the humane treatment of animals – repeatedly expressing its strong opposition? In a Jan. 30 letter to the mayor, CEO Craig Daniell says “the proposed actions constitute an indiscriminate cull that is not a sustainable or evidence-based solution for managing deer in this area.” The letter goes on to say that culls in other B.C. municipalities have not eliminated local human-deer conflicts, that the regional deer management strategy process that led to this decision is “fatally flawed,” that residents of Oak Bay have not been appropriately consulted on their wishes and that the non-lethal conflict-reduction program has not been thorough. That’s pretty damning, and it’s all true.
As for the method of culling, once a deer is caught in the clover trap, the trap is collapsed, a man throws his body weight onto the trapped animal while another man stuns the deer with a bolt shot into its head. The deer’s throat is slit and the animal bleeds to death. Dr. Schwantje describes it as “a very quick process, in fact it’s been done in under 30 seconds.”
It would be rare for an animal to bleed to death in 30 seconds. This is why the B.C. SPCA is warning Oak Bay that “bleeding out of a conscious animal is not considered humane or a generally accepted practice and is grounds for a cruelty investigation under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.”
In your story, Dr. Schwantje describes the Oak Bay deer cull as ‘euthanasia.’ The cull is not euthanasia; it is the inhumane and unnecessary slaughter for political gain and to satisfy a small but vocal number of residents.