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Formal complaint filed against Conservation Officer Service

On July 14 we filed a formal complaint against the Conservation Officer Service for conflict of interest in their recruitment and hiring of hunters, and lack of independent oversight.

Please read the attached  letter of complaint, which includes links to the Conservation Officer Services’ Training Outlines, self-investigation via their Complaints Policy, and lack of evaluation of the effectiveness of the COS program.

Read here:    COS complaint attachcment_edit

NEWS RELEASE: Assistant Deputy Minister admits Conservation Officers engage with hunting organizations during workg hours and actively hunt on and off the job

Assistant Deputy Minister Jim Standen admits Conservation Officers engage with hunting organizations during work hours and actively hunt on and off the job.

Vancouver –  July 14, 2018
Kelly Ready, Executive Director of Stop Animal Brutality
stopanimalbrutality@gmail.com

An animal rights organization has filed a formal service and policy complaint against the Conservation Officer Service alleging that the organizations hiring practices are in a conflict of interest. Said Kelly Ready, Executive Director of Stop Animal Brutality, “The BC Conservation Officers directly recruit hunters who then hire more hunters and give the badges and guns.”

Kelly adds, “The Chief is a hunter, the ADM is a hunter, the officers are hunters, and most of the management staff engages in off work hunting activities.”

The issue of recruiting hunters was first brought up in the media last year when a recruitment poster was placed on government websites which pictured a conservation officer smiling over a grizzly bear. The recruitment advertisement asked if people wanted to tranquilize grizzly bears for work. After public outrage and media coverage, the government removed the recruitment poster was taken down.

Kelly Ready states, “this style of recruitment is directly targeted at licenced hunters who want to hunt animals for work and is a blatant example of a conflict of interest within the COS and its management staff.”

The issue of hunters in the conservation service was again in the media this year when the BC government attempted to block FOI requests from members of the public who wanted to know how many hunters were in the organization. Eventually the government complied with the requests after a public servant assisted. The results showed that over 70% of the organization is staffed by individuals with a hunting record.

Kelly states, “I think those numbers are low because they include all management and support staff.” He continued, “If you were to look just at the armed field staff who actually kill wildlife as part of their job I think the real results would be over 90%, but the government will not release that data.”

Mr. Ready then took matters into his own hands and e-mailed the minister alleging there is no accountability in the organization and that officers are in a conflict of interest. He says, “I was shocked when the Assistant Deputy Minister, Jim Standen, emailed me and confirmed that officers actively hunt both on duty and off duty and as part of their job also engage with hunting organizations.”

He continued, “I am very concerned that the ADM is quoting their financial support of the Wildsafe program even though the Auditor General has said the COS has never properly evaluated the effectiveness of this program. Basically, the government is giving A BC Wildlife Federation division 275k of tax payers money every year without knowing if it’s effective.”

Kelly concluded, “The ADM himself is a hunter, the Chief CO is a hunter, and I believe over 90% of its uniformed field officers are hunters. For this reasons I have filed a formal service and policy complaint and I am demanding an impartial and transparent investigation be complete by individuals who are not hunters.”

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70% of Conservation Officers are also Hunters

In 2016 a BC Conservation Officer shot an orphaned black bear cub in Dawson Creek that was awaiting transport to a wildlife sanctuary, sparking much debate and a court challenge. The BC supreme court ruled in favour of the Conservation Officers Service. In 2018 a Vancouver Sun article  stated that 70% of BC Conservation Officers are also hunters,  information that was obtained from the BC government via the Freedom of Information Act. Several officers even applied for permits to kill Grizzly bears before the trophy hunt was banned in late 2017.

Stop Animal Brutality realizes that Conservation Officers must have backcountry and gun training, but we are concerned that Conservation Officers are overstepping their mandates, and many are acting like the fox guarding the chicken coop.  We demand that the BC government re-examines the mandate of the Conservation Officer Service to prioritize the conservation and non-lethal management of wildlife.

If they won’t CONSERVE, we have to!

The Grizzly hunt is over

Congratulations to everyone who campaigned on behalf of the grizzly bears of BC. Thanks to the actions of our BC government, grizzlies are now protected from hunting across the entire province!

But don’t get too comfortable. Grizzlies have been protected before in BC and Campbell’s Liberal government lifted protection and reopened the hunt. This issue needs to stay in the public eye if politicians are going to keep taking grizzly protection seriously.

Stop Christy

Over the past few years, we have printed 15,000 of these stickers and spread them around Vancouver!

With this sticker we are pointing out that Christy Clark has views and tactics similar to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It is not an attack on anyone who chooses to dress in drag.