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
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.”