The B.C. government is facing new criticism over its controversial wolf cull program.
The province has maintained that the program, which is meant to reduce predators and protect threatened caribou populations, is carried out in a humane way.
But the Fur-Bearers, a non-profit animal welfare group, says it has obtained documents using freedom of information filings that show hunters tagging and tracking young pups to help kill wolfpacks.
“As part of … those FOI requests, this recent batch, we found that the contractors are actually using wolf pups in their methods,” Fur-Bearers director of advocacy and policy Aaron Hofman told Global News.
Much of what activists know about Victoria’s wolf kill program has come from freedom of information requests.
In his latest inquiry, Hofman said the group discovered something that hadn’t been previously known to the public: that wolf pups as well as adults have been gunned down.
He was particularly troubled by some killings he says the documents revealed from February of this year near Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
“They’re capturing wolf pups, they’re collaring them and then they’re tracking their packs,” he said.
“They shoot the pup’s pack and then leave that wolf pup alive. And so that wolf pup is now alone without its family, and then in one case six weeks later, they find a wolf pup again, travelling with another wolf pup, and they kill them both.”
The program is run by the Ministry of Lands, Water and Resource Stewardship under Minister Josie Osborne.
On Friday, the ministry told Global News that pups are not the focus of the program which is science-based and effective in slowing the decline of caribou.
But to Hofman and Fur-Bearers, news that pups have been killed in the program is confirmation that it fails to meet a reasonable standard of being humane.
“To us it’s completely unethical, it’s completely counter to any principles of ethical wildlife control,” he said.
“And it’s really counter to the government’s assertion that the wolf cull is humane. It clearly isn’t.”
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