Anthony Marr physically assaulted

Bear hunting foe attacked in city

The Vancouver Sun

by Stephen Hume

BC environmentalist Anthony Marr is recovering after being beaten by a burly man who said, “Let this be a lesson to you.”

[Newspaper Photo] Caption: Beaten but unbowed – Anthony Marr says he is undeterred in his campaign despite beating.

An environmentalist known for his opposition to bear hunting and the black market for animal parts was recovering Tuesday after being attacked in Vancouver’s West End.

Anthony Marr said he was waylaid about 7:30 p.m. Monday in the 1600 block of Haro Street as he made his way to his car after a dinner with his parents at their home.

Environmental groups have been complaining about a sharp increase in threats of physical violence directed at their members…

“I was parked in the lane”, Marr said. “There was this guy waiting for me by my car. He advanced a few steps and said, ‘Are you Anthony Marr?’ I said yes and he immediately attacked me.”

Marr… said his assailant was “over six feet and around 200 pounds” and rained blows upon his head and face, fracturing facial bones and damaging his eye socket.

“Then he said, ‘Let this be a lesson to you,’ and walked off,” Marr said.

The University of British Columbia Hospital confirmed that Marr was admitted and treated in the emergency ward shortly after 7:30 p.m.. Vancouver city police confirmed receiving his report of the attack about 8:40 p.m..

Marr recently led a controversial and widely publicized Western Canada Wilderness Committee campaign to have bear hunting banned in BC.

He has also been active in successfully pressuring government for controls in the black market on endangered species parts in the Asian community…

Marr’s silver 1993 Mazda sports car and its license plate became well known during the anti-hunting campaign, he says.

Marr drove 12,000 kilometers and visited almost every significant community in BC during the summer of 1996, holding public and private meetings that laid the groundwork for a province-wide initiative petition towards driving a referendum vote on banning bear hunting.

Campaigners obtained 93,000 signatures in a 90-day blitz that mobilized 1,800 volunteers, but fell well short of the 250,000 or 10 percent of the electorate – needed to force government action under recall and initiative legislation.

The petition campaign, however, gave Marr a high media profile.

He said he was constantly harassed by pro-hunting (forces). Pickup trucks tailgated his car and he received anonymous threats of violence by phone.

“My reaction is that it merely strengthens my resolve to continue with this campaign…”

Paul George, a director of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, described the attack on Marr as “deplorable” and said it was time for police and government to take seriously the “threats of violence and all the rhetoric that our people are subjected to.”

“I think this [violent rhetoric] unleashes hate against environmentalists just as much as it does against Jews or people of a different sexual persuasion or anything like that,” George said.

* * * * *

Subject: Anthony Marr

Canadian Firearms Digest

From: H. Roy Stephens

As it was reported here, he suffered broken facial bones including damage to the orbit of one of his eyes. That is hardly a “bloody nose”. Furthermore, in light of the fact he WAS the target of verbal threats regarding bodily harm from some of the more brain dead and irresponsible alleged members of the hunting fraternity, it becomes quite obviously newsworthy.

Emotional issue + verbal threats + serious assault = the news. Simple.

Not so simple I’m afraid. His injuries when reported in medical terminology sound impressive indeed. However, they weren’t. Moreover he makes it his business to command attention by whatever means to promote his cause. Further more, regardless of who made the threats, (assuming they were in fact made – I’m more of a skeptic each day) there is not a shred of evidence to connect anyone or any group with his misfortune. To convict the hunting fraternity in absentia & by implication is only newsworthy if you don’t have a critical bone in your body, and I stand by my assessment of the CBC Afternoon Show interviewer in that regard.

Now that he has been beaten up – whether by a hunter or by somebody involved in the illicit animal parts trade – the yapping of the idiots will come back to haunt hunters. A very tiny minority threatened to physically harm him, and now he has indeed been seriously beaten. How does this make us look as hunters to the non-committed citizen out there – most of whom get their view of the world from the mainstream media?

Whoever is responsible did hunters a major disservice.

Just to put it in perspective he was not seriously beaten. As he stated he was punched in the face a couple times and was fine from the neck down. He walked away after the incident. I agree that the yapping will come back to haunt hunters. If you were in his shoes that is exactly what you would want! Again, we do not know if a hunter or poacher was involved. Don’t fall into their trap. For all we know he has other enemies. He says he has none, but are you willing to take his word for it? This is a man who deliberately tells lies to further his agenda.

That the CBC unwittingly has been aiding Mr. Marr is very much to its discredit. Where is the balanced coverage?

I don’t think covering a serious criminal assault after the man was publically threatened is exactly unbalanced coverage. He claims the assailant said it was for his stand on bear hunting – should CBC feel obligated to not report what a victim says his assailants said?

I listened to the CBC interview and Marr clearly stated that the only thing his assailant said was, “Are you Anthony Marr?” Serious criminal assault? I guess it’s all relative. I don’t see it that way.

It is necessary in my view to rigorously question everything people like Marr say and do. They are masters of manipulation, and worse, believe that it is morally acceptable to lie in order to gain their objective(s).

Also see: Bear hunting foe attacked in city – 21 January 1998


From: Rick Lowe

Re.: “I have watched this thread develop and I am a cynic. I do not think it is beyond the realm of possibility that this was a staged beating to garner sympathy from the public.”

Well, perhaps the doubters are right and I am wrong. Perhaps Marr did arrange to have himself beaten to the point where he suffered facial fractures which had the potential to damage his eyesight, threaten his life, or even kill him.

Maybe there is something for us to learn here – we have much in common. Marr has been fighting a losing battle to have legislation allowing bear hunting thrown out. We have been fighting a losing battle to have legislation which bans and prohibits firearms thrown out. I guess the only question that remains is if we can meet the dedication that Marr has apparently demonstrated in arranging the beating he took.

So… we need a few volunteers willing to undergo a beating severe enough to inflict some skull fractures in hopes of getting a sound byte on the news some night. Hands up please, volunteers… line forms to the right.

Come, come, surely some of us can meet the same level of dedication as that shown by a contemptible, lying anti hunter like Marr. If he can “take the bullet” to the extent he did to further his cause, then it seems that hunters and shooters as dedicated as we are would be willing to just as eagerly step forward for a similar beating. The chances are reasonably good that these injuries will heal with no permanent effects – Marr apparently lucked out, and our volunteers probably will as well…

For myself, I reluctantly admit that I’ll stick to letter writing, informing others, legally monkey-wrenching the system, and bugging my MP. I don’t have the courage that Marr and our volunteers have, to willingly submit to those kind of injuries in hopes of getting a one day sound byte in the news.

1 Feb 1998
From: Roger Walker

Rick Lowe writes:

Well, perhaps the doubters are right and I am wrong. Perhaps Marr did arrange to have himself beaten to the point where he suffered facial fractures which had the potential to damage his eyesight, threaten his life, or even kill him.

Maybe there is something for us to learn here

I guess the only question that remains is if we can meet the dedication that Marr has apparently demonstrated in arranging the beating he took.

For myself, I reluctantly admit that I’ll stick to letter writing, informing others, legally monkeywrenching the system, and bugging my MP. I don’t have the courage that Marr and our volunteers have, to willingly submit to those kind of injuries in hopes of getting a one day soundbyte in the news.

One major difference between “us” and “them” is that we are coming from a position that is both morally and (through various items such as common-law, bills of rights, constitutions, etc.) legally strong, whereas our opponents do not. Generally, those with the moral/legal high ground do not stoop to deceit, whereas with our opponents, without a logical leg to stand on, can rely on nothing but.

Unfortunately, there sometimes comes a time when we feel that we MUST stoop to the same level as our opponent, as that is all they will understand. If it were not so, there would be no reason to carry a firearm for self defence. Again, the difference is that we are more likely to keep things “civilized” for as long as possible.

Roger Walker
Voice/Fax (403) 440-2685
Director & Senior Consultant,
Pager (403) 470-1808
ROSCO Associates Technology
Staffing Ltd. (RATS!)


New Internationalist article on Anthony Marr


New Internationalist magazine

Biodiversity Threat:
The traffic in endangered species for their skins,
organs, horns or as exotic pets is putting some of the
world’s most vulnerable wildlife in dire peril.

Anthony Marr

Bad medicine

Ross Crockford

tells the story of a man who has stepped on toes
from Campbell River to Hong Kong to stop a pernicious trade


Anthony Marr knows what it feels like to be endangered. Last summer the Vancouver environmentalist was touring small towns in British Columbia, gathering signatures to force a referendum outlawing the hunting of bears in this Canadian province. Often the reception he got was downright hostile. Many people in the countryside claimed he was trying to destroy their livelihood and their heritage. ‘In Campbell River,’ recalls Marr, ‘a hunter pointed at me and said: “I saw you on TV this morning. The price on your head just went up $10,000.”’

Pretty frightening, but Marr has heard similar threats before, and often made in defence of a culture that is much, much older. Marr’s referendum drive was part of a larger, ongoing campaign (acronymed as BET’R) he has been running since November 1995 to stop the worldwide slaughter of bears, elephants, tigers and rhinos – big-game animals whose body parts are frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine. Marr is convinced that as Asia prospers and trade becomes further deregulated the demand for these animal parts will skyrocket.

Fortunately he’s in a position to do something about it. Since he was born in China and raised in Hong Kong, Marr figures he’s entitled to criticize things he grew up with that strike him as mere superstition. One is the belief that consuming part of a powerful animal gives strength to a corresponding part of your body. ‘When I was a kid my parents would give me things like bear gall and tiger bone as if it was aspirin,’ says Marr, who’s now 52. ‘Endangered species wasn’t part of my vocabulary at all.’

Consequently Marr spends much of his time speaking at Vancouver schools with large numbers of Chinese students, many of whom are hearing about the problem for the first time. He also speaks on Chinese-language radio talk shows. Sometimes listeners accuse him of defaming the Chinese reputation. Marr replies that, on the contrary, he is trying to save it: if we drive a species to extinction, he says, we can never regain respect in the eyes of the world.

‘A white person saying these kinds of things might be called a racist,’ says Marr. ‘But when a Chinese person is pointing the finger at Chinese culture, it’s more like self-examination.’

If public education is the long-term ‘yin’ of the BET’R campaign, the aggressive ‘yang’ is law enforcement. Until recently it was common to find rhino-hide and tiger-bone pills on the shelves of apothecaries in Vancouver’s Chinatown, and many did a brisk trade in gall bladders taken from bears poached in British Columbia and smuggled by individuals to Asia to sell for as much as $18,000 apiece. After a report by the Washington DC-based Investigative Network revealed the extent of the problem (one dealer offered a discount for 50 galls or more), law officers raided six businesses and seized 191 bear galls. Citing cases like this, Marr persuaded the Canadian Government to proclaim a Wildlife Trade Act, with penalties for traffickers of up to $150,000 in fines and five years in prison.

‘Chinese people are very pragmatic,’ says Marr. ‘They do things to produce results. They will abide by the law if the law comes down on them. Besides, if I work on the law I can affect all of the stores instead of just one of them.’

Not content to stop there, Marr then began the drive for a referendum to outlaw all bear hunting in British Columbia. Though the North American black-bear population is considered ‘healthy’ and the grizzly is classified as ‘threatened’, Marr argues that instituting such a ban when both species are endangered will be too late.

Hunters replied with death threats and racial insults, and obstructed and photographed people who wanted to sign Marr’s petition. In the end his volunteers managed to collect over 90,000 signatures – half of what was needed to force a referendum, but enough to argue convincingly that many wanted bear hunting stopped. Marr called on the provincial government to set aside more wildlife reserves, increase the penalties for poaching and ban the spring hunt, when most poaching occurs.

Now Marr is taking his BET’R campaign around the world. He plans to speak in several North American cities with large Chinese communities and after that in several Chinese-speaking capitals of the Pacific Rim. ‘There have been many articles crying for help, saying that what is needed is a person of Chinese extraction to tackle this problem,’ he says. ‘So here I am.’

Marr knows there will be some risk; organized crime is directly involved in the six-billion-dollar annual trade in endangered species, and it’s certain those involved will threaten him if they they think he’s jeopardizing their business. But after tangling with British Columbia’s hunters, he should be ready.

Ross Crockford is a freelance journalist working out of Vancouver.

©Copyright: New Internationalist 1997