Part II – Bear Referendum
Chapter 23 – Pleasure From Another’s Suffering Is Wrong
July 6, 1998, Saturday, sunny 10-20oC
[18:53 @ Jill and Roy Howard’s house in Dunster]
A holiday! And tomorrow too!! And in such paradise-like settings. How I wish you were here, Christopher.
All I did in terms of work today was to go to the neighbouring town of Valemont, driven by Roy, to be interviewed by Kyla Mahony of the Valemont Sentinel.
After that, Roy took me for a long drive in his 4X4 on a rugged and winding logging road which leads off the highway between Valemont and Dunster into the mountains. We went in about 10 km or so until we encountered a washed out bridge. The area was logged some decades ago. Now it looks wild and pristine again, although nothing resembling an old-growth forest. I stood on the rear deck most of the way and videoed the drive, for my parents’ armchair-exploration pleasure.
In the evening, Jill got a video titled Last of the Dogmen, starring Tom Berringer, about a lost tribe of the Cheyenne. There was war and peace, hate and love, pain and joy, cowardice and courage… all the ingredients of an epic. It was at once tribal and universal.
It somehow reminded me of a heated moment during last night’s event, where a native person in attendance tried to mediate between the deadlocked WCWC and the BCWF (BC Wildlife Federation, which I call the “BC Hunting Federation”), by suggesting that hunters and anti-hunters should unite against the common enemy – the poachers.
Raminothna answered this through me, while I answered it through myself: “The BCWF has 35,000 members versus WCWC’s 25,000. It does not need the WCWC to wage a campaign against poaching. The fact that they have never launched any such campaign is for two reasons: 1. all they want is to get kills of their own, and 2. some hunters are also poachers. Where the WCWC is concerned, of course one enemy is wildlife poaching. But the greater enemy is simply wildlife killing, illegal and legal. Besides, Poaching is already illegal. What is there to fight? What is there to right? We are fighting what is wrong, even if it is legal. Recreational hunting and trophy hunting are simply wrong. Besides, forming an unholy alliance is also wrong.”
“Ah,” exclaimed a hunter as if it were ‘Eureka!’, “Mr. Marr is finally showing his true colours. He is not just against bear hunting for conservation purposes. He is against all hunting, period. So, you deer hunters, and elk hunters, and moose hunters, and even you anglers, don’t feel too complacent. He will come after you once the bear hunters are down.”
“For once, you are right. My formula is simple: Any activity where one derives pleasure out of another’s suffering is morally wrong,” said Raminothna and I.
July 7, 1996, Sunday, sunny, 30+oC
[22:41 @ Ruth Madsen’s residence in Kamloops]
If you like it hot, you should come to Kamloops. It’s like driving into an oven. Nearby Litton sits exactly at the northern tip of the Mojave desert. No wonder.
Today was supposed to be my visit with Lindsay Tischer at Lake Louise. I left the Howards’ around 07:30, but almost as soon as I crossed over into Alberta, my car began misfiring again, and did not improve by the time I reached the border town of Jasper. I found a mechanic at a Shell station who said he could look at it, but not before 15:00. While waiting, I pulled the spark plug cables one at a time and identified the misfiring-cylinder to be #3, at the right front, but couldn’t quite determine the problem. The mechanic noticed a crack in the #3 cable which was arcing with the engine block. I tried calling Lindsay on the phone, but there was no answer. Seeing that there was nothing but wilderness until Banff, and that Banff was unlikely to provide me with a new compatible cable, I decided to backtrack into BC and head straight to Kamloops several hundred km distant. I got some electrician’s tape and had the cable wrapped up as best I could, and the arcing did stop, until within an hour of Kamloops, when the tape was melted through and the misfiring resumed. My car finally limped into Kamloops around 19:30, where a set of spark-plug cables is supposed to be waiting for me.
I checked into Ruth Madsen’s house (another gorgeous one) around 21:00. Ruth is an attractive lady in her 50’s, whose current environmental concern is the type of fertilizer used in the black-nets-shaded ginseng plantations, which, as seen from my roving car, are almost ubiquitous. While attending the Earth Summit in Rio, she contracted a parasite, which attacked first her intestines, then her brain. The effect is that her memory blocks, though remaining largely intact, have lost some of their linkages, resulting in memory lapses. She has since developed an extra-somatic filing system to remedy the situation.
As I mentioned before, tomorrow’s advertised event here in Kamloops is likely going to be another hot confrontation, although, by the sound of it, there is going to be a fair number of environmental and AR people there, bless their heart.
Good nighty, Christopher.
July 8, 1996, Mon.
Alaska Highway News
Fort St. John
by Tanya Wilson
Banning bear hunting may help preserve species: activist
Banning trophy and sport hunting of bears in British Columbia may help prevent bears from becoming an endangered species, said wildlife activist Anthony Marr at a meeting in Fort St. John last week.
In an effort to preserve BC’s bear population, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee has launched a campaign for a referendum to ban this destructive hunting which has the potential to damage the long term security of the province’s bears when combined with uncontrollable poaching.
Marr presented WCWC’s case to a group at the offices of North Peace Community Resources Society. With the aid of slides and video, showing the effect of poaching on entire ecosystems, Marr launched the Fort St. John leg of his campaign.
“Bears, elephants, tigers and rhinos all have something in common,” said Marr, who is campaigning in other areas for the protection of all these animals. “Their body parts are used for medicinal purposes in TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine. They believe that a powerful animal makes powerful medicine, and that if you ingest a certain body part of a powerful animal, it would benefit a corresponding part of your body. Thus the tiger penis or seal penis is considered a powerful aphrodisiac.” Marr takes advantage of his Chinese heritage to appeal to the Chinese community for support to stop the use, the trade, and therefore the poaching.
“As the Asiatic Black bear population plummets, people trading in bear gall bladders and paws are looking elsewhere for their merchandise, and have found a large supply in Canada – the last in the world,” says Marr. “There is no way that our bears, particularly the Grizzly, can take the pressure of hunting and poaching combined. Poaching is by definition out of control, so we must control what we can, and that is hunting.”…
“The BET’R Campaign has several sub-campaigns, one towards wiping out endangered species parts trade in Chinatown, for example. The current sub-campaign here addresses legal hunting, and the only adequate control right now is zero tolerance, at least where killing Grizzly bears are concerned.”…
One local hunter summed up the feeling of the people who were present at the meeting when he said, “I am not against hunting for sustenance, but hunting body parts such as gall bladders and paws is insidious and barbaric.”
“And don’t forget that the heads and hide the legal hunters take are bear parts too,” said Marr.
The Fortunate and the Called Upon
at your service
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)