Over 30 organizations and experts renew call for BC government to end wildlife killing contests in open letter

Artists, scientists, First Nations, animal protection and conservation groups urge province to end senseless killing of wildlife

Humane Society International / Canada

WildMedia/Alamy Stock

VICTORIA, Canada—A broad coalition of non-government organizations, scientists, environmentalists, eco-tourism operators and notable British Columbians, including Robert Bateman, have signed an open letter calling on the British Columbia government to end wildlife killing contests in the province once and for all. The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs has signed the open letter and also submitted a separate letter urging the BC government to end these contests.

Wildlife killing contests take place legally across British Columbia every year. During these contests, animals are killed to accumulate points towards winning cash and/or prizes. Animals commonly targeted in these contests include coyotes, wolves, bears, cougars, bobcats and raccoons. In 2019, a coalition led by non-governmental organizations called on the BC government to end wildlife killing contests, resulting in media backlash and public outcry against these contests. Unfortunately, in absence of the provincial government taking concrete actions to prohibit wildlife killing contests, they have merely been driven underground and out of the public eye.

Kelly Butler, the wildlife campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada, stated: “The science is clear, wildlife killing contests have no place in wildlife management. These contests exploit misunderstanding and fear surrounding species like wolves and coyotes and are a transparent means to kill animals for fun. We are calling on the government to take action to protect BC’s wildlife and join the growing number of jurisdictions that are prohibiting these cruel contests.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of UBCIC, stated: “Killing contests betray the general public into thinking that a problem is being solved, but the problem is not on the wildlife management, the real problem is the degradation of land, forests and waterways. Animals balance themselves in the proper conditions, and human intervention and industry has not allowed for that to occur. Instead, we blame one animal when the real ‘animal’ is us.”

Robert Bateman, Order of Canada, Order of British Columbia, renowned artist and naturalist, stated: “I am shocked that BC continues to allow wildlife killing contests. These cruel and unscientific events encourage and normalize needless animal suffering, and do not represent the values held by the overwhelming majority of British Columbians. Killing of superior members of a species degrades the gene pool.”

The concern relating to these contests extends beyond conservationists and environmentalists; several eco-tourism operators signed on to the open letter as well.

Eric Boyum, owner/operator of Ocean Adventures Charter Co., stated: “While the BC Ministry of Tourism’s partner Destination BC uses slogans like ‘BC, Where Nature is Nurtured’, nothing could be further from the truth. Allowing wildlife killing contests demonstrates a very real lack of care for sentient animals that are not only vital to the biodiversity of their ecosystems, but also vital to the image and integrity of tourism in BC. The cruelty exhibited by those that kill these beautiful animals for kicks, is something we should all be deeply concerned about and that we should all be committed to ending.”

Across the United States, a growing number of states are outlawing wildlife killing contests in order to protect wildlife and uphold the values of their citizens. Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington have now outlawed killing contests for coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other species, and several other states are considering similar action. In Canada, only Ontario has an applicable law prohibiting hunting for “gain or the expectation of gain.”

The open letter calls on the Ministry of Forests to prohibit wildlife killing contests and is signed by:

  • Adventuress Sea Kayaking
  • Animal Alliance of Canada
  • Animal Justice
  • Animal Protection Party of Canada
  • Animals Asia Foundation
  • BC Nature
  • Bears Matter
  • Clayoquot Action
  • Coyote Watch Canada
  • Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research
  • EXPOSED Wildlife Conservancy
  • Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee
  • Humane Society International/Canada
  • International Animal Rescue
  • John E. Marriott (Wildlife Photographer)
  • National Wolfwatcher Coalition
  • North Shore Black Bear Society
  • Ocean Adventures Charter Co.,
  • Ocean Light Adventures
  • Pacific Wild Alliance
  • Project Coyote
  • Robert Bateman (Artist)
  • Sierra Club BC
  • Spirit Bear Lodge
  • Susan Musgrave (Poet)
  • Takaya Legacy Project
  • The Fur-Bearers
  • The Kerulos Center for Nonviolence
  • The Union of BC Indian Chiefs
  • Tourists Against Trophy Hunting
  • Vancouver Humane Society
  • Wilderness Committee
  • Wolf Awareness
  • Zoocheck Inc.
  • Breder Law, Animal Lawyers
  • In Defense of Animals


Media Contact: Kelly Butler, wildlife campaign manager: 438-882-7238; kbutler@hsi.org

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Waldo Swiegers/AP Images for HSI

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