Letters to the Editor: January 21

Helping Hands Food Bank; Deer Cull, pro and anti; Slopes for Hope

Helping Hands

This is in reply to a letter from Mr Johnstone.

The Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank supplies statistical information to the Bulletin on a regular basis, to inform citizens of the state of food insecurity and the need that exists in the Kimberley Area.

We track usage by our clients on a daily basis and in turn compile monthly and yearly statistical reports. The figures published were for the fiscal year ending Sept 30, 2015. The number of food hampers provided for this fiscal year was 1,458. This number included clients who access the Food Bank once or multiple times and whether they receive an emergency or full hamper.

Statistics on the number of individual family units who access the Food Bank are tracked. During the past year,  284 households in our area obtained food hampers. This amounted to  396 adults and 253 children. Christmas Hampers are not included in these totals.

When we submit Food Bank statistics for publication, our purpose is to inform the community on the amount of usage of Food Bank services, whether it be a single or multiply users.

In no way do we want to mislead the public.

The Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank is a total volunteer organization which depends solely on donations.  The Food Bank appreciates the immense support given by the community.

Stan Salikin, President/Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank

Deer Cull

Dear Mayor and Members of Council,

I am a Director of Animal Alliance of Canada and I am writing for three reasons. The first is to clarify our long involvement in the discussion of deer culls in Cranbrook. The second is to explain how our position to support the relocation project came about. The third is to address the issues of the fawns in the traps.

History of our involvement in deer culls in Cranbrook:

Our organization has appeared before Council on this issue in previous years.  We have communicated with previous Councillors and met with the previous Mayor.  I came to Cranbrook during one cull to verify the claims by the Ministry and the City: that the animals, when trapped, experience little or no stress because they simply lie down until the cull contractor arrives; that killing with the bolt was quick and painless; and the bleed-out was done immediately after. The Ministry staff had no problem with my request to attend the cull but the City, the permit holder, said no.

How support for the relocation came about:

We offered our assistance with non-lethal approaches to resolving human deer conflicts. We produced a paper that focused on non-lethal alternatives and distributed it to the communities that were culling. We supported the one-day “hazing” trial in Kimberley.

When we were asked if we would give financial support for the proposed relocation programme, our Board agreed. It was our understanding at the time that any community involved in the relocation project would not be culling.

Secret cull exposed:

Then in the late fall 2015, I learned that Cranbrook had received a permit and would proceed with a cull. At that time I contacted the all the municipalities involved in the relocation project and learned that Kimberley and Elkford would not be culling and that Invermere would. I received no call back from Cranbrook.

As part of the BC Deer Protection Society, I recommended that we notify the residents of Cranbrook about a potential cull. We took out a full page ad the Cranbrook Townsman and still no comment from Council.

In addition, I discovered that other partners in the relocation project had not been notified of Cranbrook’s decision to cull and some only learned when the video footage of the fawn in the trap was released.

I urge you not to demonize the messenger but ask yourself if this cull is as humane as you claim, how it was possible to document violations of the City’s permit on two separate occasions?

Instead of making statements about those who provided the documentation and questioned the humaneness, I urge you to consider making the following recommendations:

· that the treatment of these animals was unacceptable;

· that the City will investigate its role as the permit holder, responsible for enforcing the conditions of the permit; and

· that you seek a joint investigation of the matter with the responsible Ministry.

Liz White, Director/Animal Alliance of Canada

Deer Cull

I recently read Gerry Warner’s Letter to the Editor about the so-called Secret Deer Cull and that the mayor should make an apology for doing so under the guise of secrecy. Apologize to who. The traps were placed on properties where citizens had previously contacted the city about deer problems of one kind or another. Sure there are people who do not want the cull, but there is also a number who do and that is where the traps have been placed. For the most part the only people who want to know where and when the cull is happening are groups like those led by Ms. White and her followers so the cull can be disrupted or they can gather evidence to show the negative side of a cull. In every case when these anti-cull groups did not know when or where a cull was conducted there was never a problem. Kimberley culled a 100 deer a few years ago and it was done without incident. Cranbrook’s first cull had similar results. Since the anti-cull groups have gotten involved there have been major problems in every cull.

According to Mr. Warner The cull is now on You-Tube. I wander if he gave any thought to the fact the to get those videos they probably had to trespass on private property in the guise of secrecy. I didn’t read anywhere about landowners getting an apology for this deceitful act.

There was a cull conducted in the municipality of Oak Bay, on Vancouver Island about a year ago, and as much as the anti-cull groups tried to get information, it didn’t happen. They knew the municipality had a permit but they didn’t know when it would happen or were the traps would be set or who the contractor was. There were all kinds of blogs from the anti-groups, particularly from the Invermere area. And all kinds of questions about the secrecy, but the Municipality did not yield to the pressure and refused to release any detailed information. The anti-cull groups were definitely upset because the cull was completed without a hitch. Similar to this recent call in Cranbrook.

In most cases when the citizens of a city know there will be a cull there is not mass protests to stop it. Those that support it have their reason and those that don’t have theirs. In short, most don’t give a pack rat’s assets because the only people involved are those with serious problems and those citizens want the the problem fixed either because their children are at risk, their pet has been killed, there property has been damaged or their was deer-human conflict.

Cull is not a dirty four letter word. Culls of one kind or another happen all the time. Wild donkeys and pigs are culled in Australia. Africa has cull programs to protect agriculture and humans, England has deer culls as does the United States. Anti-cull groups are only interested in one thing – stopping culls. I thinks they should go to some of these other places and see how they fair.

If Gerry Warner thinks there should be an apology, he is entitled to his opinion. Frankly I don’t think there is any need for an apology.

RC Kerr/Cranbrook

Deer Cull

Of all the cities in the East Kootenays that agreed to participate in the deer relocation program, Cranbrook is the only one that decided to flagrantly disregard the agreement that was made and proceed with a deer cull.

If Cranbrook council made the decision to participate in the relocation program in good faith, why on earth would they then think it’s a good idea to continue doing a cull?  And it’s very telling that Mayor Pratt “refuses to get in a debate through the media” with the Animal Alliance.

If council was in the right and had nothing to hide, then why wouldn’t he comment?

If the Deer Protection Society discovered mishandlings at least twice during this cull, how many other instances went undetected?

I think the citizens of Cranbrook have the right to know exactly what policies are laid out by the Mayor and council on critical issues to the public such as this.

I will always stand for the welfare and protection of animals, and I believe we as humans (the so-called “higher intelligent” species) have to take the ecological responsibility of co-existing with the wildlife that were here long before us.

“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men.

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” Immanuel Kant

Michelle McEntee Longstaff/Cranbrook

Slopes for Hope

Now that the holiday season is over, it’s time to look at our 5th Slopes for Hope Kimberley campaign. We will be skiing the vertical height of Mt Everest — 29,035 feet and this year the event will be held on March 5th, 2016.

As a 13-year prostate cancer survivor I understand how critically important research is along with various other programs the Canadian Cancer Society (British Columbia & Yukon) provides. Approximately 94% of your donations go directly to programs with only the remaining 6% going to administration costs.

This year I am skiing as an individual as my usual team members from Texas, Ontario & BC are not available. However, they are providing lots of moral support!

Please google “Slopes for Hope Kimberley 2016” and then click on “find a participant” and enter Gord Jenkins then click on donate.

Thanks for your support. Together we can strive to ensure there will be many more survivors.

Gord Jenkins/Kimberley