February 18, 2009
Budget Misses Opportunity for Bear Watching, Other Ecotourism
Compassionate Choices Also More Profitable, Says HSI/Canada
VICTORIA, BC — British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell has missed an opportunity to improve the lives of animals with today's budget, says Humane Society International/Canada. The animal-protection organization hoped Campbell would focus on compassion by earmarking funds to help communities replace trophy hunting with higher income generating and more sustainable ecotourism, and committing to improving farm animal welfare.
"HSI/Canada is disappointed that Premier Campbell has failed to seize the opportunity to make British Columbia a more compassionate province," said Bruce Passmore, Director of Outreach for HSI/Canada. "Not only is trophy hunting cruel it threatens species at risk, and it generates little or no revenue for struggling communities. Compassionate choices are also more profitable choices. Animal cruelty cannot be justified on a moral basis but neither can it be justified financially. BC is attempting to expand tourism and should therefore capitalize on the willingness of tourists to pay top-dollar to enjoy and appreciate the province's unique beauty."
HSI/Canada supports sustainable animal-viewing operations as a more compassionate alternative to trophy hunting. Ecotourism models have consistently generated more income for rural communities than hunting while also protecting ecosystems and animal populations for future generations. Ecotourism also helps regions reduce carbon emissions and meet local "green" targets.
Today's budget is also bereft of any measures to improve the lives of millions of farm animals in the province. It is very clear that factory-farming models harm people, the environment and animals while wasting government funds through expensive subsidies. The Liberal government should have seized this opportunity to evaluate current practices and move away from large-scale confinement models which can cram vast numbers of animals in tiny cages where they can barely move an inch their whole lives.
Also missing from the budget was any plan to improve and enforce animal protection laws and deter would-be animal abusers, like puppy mill operators, with increased penalties for cruelty to animals.
Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI/Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International — one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than ten million members and constituents globally.