The Invermere Deer Protection Society is disappointed but not surprised that our lawsuit has been dismissed. Two critical affidavits were disallowed one from a social science/opinion survey expert and the other from a distinguished ungulate biologist. We understood throughout the process that the legal system is reluctant to interfere with municipal politics. Obviously the judge discounted the fact that council ignored social science and ungulate science and decided simply that our evidence did not apply.
Municipalities have the right to make decisions no matter how little urgency, liability and just plain common sense exists. To characterize a dismissal as some sort of victory is misleading without a judgement for one side or the other.
Sadly, our mayor continues to speak of frivolity regarding the slaughter of deer in our backyards. In September, after meeting with Mayor Gerry Taft, Pentictons mayor said that a group sued the city, claiming emotional damage from the trauma of imagining the deer being killed.
Rather, our lawsuit simply requested that two bylaws be declared invalid (for exceeding the authority granted in the Community Charter). The bylaws included approving the Final Report of the Urban Deer Committee and using the provincial permit to kill deer. Our members share one common belief that animals, including deer, are sentient, meaning they feel pain, fear and joy. Animals are not property and compassionate people do not inflict pain and suffering. In other words, our motivation and mission remain. Wildlife in Invermere suffer hostility, bullying, injury and death. The district has failed to start one critical, effective action which is their responsibility education. Citizens complain to council that taxpayers must protect their plants, and council implies culling is the answer. They seem to agree with jeers saying wildlife does not belong in town. They order bolt guns when adult guardians of children and pets demand council take care of the problem and they promote the foolish expectation that unlike the provincial government, they are liable for the actions of wildlife.
Council supports a program protecting large predators (WildSafe BC), but embarks on a tax-paid slaughter of herbivores. People say they support killing as long as it supplies the food bank so citizens in Cranbrook paid $13 a pound for venison in February. They ignore advice, even from their own, biased committee, and neglect to tell citizens that culling is an expensive, annual program in the model city of Helena, Montana.
Please vote no to the deer cull question on Saturday, November 2nd.
Devin Kazakoff for the IDPS board of directors (also Vince Zurbriggen, Charles Lamphier, Sue Saunders, Irena Sedlakova), Invermere