An open letter to Rich Petersen, retired owner of Re/Max Action Realty in Fort St John, B.C. from John E. Marriott, owner of Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours in Canmore, AB, a prize winner in the 2012 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and contributing editor to Outdoor Photography Canada magazine.
Sent on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 to the following:
Rich Peterson: firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: Members of Parliament for Fort St. John and the Yukon, Members of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, Travel Yukon, Northern BC Tourism, Whitehorse, Dawson Creek and Fort St John newspapers, the Vancouver Sun newspaper, several prominent wolf experts quoted in the article, and the President, Vice-Presidents and Regional Director of the BC Wildlife Federation.
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Ryan.Leef@parl.gc.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Info@tourismdawsoncreek.com, Joyce@tourismdawsoncreek.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
I wanted to write to express my disappointment in you after reading about your contest offering prize money to hunters that kill wolves in northeastern BC this winter (in the Vancouver Sun this morning: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Contest+offers+cash+prizes+wolf+kills+northeastern/7572936/story.html). This letter is to urge you to reconsider your contest and to focus your efforts elsewhere on actions that will benefit all of the wildlife of British Columbia.
Your Re/Max website [note: site was removed two days after I wrote this] describes you as a strong advocate for wildlife, and I quote, “A strong supporter of wildlife conservation issues, Rich has served on the provincial board of directors of the BC Wildlife Federation for over 10 years including two years as on the Federations provincial executive. His outdoor interests include trail riding, camping, river boater, fishing, hunting, and wildlife photography.” So my question to you is this: how does a ‘we’ll give big money to who can shoot the biggest wolf’ contest fit with your claims that you are a proponent of wildlife conservation? As seems far too common in my line of work, you and your fellow sponsors appear to be hunters without ethics, claiming to be conservationists acting on behalf of British Columbia wildlife, yet acting the complete opposite. As such, I am calling on you personally to stop this contest immediately.
I will be launching a nation-wide campaign later today on my blog (blog.wildernessprints.com) and Facebook fan pages for my readers, which number in the thousands, calling out hunters across Canada to step up and do something in protest of this contest, perhaps backing their oft-heard claims that their actions are for the good of all wildlife, not just select species, and are all about conservation. Because this is not hunting, nor is it ethical.
Killing any animal for the sake of killing is simply not acceptable in today’s day and age and you should be ashamed of yourself. Hunting is a time-honoured tradition that is about putting food on your table and getting out on the land, it is not a contest for killing the biggest this or that or for nurturing a hatred of one species.
Perhaps it’s time you truly did do something for conservation and picked up your camera instead of your gun if you can’t act responsibly with the resources we all share.
I travel the Alaska Highway almost every year in search of great wildlife photographs, including of wolves. I had a trip planned for this coming June, yet will now not be coming up there this year to spend my hard-earned money in protest of your actions. I will be urging my photography fans to do likewise until your contest has been stopped.
John E. Marriott
John E. Marriott Wildlife and Nature Photography
|Would this wolf pup photographed two years ago in the Fort St John area qualify for the $150 smallest wolf prize?|
I urge each of you to do three things: one, please copy those email addresses up above and write to them with your thoughts on this contest (and note that you will have to add your own local Re/Max agent email addresses). Please keep it clean and stick to the facts, and tell them that until this is stopped that you will no longer be considering trips up the Alaska Highway.
Two, if you know ethical hunters, please pass this along to them so that they can voice their say on this. It is painting all hunters in a bad light and I want to see who, if anyone, will step forward and let us know their thoughts, good or bad.
And three, please leave your comments below for others to read.