Deer advisory group should seek balance

DeerSafe Victoria calls for removal of bow hunter from deer management committee

A local animal rights group is asking Capital Regional District board members to remove one of the appointed members of the deer management advisory committee.

Representatives of DeerSafe Victoria sent a letter to the CRD on Monday, formally asking for the removal of Richard Christiansen, a representative from the United Bowhunters of British Columbia, from the Citizen’s Advisory Group.

They are also requesting that a DeerSafe member be appointed to the CAG in his place.

“We’ve taken it on ourselves to complain directly to the CRD because there is no other way to communicate with them,” Kelly Carson, one of the founding members of DeerSafe, said.

Members of DeerSafe, who attended the CAG’s first meeting last Wednesday and plan to attend every meeting, feel the makeup of the committee is “pro-cull” and that it needs to be more balanced.

“I think it’s our responsibility to make sure that the CRD does know there’s opposition to a cull.”

The fact that a bow hunter remains on the CAG has members of DeerSafe feeling “snubbed.”

Christiansen stated at the meeting that he brings a “pro-hunting slant” to the committee, Carson said.

“That’s not the words of someone who is open-minded and could listen to other options,” Carson added. “He’s there to shoot deer.”

According to Carson, few people on the committee seem open to humane alternatives and are knowledgeable about deer.

Unless a member of the advisory group continuously misses meetings or seems unprepared to participate, the CRD board is not planning on removing anyone from the CAG, according to Geoff Young, chair of the CRD.

“Normally you wouldn’t expect to remove people because of their views. … that’s the point of the committee, is that they’re there to express their views,” Young said.

Members of the CAG were selected based on the written material provided in their applications, outlining their individual knowledge and expertise.

“The selections were made primarily on the basis of individual circumstances and individual responses (to application questions) rather than trying to select group representatives,” Young said.

Given the constraints on geographic and agricultural representation required in the CAG, a range of people were chosen, he added.

While the board is aware members of the CAG may be representatives of certain groups, the hope is that some common ground can be reached in discussions, Young said.

“I don’t think we have to expect that a number of the people on the committee are going to make the decision for us,” he said. “They’re going to give us ideas and input and each of the directors will have to make up his or her own mind.”