Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Polar bear hunting is not sport

I've just signed a petition here sending a message to the Canadian government in protest at their granting of licences to shoot polar bears for so-called 'sport'. 
I have campaigned for the rights of indigenous people to use their lands as they will, and many years ago that meant I came across the difficult question of whether this includes the right to hunt polar bears. I love polar bears beyond all other animals, I always have. If I were to choose to die, it would be by the paw of a polar bear ('I'd rather die by carnivore than by car...'). I revere these animals. My instinct is that no-one should have the right to hunt them.

But for indigenous people, such as the Chukchi people from north east Russia, hunting polar bears is a fundamental part of their identity. A young man comes of age by taking part in a polar bear hunt, and the animal's skin is then made into clothes that he will wear to hunt for the rest of his life. I have grown to accept that indigenous people have the right to wear polar bear pants. More than that, I have come to see the survival of the traditional ways of people who understand bears and their habitat sufficiently well to be able to hunt them, as a key part of polar bear conservation.

So, I am not opposed to the hunting of polar bears per se. But so-called 'sport hunting' is a totally different matter. There is no moral basis for people with no cultural or spiritual connection with polar bears to gun them down, often from helicopters. It's a disgusting practice, and one the Canadian government profits hugely from, selling polar bear hunting licences for up to 60,000 Canadian dollars.

No civilised country should tolerate this. Please join me in telling the Canadian government to stop the sale of 'sport' licences for hunting polar bears. The petition is here.

N.B. The picture is from the Bear With Us bear sanctuary.


  1. The local population get quotas on what and how much they can hunt for there self. As a source of income they sell the kill to people that will pay. So no more animals are dying and they have a great income source for a better life. Here are some fee's from http://www.polarbearhunting.net/
    NON-RESIDENT HUNTING LICENSE $50.00 C. POLAR BEAR TROPHY FEE $750.00 C. There is also a 7% Goods and Services Tax due on each license and fee. If kills are sold for $60,000 then it is the locals making the money not the Government. This petition could devastate these communities that depend on there rite to kill bears. They don't kill more than they are allowed. That changes depending on the current population numbers.