Defender Radio and The Switch
Episode 404: Trophy

Ninety-one percent of people in British Columbia oppose the trophy hunting of grizzly bears, from all demographics and geographic regions. Economic studies have shown that grizzly bear viewing is the future of ecotourism in British Columbia, significantly outperforming the guided hunts. And First Nations people – on whose traditional land many of the hunts take place – are condemning a government that ignores their wishes. But still, the hunt goes on.

And those who lobby for this bloody activity have a new opponent to facedown: LUSH Cosmetics.

The ethical business that has supported many social and environmental causes around the world – including The Fur-Bearers’ #MakeFurHistory campaign – have entered the ring with plans for a knockout punch. Trophy, a documentary presented by LUSH with the vision of their in-house director Inder Nirwan, looks at the issue of grizzly bear trophy hunting across North America, and asks the ultimate question: can we truly justify killing these animals for sport?

On this week’s episode, Defender Radio connected with Douglas Neasloss, Chief Councillor and Resource Stewardship Director of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, to discuss the traditional and economic importance of the grizzly bear to his nation, as well as his experiencing dealing with a provincial government that simply isn’t listening. We also spoke with LUSH Cosmetic’s Inder Nirwan, the director and primary filmmaker behind Trophy

Direct download: 2016-10-31_Complete.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 4:47pm EDT

Episode 403: The Wolf Policy Paradox

The status of wolves is a contentious subject these days. Between myths and fact, depredation and trophic cascades, it seems that every opinion is equally right, and wrong. It only follows that when it comes to making policy about wolves, that paradox would follow.

A perfect example of this comes from Ontario, where the newly-identified Algonquin Wolf was given threatened status over summer. The genetically unique subspecies of wolf already received protection in Algonquin Provincial Park – but due to the Algonquin wolf’s status, a review of additional protections was in order. On the table for review was a plan to prohibit trapping and hunting in various management units of all wolves, including the not-threatened grey wolf, and coyotes, which can be so morphologically like the Algonquin wolf, only DNA can differentiate the species.

Ultimately, no one was really happy with the government’s decision, including the researcher who spoke with Defender Radio. Hannah Barron, Director of Wildlife Conservation Campaigns at Earthroots, joined us to talk Algonquin wolves, science-based conservation, and the failings of poor policy.

Direct download: 2016-10-24_DefenderRadio.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 1:55pm EDT

Episode 402: The Bear Facts of the Scientific Method

It seems that much of society has lost its grip on what words like facts or theories actually mean, and how they should and shouldn’t be used. It becomes particularly concerning, however, when these words get used incorrectly in popular media or in discussions about policy affecting wildlife and the environment.

Even amongst advocates we see misuse of scientific terms, or arguments that aren’t as strong as they could be due to an inability to properly engage the scientific community.

Fortunately, education is always possible, and that’s why Defender Radio connected with Biologist and doctoral candidate Kyle Artelle to review the bear (get it?) facts of the scientific method.

Direct download: 2016-10-17_Defender_Radio.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 2:32pm EDT

Episode 401: Nathaniel's Message of Hope

Though it has been a rough week for animal advocates, I’m very pleased to be starting this new season with a message of hope.

On Wednesday, October 5, Bill C-246 - the Modernizing Animal Protections Act – was defeated in the federal House of Commons. The private members bill, which was put forward by Toronto-area MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, would have updated the criminal code as it relates to bestiality and animal cruelty, banned the importation of shark fins, prohibited the importation and sale of dog and cat fur, and require all fur products to be labelled. Most animal advocates – and many MPs – saw this as a common sense update to outdated laws.

Despite widespread support, the bill was stopped at its second reading – the second phase of a private members’ bill. Parliamentarians voted down the forward progress of the legislation by a margin of 198 to 84, with a number of Liberals and all but one Conservative member saying nay.

Though his bill was defeated, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith remains hopeful that Canada is another step closer to a more compassionate future, and he joined Defender Radio today – less than 48 hours after the vote – to share his message of hope.

Direct download: 2016-10-07_Full.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 2:12pm EDT