Property rights. Animal rights. Farmers' rights. Public safety. The bowhunting-bears story, of which I wrote earlier today, touches on all these issues.
For this reason, it's imperative that, before they make a final decision on outlawing bowhunting in the City of Coquitlam, councillors take all the above-mentioned factors into consideration. And, in doing so, council should act dispassionately, so rights are respected and safety truly protected.
On the latter issue, the central question is whether a ban on bowhunting will have the unintended consequence of leading to more discharge of firearms by farmers protecting their crops. And, if so, whether this will end up decreasing, not increasing, public safety.
I've been in touch with several organizations today, and one of them is stating in no uncertain terms that a bowhunting ban would actually decrease public safety.
Ted Kennedy, VP of the bowhunting section of the B.C. Archer Association, has this to say about the subject:
"As VP of bowhunting and a master bowhunting course conductor, the issue at hand is important to me and the bow hunting community. I would be glad to address council or answer any questions they may have.
"I certainly believe the risk to the public is much greater with rifles. The effective distance of a bow is considerably shorter, most shots taken under 50 yds. As to the other issues mentioned, I believe I can demonstrate the benefits of bow hunting. Many other communities around the province support bowhunting as a safe practice."
His is just one of many voices that need to be heard before a final decision is made.