I often visit North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
We have some new neighbors here. They are ruining the neighborhood. They don’t throw wild parties. They are not loud. Their kids don’t rob anyone. They never get drunk; well, not so that you would notice. The don’t carouse. But still, the long-time inhabitants of this neck of the woods do not relish their presence.
They do turn over garbage cans, looking for food. They are very scary. They are bears.
Some of them are emaciated, and looking to fatten up for their long winter hibernation. They walk on the streets, come into our back yards, settle down in our driveways for brief respites. They are mostly peaceable, and have not yet hurt or killed any human beings, at least not this year. However, they are very powerful. The ancient Romans, when they wanted to have a competitive fight with no obvious winner, would arrange for not one but two lions to battle against one of them. (To be fair, some experts maintain one lion against one bear would be more equal; also, those bears were grizzlies, and they are not prancing around our neighborhood; we only have black bears, which are less powerful.)
What is the all-loving government doing to protect the local tax-paying citizenry from this threat? Nothing. No, that is not correct. Rather, they are worsening the situation. First of all, they are not scooping up these bears and removing them from the local area. That’s the nothing. Secondly, we used to have a zoo in Vancouver, but this was shut down. That’s the negative. Surely, some of these creatures could have been placed therein.
Why was the Vancouver Zoo shut down? Ostensibly, superficially, because several wolves were purposefully let loose by vandals. However, after this threat was eliminated, the zoo could have reopened. But why, in turn, were these predators freed? This is because “animal rights” activists cannot tolerate them being “imprisoned.” They have not yet been convicted of any crime yet, have they? No, of course not. So, set them free by all means. Better that they freely roam the streets of nearby North Vancouver than, horrors, be imprisoned for a crime they have not committed.
As it happens, there are other venues where the local bears could have been placed. There is a grizzly bear habitat, much closer, located in North Vancouver itself, on the other side of Grouse Mountain. There is also a zoo in nearby Aldergrove, BC, about 45 miles from Vancouver. However, this is now under severe attack from the wokesters. For example, in the view of one activist:
“[The] Zoo is the worst I’ve been too (sic). Dirty facilities, understaffed, lack of amenities, all the animal enclosures are run down and tiny. All the animals look sad. Please don’t waste your money, maybe they will get shut down …”
Here is the more measured response from the zoo administrator:
“Thank you for your feedback. We are committed to the ongoing maintenance and upgrades of our facility. Our approach continues to be methodical and we strive to ensure that any facility upgrades are done with the animals and our ecological environment in mind. There will be ongoing updates to our facility each month, so we encourage you to check back with us on what initiatives we have underway. We are home to over 140 species on 120 acres and only house animals that were born in captivity, rescued, former pets, surrendered animals, or those that come from different facilities. As a CAZA accredited facility, animal health and welfare is our highest priority.”
If government were not so busy sitting on its rear end, it might have tried to arrange matters so that these new “neighbors” of ours in North Van could be placed in one of those two areas. Instead, whenever the statists awaken, they ship the local bears to relatively far off, uninhabited areas.
How would private enterprise handle this situation? First of all, no bears would be allowed to cavort in areas such as North Van. The locals are afraid to go out for walks, do their shopping, walk their dogs, etc. Second, there would be none of this “releasing” of dangerous animals such as bears (and coyotes and cougars) into the wilderness. They can all travel for scores of miles and again endanger people. Plus, these animals are very territorial; there will be a fight to the finish between the old and new inhabitants of these areas. No, under capitalism, these creatures would all be housed humanely or killed, so as to uphold the human right not to be attacked, contrary to so-called animal “rights.”
Some commentors blame the problem of gamboling bears on people too lazy to keep their garbage secure, away from these animals. But suppose everyone suddenly became more public spirited and did exactly that. Would this solve the problem of too many hungry bears? It is difficult to see how this would suffice.
This originally appeared on The Libertarian Institute and was reprinted with the author’s permission.