Farmers in all regions are battling conflict with wildlife. It can be deer, bear, cougar, moose, geese, quail, and more. We need to consider that all farms supply food down the chain for all human beings and domestic animals. We need our farmers.
It’s a fallacy to think farmers can live with wildlife in their farming practices if a Metchosin farmer loses six sheep to a bear. That’s a tremendous economic loss, and if breeding stock, it could be worse.
Consider the farmer and the care, attention, and money spent on fencing, food and hours, caring, and raising animals and gardens.
We need to ask ourselves if we are supporting local farms and how we are supporting them.
We need to talk, how we can better manage a growing concern with wildlife encroaching in our communities and our effects on encroaching on theirs and how to manage it better.
The Sooke official community plan is coming up for discussion, and we need better consultation with all those affected.
It’s impossible to have a bear living compatible with a pig, cattle, goat, or sheep or chickens and unlikely to have raccoons living as companions with ducks and chickens.
Yes, there are electric fences, which may be a deterrent, but are a significant expense to farmers. We want our animals to have large spaces to roam and not have feedlots to raise healthy animals without antibiotics.
So what are the answers to solve this?
I hope we see you all face to face for an open and honest discussion on supporting not only farmers but protecting young and old from an ever-growing population of wildlife.