Farmers on the Saanich Peninsula, like Jack Mar, find themselves in a tough position — trying to make a living while fighting against a seemingly insurmountable foe — wildlife.
Or perhaps it’s the people who love wildlife that present a bigger danger to a farmer’s livelihood.
This space has been critical in the past about people’s interference in the natural order of things — from deer culls and predator relocation, to the introduction of non-native species — seen as a major cause of farm-animal conflicts — in the first place. And then there’s the Disney-fication of wildlife — or giving them more human qualities such as the same emotions and attitudes you or someone else might have. Doing that just throws reason and common sense out the window.
Certainly, we could be seen to be a little soft on wildlife. (And why not? Wildlife is an essential part of life in B.C., not to mention everywhere else on the planet). But we agree there should be a balance sought to ensure both our survival and that of the critters on the Island and Saanich Peninsula specifically.
When it comes to our survival, try not to take that too literally. However, there’s an argument to be made that we need all the productive farmland we can get — what with drought the order of the day in the other regions from which most of our food comes from. Whittle away at farmers’ livelihoods and that land — or the food on it at least — could disappear.
Local farmers need better tools to deal with varmints tearing into their crops. And we’re not talking firearms — residential areas have grown up too close for that to be a reality on the Saanich Peninsula.
Municipal red tape needs to become more streamlined to recognize these problems and react better to farmers’ requests for fencing and other easements.
Central Saanich, in the meantime, embarks on a cull of geese this month. While that may work in the short term, more longer-term solutions must be sought, and that means being able to work with the experts in the fields