Captive breeding of spotted owls “obscene”

Wed, 26 Sep 2007

Spotted owl fledglings
Spotted owl fledglings

Capturing and breeding spotted owls is “obscene” and a “crime against nature,” charges Derrick Jensen, a best-selling author, environmental activist and lecturer scheduled to visit Vancouver and Victoria in October.

“I’m not unalterably opposed to every captive breeding program,” Jensen explained by phone from Northern California. “That said, it is obscene to take Northern Spotted Owls from the wild and to use that as an excuse – which is all it is – to destroy their habitat.”

“In this case, it’s a disgusting, immoral crime against nature. It’s an excuse to rationalize further deforestation for the timber industry,” Jensen said.

Environmentalists accuse the BC government of failing to protect spotted owl habitat in its recovery plan while implementing a controversial captive-breeding program. Near Pemberton, a research camp is monitoring attempts to capture a spotted owl while logging carried out under BC’s small business Timber Sales Program clearcuts the owl’s home territory.

Two owls captured earlier this year are living in large cages in Langley and North Vancouver. The entire Canadian population of spotted owls is estimated at 17, and the birds have not previously bred in captivity.

“It is obscene to encourage small business at the expense of a species,” Jensen said. “This culture forgets what the real world is. They think it is industrial capitalism.”

“It is insane – by which I mean out of touch with reality – to promote industrial activities that harm the real world. Because the real world is the source of life,” Jensen asserted.

Jensen speaks in Vancouver on Friday, October 19, 8 pm at the Ukrainian Cultural Hall, 154 East 10th Ave. He visits Victoria for the first time on October 20, 6 pm at the David Lam Auditorium at the University of Victoria.

More news about the spotted owls, Jensen’s visit, and the research camp will be posted here this fall.

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