British Columbia

Cattle ranchers defend program to kill cougars and wolves in South Peace

Cattlemen in the South Peace region are defending a program that pays them to kill wolves and cougars that threaten their herds, amid criticism that it lacks oversight.

Ranchers say program that pays them to kill predators has cut their livestock losses by two thirds

Cattle ranchers in B.C.'s South Peace region have been paid $266,000 to kill predators like wolves and cougars since 2013. (Craig Hyatt/Flickr)

Cattlemen in the South Peace region are defending a program that pays them to kill  cougars and wolves that threaten their herds, amid criticism that it lacks oversight.

​"Our program meets all government statutes and regulations. Certainly, we're not opposed to oversight," president of the Peace River Cattlemen Association Mike McConnell told Daybreak North's Carolina de Ryk.

The Livestock Protection Pilot Program was introduced in 2013 by the Peace River Cattlemen Association, as a form of financial help for cattle ranchers trying to remove wild predators.

Since it was implemented $266,000 has been paid out since 2013 and more than 400 predators have been killed.

The money, which comes from the province, is distributed through the Peace River Regional District. The program itself is administered by the Peace River Cattlemen Association.

McConnell said for the most part, ranchers aren't profiting from the funds.

"There's not a lot of ranchers that have the training and expertise and time, so in most cases this money is used to hire somebody with the training and expertise to take these predators," he said.

McConnell said the program has been extremely effective, and has cut the cattlemen's losses to about a third of what they were before it began.

To hear the full interview with Peace River Cattlemen Association president Mike McConnell, click the audio labelled: Cattle ranchers defend program that pays to kills predators.

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