The Centre for Fortean Zoology was founded in the UK in 1992 - nearly 20 years ago. Over the past two decades it has expanded to become a truly global organisation. We opened our American office in 2001, our Australian office in 2009, and now - in our 19th year - we are proud to welcome CFZ Canada to the CFZ global family.

Thursday 10 October 2019

Don't Kill Our Sasquatch

From Wikipedia
British Columbia is known to be a little...odd.  Generally, it has little to do with anything para-, super-, whatever-normal.  One thing most found odd was that killing a Sasquatch, said to be plentiful in the province, is illegal.  This law made researchers and believers quite happy.

In BC, there are some outdated laws, and some that are now, thankfully, gone.  In Vancouver you couldn't sell a stove on a Wednesday.  In Esquimalt snowball throwing within city limits was prohibited.

Other unusual laws reportedly prevail.  It's illegal to own more than 4 pet rats at a time in Port Coquitlam, for instance.  You also have to keep your cows off the street.  In Oak Bay you could be fined $100 if you parrot talks to loud.   Be careful too; you can be fined if your avian friend gets loose and flies into someone else's home.   In Victoria, street entertainers aren't allowed to give kids balloon animals.  It seems BC has a thing about animals and pets.

The reality, however, is that Sasquatch are not specifically protected from being killed.  Turns out, this is an urban legend.  There doesn’t appear to be any official statement but, the laws of British Columbia do declare that wildlife is owned by the government and can’t be hunted without a specific license. 

The myth probably originated in Nanaimo at the turn of the 20th century.  The Best of Sasquatch Bigfoot by John Green  quotes a letter where the writer is asking the Government Agent at the time (Marshall Bray) for permission to shoot the "wild man of Horne Lake".  The Agent  informed Kincaid that" it is unlawful to shoot Mowglies within the province of British Columbia at any time."  Marshall Bray also served as gold commissioner, Assistant Commissioner of Lands and Works for the district, police magistrate, and registrar of births, deaths and marriages for the Courts. He was also a director of the Nanaimo Telephone Company. The  BC Archives have collected materials on Marshall Bray if you'd like more information on him.

The neighbors to the south, however, do have a law specifically about killing Sasquatch.  On April 1, 1969 the Board of Commissioners of Skamania County, Washington, adopted an ordinance for the protection of sasquatch/bigfoot.  The ordinance has been partially repealed and amended and the revised ordinance went into effect on April 2, 1984.  It also declared the animal "an endangered species" and created a "Sasquatch Refuge".  

Back in Canada, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled on the case of Standing v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources).  Filmmaker Todd Standing, 
 claimed that the B.C. government was infringing on his Charter rights in ignoring his claims that he had seen the creature, and added that the ministry specifically was failing citizens by failing to protect the sasquatch.    He also sought a government statement that “Sasquatch is a hominoid or primate (Giganto Horridus Hominoid and/or Gigantopithecus) type of species, also known as a bigfoot, and is an indigenous mammal living within British Columbia” .  If he won, this would be a groundbreaker for serious researchers.

Justice Kenneth Ball delivered his ruling after seventeen days of consideration.  He sided with the government in a ruling reminiscent of a case against big tobacco. Justice Ball said courts should not be a body that decides “alleged scientific facts which are not universally accepted as true”... “The facts pleaded by the plaintiff disclose no infringement of any legal rights. Mr. Standing lost his case.  He had refused to disclose specific locations where Sasquatch had been sighted, claiming it would endanger the species.  It is suspected that this was an attempt to get the court to legitimize the study of the creature, basically claiming they exist.

Sadly, until and unless we can prove that Bigfoot is in some part human, it is still legal to kill one in many places.  According to an official with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for example, Bigfoot isn't listed as an endangered species, so you're free to kill as many as you want.  Agency representative David Sinclair, 

"A nonprotected nongame animal may be hunted on private property with landowner consent by any means, at any time and there is no bag limit or possession limit."

If you do kill one, which no serious researcher recommends, be absolutely certain it does not contain any human DNA.  That's a murder charge.

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