A little news, a couple pictures, and then some letters going back and forth from Bob Johnston and myself.
1 - The last Foleyet General Discussion forum went well but attendance was much lower than anticipated. A division of the Chapleau MNR made their way to Foleyet to give a presentation regarding white moose and to take public comments. I had the intention of filming the session but Chapleau MNR strongly urged me not to film, to the point where I felt that if I did film the meeting they would pack up their bags and leave. When I asked why they were prohibiting me from filming the session so as to have a record of exactly what was said and what comments were made (for my purposes and for the MNR) Mike Bernier of the Chapleau District indicated that he was not made aware of such filming ahead of time and also that the film could be viewed by others at later dates. I recently requested a paper transcript of the evening by Chapleau MNR but have yet to receive one. It was very clear by the end of the evening that the Chapleau MNR had no intention of protecting the white moose. As such, we decided that we would contact the media as much as possible to inform the public of the working (or lack thereof) of their government in an attempt to shine light on the situation.
NOTE: All subsequent meetings with the MNR will be video taped for a running record of what has been said and done.
2 - Several local photographers have recently taken new photographs of the white cow (without her calf?) on the side of the highway. There have been numerous accidents involving motor vehicles and moose in the vicinity of the white moose, but to my knowledge, none of the white moose have been fatally hit by motor vehicles.
3 - A Third Foleyet Discussion forum in Foleyet being planned for the near future. If you're interested in attending and don't receive a flier, contact me for date, time, and location.
1 - Armstrong Strain - White Moose (young bull) photographed by Colleen Johnston on April 23, 2005 in the Foleyet area.
2 - Armstrong Strain - White Moose (two cows) photographed by Larry Robichaud early May, 2004 in the Foleyet area.
3 - Dead Birch Trees in the Foleyet area - These trees were left from forestry activities which occurred approximately 15 years before. I've heard that the remaining birch and poplar trees die as a result of more water in the soil than the roots can handle (due to the removal of surrounding trees) but the more likely explanation is that the trees were killed as a result of an aerial over spray of poisonous herbicides used to kill poplars and birch. Many forestry companies spray herbicides on PUBLIC forests to eliminate poplar and birch after a harvest because these trees compete with pine trees for sunlight. Below is a short essay I wrote regarding the herbicides sprayed on our PUBLICALLY OWNED FORESTS. I'm still looking for some statistics which no one has been willing to supply. Please help me fill in the blanks.
- Imagine a situation where people were forced to eat plants and animals which were sprayed with herbicides. A situation where the government would allow a company to spray chemicals onto people's gardens against their will. Not in Canada would be the typical response. That type of a situation could only happen in some far off 3rd world country. Unfortunately, the typcial response is wrong as its happening every day all across Ontario. The herbicides used in forestry enter the waterways and the plants, and are consumed by the animals and fish. Northern Ontario is well known for its abundance of natural resources, but more recently has become known for its skyrocketing unemployment rates. Because unemployment is so high, and wages so low, many people can't afford to buy commercial meat and vegetables at the grocery store. Others choose to harvest their own meat and vegetables either out of pride, tradition, or lack of confidence in the commercial system of maximizing profits which consists of injecting steroids, antibiotics, or others into their livestock to make the animals bigger and bulkier. The crops are genetically modified and then sprayed with herbicides, once again in the interest of maximizing profits. Recently in our Canadian history, many of us have also become fearful to eat wild game, fish, and flora because of the possible health effects of the herbicides used in local forestry practices.
It has been argued, and will continue to be argued, that herbicides are applied to only a small percentage of the forest annually and so we shouldn't worry about this allegedly necessary evil. Multi-national forestry companies claim that only ____ % of the forest is sprayed with herbicides annually. It is important to fully develop this argument in order for us to fully understand the implications of this argument.
(NOTE: I'm assuming from what I see in my own area that about 1.5 % of the forest is harvested annually, and that most of the area is sprayed with herbicides)
1.5% is seemingly not a dire problem, but if after a doctor's appointment, the doctor indicated to you that you had cancer in 1.5% of your body, would you still feel comfortable that it was a minimal threat because of the low percentage? Taken further, if 1.5% is the annual growth of the cancerous tumors in your body, this would mean that after 20 years, 30% of your body is cancerous. River's and streams can be compared to veins & arteries in the body. These natural corridors carry the cancerous cells to other parts of the body as the streams & rivers carry the poisons to other parts of the province and country. Furthermore, because forestry is aimed at creating a mixed age forest, the herbicides aren't sprayed in one centralized location, but all over the province as the cutting is done.
It may be argued that by posting signage in area's which have been sprayed with herbicides (conveniently ignoring streams and rivers) that humans can avoid them, and thus, human contact with the herbicides can be completely eliminated. However, such signage does not adequately relay the message to wild animals that cannot read, and many of these animals will be consumed by hunters.
Furthermore, once a field is sprayed with herbicides (such as 2,4-D) produce grown from the field can honestly never again be classified as "organic". Do the people of Ontario truly want a forest that can no longer be classified as "organic" because we allowed our multi-national forestry companies to spray them with poisons in the interest of minimizing human labor expenditures? Is it too much to ask for organic blueberries, raspberries, or wild game that has (as has been the case for hundreds of thousands of years) grazed solely on organic feed? Currently, only about _________ % of the land north of the French River can be classified as organic and the percentage decreases annually.
But its all completely safe. Right? There isn't any medical evidence to suggest that it isn't healthy for these animals to ingest the herbicides, or for us to eat the animals that have ingested the herbicides. Right? In reality, there are as many reports to support each side of the argument regarding herbicides (2,4-D and others) and safety. I find it helpful to briefly review some of the facts that science has taught us in recent history when I'm making a determination regarding spraying poisons into public forests.
Nuclear blast areas are safe for people to visit immediately after / cigarettes should be prescribed to pregnant women to help them stay trim during pregnancy / mercury should be used to treat syphilis and to make hats / lead in paint, pipes, dishes, and teeth fillings is great / Asbestos should be lined in the babies room / Viox is a fun little and perfectly safe pill / Morning sickness pills (Thalidomide) in the 60's led to mass birth defects / ETC ...
The bottom line is : (1) if scientists have conflicting views regarding the health and environmental effects of the herbicides we spray, and (2) the possible health and environmental effects of exposure to the herbicide could be grave, and (3) herbicides are not used for any reason other than to save our multi-national forestry companies money, and (4) Northern Ontario has a large pay-roll of unemployed peoples which could be used to manually graze the deciduous plants that compete with the planted jack pine, and (5) other provinces use alternative methods such as manual thinning or grazing animals, (Conclusion) why do we continue to allow the multi-national forestry companies to spray them?
Politicians should note that it is suspected that the herbicides used in forestry lead to long term cancer in family strains and genetic mutations (which is one the reasons why 2,4-D has been banned in several countries already). If this is true, then the government will be paying much more in health care than it is saving by allowing the application of these chemicals. Furthermore, this financial loss will likely be surpassed by significant losses of other income / industry in Ontario like resource based tourism (such as fishing and hunting camps). Ontario's attractiveness as a pristine nature site will be greatly diminished when the province can no longer be classified as organic, and limits are placed on the amount of fish and game which are safe for human consumption, as is the case in the great lakes due to heavy metal poisoning... I would suggest that rather than fighting the multi-national forestry companies, we work with them to develop a system like that of Quebec which compensates forestry companies for additional labor they must invest to follow up forestry operations so that alternatives to herbicides may be used in our PUBLICALLY OWNED forests. A stumpage rate reduction would seem to make sense to accomplish this goal.
Bob Johnston writes to Joel Theriault - April 28, 2005
Joel Theriault formally responds to Bob Johston - June 30, 2005
As always, were in desperate need of more photographs, video, and other information about white moose to strengthen our case. Please contact the press and urge themI'm especially interested to see more pics of white moose from the Foleyet area, especially ones that have been harvested by hunters. If you enjoyed the information and / or pictures, please send them on to your friends.
Thanks again for your help and support,