Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1996-05-15 "Bear hunt granted by Make-A-Wish Foundation USA"

May 15, 1996, Wed.
The Vancouver Sun
by Brian Morton

Bear hunt granted by Make-A-Wish Foundation USA

Canada’s Make-A-Wish Foundation says there is no way it would try to fulfill a US teen’s dream of shooting a bear in the Alaska wilderness.

The local chapter has been swamped with called protesting against a 17-year-old Minnesota boy’s being granted a wish by Make-A-Wish America to hunt a Kodiak bear.

“Our policy has been not to grant wishes that include homes, motorized vehicles or hunting trips,” said Susan Phillips, president of the foundation’s BC branch. “As such, this wish would not have been granted by our chapter.”

Robb Lucy, of Make-A-Wish Canada, agrees, “We will be recommending to all our chapters they adopt a similar policy.”

The teen was granted this wish despite protests from animal rights activists and concerns that the non-profit, international foundation - which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases - could lose a lot of support.

“People have called to say they oppose the wish and would withdraw any financial support they’ve given us,” Canadian administrator Catherine Palmer said in Vancouver.

“And that’s one of our concerns. But our money doesn’t leave Canada.”

But Make-A-Wish America decided this week to proceed with granting the $4,000 hunting trip despite the controversy.

“We may suffer some retribution from those in the animal rights community, but we feel we have a commitment to this child and are going to stick by it,” director Douglas Elmets said.

Jana Thomas, of Bear Watch, an organization devoted to protecting bears in BC, said a volunteer has been putting up posters around Vancouver urging people to oppose the Make-A-Wish hunt. . . .

She said Make-A-Wish BC shouldn’t suffer because of what the US chapter is doing. “We support their efforts to help seriously ill children. I know the BC chapter hasn’t done anything wrong and we applaud them for speaking out.”

Anthony Marr, who is leading a Western Canada Wilderness Committee campaign against bear hunting, said that whereas Make-A-Wish Canada is innocent of this act, it is nonetheless associated with Make-A-Wish America and should try to persuade international chapters to decline hunting requests.

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