Language shapes the human narrative, and word choices powerfully influence our worldview. Media outlets and wildlife management teams often misspeak regarding wildlife conflict. It’s time to stop. Truth is being veiled, and responsibility misplaced.
When “euthanasia” is used rather than “kill,” a psychological trick is in play; it makes unpalatable, brutal actions easier to take. Euthanasia is defined as a painless death, an act of compassion. In contrast, trapping a healthy animal and killing it for being itself is not euthanasia. It is killing. Not euthanization, not removal, but killing. Face the truth.
Language that is often used by wildlife managers is inaccurate. For example, bears are referred to as “problem,” or “bad” bears. There are no bad bears. Often, humans don’t follow the basics of coexistence, and that is the true origin of conflict. The longer we continue to misplace the onus on animals, the longer it will take us to coexist.
It’s time humans took radical responsibility for living in bear country. A bear is a bear, they are genetically programmed to seek food. We are not going to change them, we only have ourselves to look at here, we are at once the problem and the solution.