Burden of Proof and Risk

Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX Norbert.Kondla at gems3.gov.bc.ca
Fri Oct 13 15:41:33 EDT 2000

Two very interesting parts of the butterfly release debate.  The burden of
proof is either dictated by law, ie. a proponent of a regulated activity
must prove to the statutory decision maker that their proposed activity is
compliant with the letter and intent of the legislation or it is dictated by
one person wanting to 'prove' a point to another person.  Key thing to
remember in the latter case is that the door swings both ways; people who
want to raise unproven dangers have as much 'burden of proof' as the flip
side of the coin.  The expectation of 'no risk' is simply unrealistic.
There is risk attached to every human decision and action.  The social
choice that needs to be made, and is routinely made, is how much risk and to
who/what.  Seems pretty bizarre to me that people flit to and fro across
this planet without much ado beyond some common sense precautions for
disease transmisson and yet we have a tempest in a teapot about some
butterflies flitting to and fro on one continent within their normal range
Norbert Kondla  P.Biol., RPBio.
Forest Ecosystem Specialist, Ministry of Environment
845 Columbia Avenue, Castlegar, British Columbia V1N 1H3
Phone 250-365-8610
Mailto:Norbert.Kondla at gems3.gov.bc.ca       

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