Countless animals continue to become targets for wildlife killing contests, but now lawmakers in New York have set their sights on contests themselves in an effort to make these cruel events a thing of the past.
These contests, which are also known as drives or derbies reward people of all ages with cash prizes and weapons, among other things, for killing the biggest and most animals.
Now, an undercover investigation conducted earlier this year, which was just released by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has offered a glimpse into these contests at locations in New York and New Jersey and exposed the dangerous, and indifferent attitudes they promote towards wildlife – which is especially troubling when it comes to what they teach children about our relationship with the species we share this earth with.
According to the HSUS, at the New York event, an investigator was present when approximately 200 animals were brought in and piled up to be counted, weighed and displayed in front of spectators, including young children.
“Wildlife killing contests are cruel, pointless and counter to the principles of fair-chase hunting and science-based wildlife management,” said Brian Shapiro, New York state director for the HSUS. “The grisly images and the callous attitudes of the participants in the video underscore that there is no longer any place for these wildlife killing contests in modern society. Along with other wildlife protection and conservation groups, we are determined to end these gruesome spectacles in the U.S.”
While these contests most often go after native predators, including coyotes, foxes, wolves and bobcats, many other species continue to be targeted. Past events in New York targeting crows and squirrels have sparked outrage, and brought much-needed attention to these ethically and scientifically unjustifiable events.
While these competitions are often held under the guise of wildlife management, or predator control, wildlife advocates and scientists argue that they’re not only cruel but counter to the goal of reducing conflicts with “nuisance” animals and that the indiscriminate killing of predators also ignores the valuable role they play in maintaining healthy ecosystems. It’s more than clear that these events are not about wildlife management or even hunting, but about glorifying the senseless killing of animals for fun and personal gain.
Fortunately, progress towards ending these types of events is being made as they continue to get more public attention.
Now, lawmakers in New York are considering legislation that would ban them for good. A bill recently introduced by Assembly member Deborah Glick would make it illegal to sponsor or participate in wildlife killing contests, and it comes with fines and potential jail time for violators.
“There is no place for inhumane and cruel wildlife killing contests in a civilized society. These activities are portrayed by some as entertainment, but they engender a heartless disrespect for humans’ relationship with nature and are disruptive to the ecosystem. I thank the Humane Society of the United States for continuing to expose these killing contests as the cruel blood sport that they truly are. We must take meaningful action to end this senseless killing in New York and pass A.4116a/S.5148a immediately,” said Assembly member Glick.
Hopefully this investigation will help increase awareness about these events taking place in New York and encourage people to support ending them once and for all.
You can help by signing and sharing the petition urging lawmakers to ban wildlife killing contests in New York.
For more on efforts to protect native carnivores, and other wildlife from events like this, check out the HSUS’ guide to ending wildlife killing contests.
This article was first published by Care2.com on 07 May 2018.
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