by Rob English
Strange as it may seem, there is a space where hunters and animal rights activists agree. A legislative bill arising out of that space has been approved by the New York State Legislature and Senate, and has been forwarded to NY Governor Kathy Hochul to be signed into law. The bill would make wildlife killing contests illegal in the state.
Of course, animal welfarists are against contests where prizes are awarded for killing large numbers of wild animals who only want to survive and mind their own business in their ecological niche. But the bill to make such contests illegal is supported by hunting organizations, farmers, and wildlife management officials as well. Why? Because they find the killing to be excessive, poor sportsmanship, bad for the environment, and hurtful to the reputation of hunters as a class.
Wildlife killing contests are currently held in at least thirty towns and villages across the state, resulting in large numbers of animals killed for bragging rights and cash prizes. Participants describe car cases just thrown into dumpsters. They talk of the killing of pregnant coyotes, and of animals so damaged by ammunition that not even their coats can be harvested for financial gain. In many cases the contesting hunters use devices and methods that are considered poor practice by serious hunters, such as hunting by searchlight or by baiting prospective kill sites. Wildlife managers and farmers explain that the heavy reduction of high-level predators such as coyotes can give rise to a big increase in rodents and crop damaging small animals.
Thanks to everyone involved in bringing the bill so close to being enacted, especially Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Senator Tim Kennedy. It is hoped that Governor Hochul will have signed it by the time this article is published!
P.S. Readers of this column will remember the following proposed solution to the problem of too-tall trucks hitting the too-low bridge in Liverpool:
“How about a red light? Everybody understands a red light. It doesn’t matter how lost you are, or how tired you are, or how confused or distracted or careless you are, you recognize a traffic light when it is red. You stop.”
Well, guess what? Among other recently announced safety measures, there will soon be a red light placed in front of the bridge!
Photo of horsemen with eagles by Julia Volk and photo of two men holding a-rifle by Seun Adeniyi from pexels.com
Rob English is a member of People for Animal Rights, a grassroots organization in Central New York,
Contact People for Animal Rights
PO Box is # 401,
Cleveland, NY 13042