Lawsuit Could Shut Down Another Cruel Coyote Killing Contest
For the “Wyoming Best of the Best” contest, teams of hunters of all ages — including children — will be headed out to kill as many coyotes as they possibly can. People who don’t participate can also place bets on which team they think will have the highest death toll.
Come out and play at Rock Springs, this is the last one of the season, Get qualified for the Championship. #HACKLEHUNTER
In an effort to shut down this contest, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has filed a complaint on behalf of a resident. The organization argues that the hunt constitutes a nuisance in the form of illegal gambling.
According to the ALDF, this contest will include :
betting opportunities for most coyotes killed, biggest coyote killed, littlest coyote killed, a rifle raffle, and a Calcutta―a form of betting pool where participants pick winners, and the pool of funds is distributed according to a prearranged scale of percentages, to those who selected winners. Hunting participants wager $50 per person for the chance to win cash prizes and advance to the state championship for killing the most coyotes. Teams may also wager an extra $20 per team to enter the “Big Dog/Little Dog” contests, for the chance to win extra cash prizes for killing the biggest and/or littlest coyote.
While many animal advocates find this type of contest to be ethically and morally reprehensible, it’s the gambling that may take down this particular event. According to the ALDF, illegal gambling is a violation of the state nuisance statute, which is designed to prevent activities that put the moral integrity and safety of the community at risk.
Even though these competitions — also known as drives and derbies — are often held under the guise of wildlife management or predator control, wildlife conservationists and scientists continue to argue that they’re not only cruel but also counter to conflict reduction with “nuisance” animals. Furthermore, the indiscriminate killing of predators ignores the valuable role they play in maintaining a healthy environment.
In this case, the plaintiff has raised concerns about the impact that this unregulated and uncontrolled killing spree will have on the local ecosystem.
The bottom line is that it’s become blatantly obvious that these contests are not about wildlife management — or even hunting. Instead, they glorify and celebrate the senseless killing of wild animals for amusement and personal gain.
“Killing contests are simply blood sports,” stated ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “They are completely inconsistent with appropriate conservation goals or effective wildlife management. Coyotes are essential members of healthy ecosystems, not targets to be killed for ‘fun.’”
To support legal efforts to end these contests, check out the Animal Legal Defense Fund. For more information on why we should coexist with and protect our native predators, instead of persecuting them, check out organizations like Project Coyote and Predator Defense.
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