The Holley Fire Department in upstate New York is currently getting ready to slaughter red and gray squirrels at its seventh annual “Hazard County Squirrel Slam” on Saturday, February 16, which will be open to both adults and children.
The contest is being sponsored by the fire department to raise funds and, according to the fire chief, to “control the squirrel population.” However, no one seems to have any evidence that there actually is a problem with overpopulation in the area.
The contest has drawn criticism from several animal advocacy organizations. They have now been joined by New York Senator Tony Avella, who will be holding a press conference along with Friends of Animals (FoA) “to immediately cancel the event,” reports the Epoch Times.
Thousands of others have written letters, circulated petitions and made calls asking the mayor and the fire department to call off the contest.
“Squirrels are not shooting targets, and the NRA’s brainwashing scheme to indoctrinate children to seize guns—and then to create a spectacle of dead animals for prize money and firearms is a disastrous, convoluted idea,” said Priscilla Feral, president of FoA.
Those who kill the most squirrels will be eligible for big cash prizes, first place winners will get $200, with a special youth category being introduced this year and a $50 prize for whoever kills the biggest squirrel. In addition to cash prizes, the fire department will also be holding a drawing to give away a number of firearms, including an AR/22 semiautomatic rifle – a version of the assault weapon recovered from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“There is no telling how many squirrels will be killed at this event but is certain that many of these little animals will be wounded, some of them left to crawl away to suffer and die slowly. Females will likely be pregnant, and some may well have recently given birth, only to be killed and leave their young alone to starve to death,” according to In Defense of Animals.
FoA is planning a protest at the Holley Fire Department from 3-6 pm on the day of the contest and will be joined by others from local groups including Animal Advocates of Western New York and Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate New York.
“On February 16, Holley will be filled with animal advocates who believe that violent, regressive events like the ‘Squirrel Slam’ need to bite the dust,” said Edita Birnkrant, FoA’s New York Director. “There are plenty of creative, entertaining ways to raise monies that don’t involve prompting children to kill animals with guns.”
Please sign the petition asking the Holley Fire Department and the Mayor of Holley to cancel this horrific event.
Photo credit: Thinkstock