Animal advocacy and conservation organizations are calling on officials in Oregon to shut down an upcoming coyote-killing contest that's scheduled to begin at the end of November, but they're also going further by asking lawmakers to pass legislation that will make this type of event illegal in the state.
These contests, which are also known as drives, derbies, and tournaments, reward people of all ages with cash prizes and weapons, among other things, for killing the biggest and most animals.
While native predators, including coyotes, foxes, cougars and bobcats, are popular targets, many other wild animals continue to become victims of these massacres, which also put threatened and endangered species at risk.
Past events in Oregon have caused outrage, and brought much-needed attention to the fact that they're taking place in the state, while a recent undercover investigation released by The Humane Society of the United States has offered a glimpse into the little-seen, and very disturbing, culture that surrounds these contests. They've also highlighted the dangerous and indifferent attitudes these contests 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.
While some continue to defend these events as a perfectly reasonable means to deal with 'pests' and control predators, they are ethically and scientifically unjustifiable, ignore the valuable role apex predators play in healthy ecosystems and only lead to more problems when it comes to conflicts between us and wildlife.
It's abundantly clear that these events are not about wildlife management or even hunting, but about glorifying the senseless killing of wild animals for amusement and personal gain and they should no longer be tolerated anywhere.
California and Vermont have already taken the lead by banning these events, and it's time for Oregon to do the same.
Please sign and share this petition urging lawmakers in the state to ban these contests and instead promote coexistence between us and the native predators we share the landscape with.