It’s time to end wildlife killing contests in Pennsylvania

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Every year, over 1,000 of Pennsylvania’s coyotes and foxes are killed in gruesome competitions for money and prizes. Participants compete to kill the most, the largest, or even the smallest animals. After the killing is over, the participants gather to weigh and count the corpses, take photos next to the bloodied carcasses, and celebrate.

Pennsylvania is a state known for its strong outdoor traditions and majestic wildlife and wilderness. So it’s incredibly troubling that wildlife-killing competitions continue to take place in our state. At least 34 competitions will take place this January and February alone.

Prominent scientists and wildlife management professionals have condemned the events as ineffective and counterproductive.

And USDA studies show that the indiscriminate killing of coyotes — the animals most commonly targeted — increases, not decreases, their numbers and creates conflict with livestock where none existed. The Pennsylvania Game Commission itself has admitted that killing contests are not designed to control populations.

Wildlife killing contests raise significant ethical concerns as they glamorize killing sprees to win prizes. There is an inherent lack of respect for our wildlife in the way the animals are hunted, often with the help of calls, traps or dogs, and then thrown back.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission should join eight other states in banning this barbaric, wasteful activity. Banning these competitions is sensible and humane and would not reduce opportunities to hunt coyotes or hamper a farmer’s ability to use lethal controls to protect livestock.

It would simply end the needless killing of wild animals for personal gain. Please consider contacting the PA Game Commission to express your opposition to wildlife killing contests.

Adele Rizzuto lives in Yardley.

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