Breaking news: Washington becomes seventh U.S. state to outlaw wildlife killing contests

By on September 11, 2020 with 36 Comments

Washington has just outlawed wildlife killing contests—the seventh state to do so in the past six years. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 7-2 this morning to pass a rule ending these gruesome spectacles where participants kill large numbers of wild animals simply for the thrill and for cash and prizes.

The new rule prohibits contests for animals like coyotes, bobcats, crows, foxes and raccoons. That is significant as these animals typically have few protections under state laws and are the most common victims at such contests, where winners are decided based on who kills the most, or the heaviest, or even the smallest animals. In Washington, for instance, contestants killed at least 1,427 coyotes between 2013 and 2018 during events that offered prizes for killing the “smallest dog,” and awards for participants who “Can’t Shoot ‘Fer S**t.”

The ban in Washington is the latest in a string of victories against wildlife contests nationwide in recent years and it shows that both concerned citizens and wildlife management officials no longer have the stomach for these vile events. The Humane Society of the United States has been on the frontlines of this fight, turning a red-hot spotlight on the problem with undercover investigations of wildlife contests in the states of Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. Working with other organizations, wildlife advocates and our dedicated volunteers, we have helped ban such contests in Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Vermont.

Supporters try to rationalize the blood sport by claiming that by randomly killing coyotes they are protecting livestock or saving deer for hunters. But that argument is based on falsehoods. Far more cattle and sheep deaths are caused by weather, birthing problems and disease, and deer abundance is determined by the availability of good habitat. Scientists and state wildlife agencies have also stated time and again that wildlife killing contests provide no credible wildlife management service and can make problems worse by disrupting stable breeding structures, increasing conflicts and leading to an increase in the numbers of the animals who are targeted at the events.

What these contests do, however, is promote the sadistic notion that it’s fun to kill animals for a chance at prizes like cash, a champion belt buckle or an AR-15 gun. During one of our investigations in New York State earlier this year, a contestant bragged to our investigators about killing and cutting open a pregnant coyote. At a Maryland contest, also this year, children seemingly inured to the violence played among piles of dead foxes and even helped drag them to the judging area. Organizers have at times encouraged children as young as five years old to participate in the killing.

While thousands of such contests are still held around the United States, we now see a clear and positive trend among states to end them. Kudos to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for proposing the rule that passed today, and Commissioner Barbara Baker for supporting it and seeing it through to victory. The HSUS backed the rule all the way along with our allies, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Northwest, Project Coyote and Wolf Haven International. Our focus will next move to other states that are considering similar measures, including New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland and Oregon. Rest assured we will be on the job until these gruesome wildlife killing contests are a thing of the past.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Ya no se puede permitir este tipo de violencia y barbaridad en contra de los animalitos y la vida silvestre esto tiene que acabar en todo el mundo

  2. Carol Meiners says:

    Please stop these horrible contests. Why can’t people enjoy wildlife in all its beauty? Let these animals live for future generations to enjoy.

    • Marlene says:

      I totally agree with you Carol.
      Why such senseless, cruel and taking away life like it’s nothing.
      Destroying innocent animal families! A huge disgrace!!

  3. Sandy says:

    Awesome, at last, a plus for our animal friends

  4. Aicila remmurd says:

    Thank you!!!!

  5. David macpherson says:

    Why can’t we just let animals just live

  6. Paula Sibert says:

    Indiana should outlaw wildlife killing contests.

  7. Betty Roberts says:

    Please do not allow this disputable disgusting barbaric atrocity against our wildlife!!!! Stop this Senseless trash!!!!

  8. Dorte says:

    About time, so sad evil and inhuman

  9. Robin Stekar says:

    It is scary to think of all those people who kill for sport. It is a very thin line between sport killing animals and people. That might be a bit of a stretch, but maybe not. It is senseless and cruel.

    • Debra Cassel says:

      I agree. Anyone who can intentionally and with pleasure cause such pain, terror and death to an animal cannot have a conscience.

  10. Joan M Baseman says:

    Why would anyone have a contest to see how many wildlife creatures one can kill.
    I don’t understand why we are suppose to be be superior in intellect and act so stupid. Everyone should be able to enjoy the beauty of nature and not want to destroy it. These contest should be band in every state.

  11. Connie says:

    Anyone who participates in these killing contests are monsters–who could look at those beautiful creatures murdered for a Thrill”. Those killers are pitiful excuses for human beings–decent people do not kill living creatures that love their lives as we love ours. Thank goodness that the law has finally realized that it is not acceptable, it is inhumane, cruel, without caus
    e and heartbreaking to people who value life.

  12. Wanda Ross says:

    The practice of killing wild animals must stop. All life should be given a right to live.

  13. Ann Hocking says:

    Good for Washington. No state should have wildlife killing contests. Why do people have to kill animals for fun? It’s cruel and not necessary. I hope more states will follow Washington’s decision.

  14. Ilona Baker says:

    Please stop this cruel nonsense destroying this world wildlife.
    This is sick and inhuman to killing animals for fun.

  15. ToddFletcher says:

    This is so wrong on so many levels!

  16. Gabriella says:

    STOP this horrible contest!It’s heartbreaking to see all this animals killed for a competition!
    What do we have to do to make it stop?!
    Is there a petition to sign?
    This is so sad ..

  17. Sandra says:

    Animals can not suffer anymore, human eating them, killing them for fun, use their skin for our use, now they are dying with in the fires, lock of habitat, captured to be in a zoo… the list goes on and on and on. I wish I had the money the power to do something and have everyone who harm animals go to jail for a loooong time. 😤

  18. Lisa says:

    These sick and evil contests should be banned in every state in our country and throughout the world!!!! Enjoy the beauty of such wonderful animals that God has given us.
    In my opinion no animal should ever be killed unless your going to eat it for food, otherwise NO KILLING FOR FUN!!!!!

  19. Barbara says:

    Does that include fishing derbys?

  20. Alice Ray says:

    Thank you Washington Fish & Game for the proposing the rule that passed. I hope & pray other stats will follow to end this horrible cruelity.

  21. Georgina Asencio says:

    Qué requiere la gente, de qué manera entenderá qué Lastimar, Maltratar ASESINAR por Deporte, Diversión, a los Animales y su Hábitat nos traerá represalias impensables.
    Dejemos a la Naturaleza y a los Animales VIVIR en Paz.

  22. Patty Ramirez says:

    Stop killing animals

  23. M.W. says:

    Let’s hope it becomes a trend. We need these killings to stop. They too are a part of the eco system. As well as those of us who love to watch them and get inner peace from their beauty.

  24. Alexus Waris says:

    you are killing them. stop. i know they are wolves or foxes. but give them a second chance. i know sometimes they hurt people. but if your mom gave you a second chance give them one too. please. stop hurting them. stop. please. i will march i will do a protest online when i get home. but please stop killing animals and give them a second chance. please. please. stop. stop. stop stop or i will call the cops. stop stop or i will call the cops. i don’t really mean it but you get it.

  25. Pamela Mcquillen says:

    Thank God someone has come to their senses. I am praying more states follow in the their foot prints and this is stopped in all the states.

  26. John shaw says:

    Thank you for stopping this barbaric attrocities against wildlife

  27. Kimberly says:

    These animals belong to all of us. It is not anyone’s right to murder them!! Please stop this madness.

  28. Elsa Mendez says:

    We need protect the wildlife not killing is to cruelty and it is torture.

  29. Michael Bertrams says:

    Abhorrent! How does anyone enjoy this!

  30. Tammy Lou Solomon says:

    What kind of nation are we becoming allowing this to happen anywhere. It’s no wondered the endangered species are becoming endangered even more. What Happen to just killing animals for food. This makes me SICK!

  31. E Vogt says:

    This legislation is long overdue. Thank you to all of the states that have now legally put a stop to the senseless killing. Shame on those who voted against it. We still have many states to go but we are on our way!! A big thanks to HSUS and all of the people who are making this possible.

  32. Tracy Fitterer says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous! Please put a stop to it they have as much right to live as you do!

  33. Leslie Parker says:

    So cruel. Where is the god of wild animals?
    And we are the apex predator. Humans. Using our advantage to mercilessly mete out pain and suffering to the beautiful.

  34. EMMY says:

    GREAT NEWS — YAY — may actions like this reverberate throughout the world.

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