You can help stop one of the cruelest threats facing wildlife

By Kitty Block

By on April 14, 2023 with 7 Comments

In the past few weeks, I’ve detailed our recent undercover investigations into gruesome wildlife killing contests in Illinois and Nevada. Nothing about these investigations is easy to see or hear. But I want to explain why we are so committed to exposing these events to the public and to lawmakers.

Many people don’t even realize that such events take place in their state. These investigations are crucial to expose and eventually end this blood sport.

Following the release of our investigations, thousands of Illinoisans and Nevadans contacted their state policymakers asking that they stop the cruel spectacles. It’s clear that most people do not support the killing of animals for cash and prizes. A January 2022 poll by Remington Research Group found that 80% of American voters oppose killing contests, while a poll by the same firm in April 2022 showed that 73% of Illinois voters support banning the events. The issue has garnered attention in major media outlets including a recent story by National Geographic.

Killing contests are a widespread scourge, taking place in nearly all the 42 states that still allow them. Our research uncovered at least 730 contests nationwide in 2022, which led to the deaths of an estimated 36,500 to 110,000 animals.

A 2023 undercover investigation revealed large numbers of native coyotes killed for cash prizes at a Nevada wildlife killing contest. Bodies were piled, dragged and hung at the weigh-in. The HSUS

We are working state by state to prohibit killing contests, just as advocates did with cockfighting and dogfighting, both of which are now illegal in all 50 states. We’re backing legislation in Nevada, New Jersey and New York, and encouraging the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Board to introduce regulations. And last December, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission directed the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife to begin the rulemaking process for a ban on killing contests. Eight states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington—have outlawed killing contests since 2014.

Creating change is challenging. Participants frequently perpetuate myths to justify their hobby, such as falsely claiming that killing contests reduce coyote numbers, prevent conflicts with livestock and boost populations of game species like deer and turkey for hunters. These claims can gain traction with influential policymakers, even though the best available wildlife management science clearly refutes them. We’re also up against state wildlife management agencies that historically cater to the interests of consumptive users of wildlife, including killing contest participants.

In Virginia, the Department of Wildlife Resources introduced a rule in 2021 to prohibit killing contests, explaining that they were doing so based on science and to protect the reputation of the hunting community. During the public comment period, 77% of Virginians expressed support for the proposed rule. Yet just a few months later, the department’s board voted to table the rule, and the department bowed to pressure from contest organizers and participants. Since then, thousands of Virginia residents have contacted the agency asking it to resume the rulemaking process to end killing contests but have been met with silence. In Illinois, in December 2022 we petitioned the Department of Natural Resources to prohibit contests, and thousands of residents contacted the agency in support. But ignoring science, ethics and the will of the people, the Illinois department simply punted the issue to the legislature.

State wildlife management agencies disregard this issue at their own peril. Even many hunters and wildlife management professionals have spoken out against wildlife killing contests, calling them unethical, unsporting, unscientific and a threat to responsible hunters. By ignoring pleas to end these contests, wildlife management agencies risk jeopardizing the legitimacy of their agencies. We will continue to hold them accountable until this bloodshed ends. You can help.

Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.

Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Karin Erker says:

    Stop das grauenhafte töten von Wildtieren … sie haben ein Recht auf artgerechtes leben in der Natur …der Mensch hat kein Recht, die Tiere einfach aus Sport oder für den Profit abzuknallen. Diese brutalen mörder muss man stoppen … es muss verboten werden … Wertschätzung und ein Herz für ein Lebewesen …

  2. Tasha Drake says:

    Stupidity runs while around people that just hate animals for no good reason, but they don’t realize that this are majestic creatures that belong to God and if you’re messing with his property, he will pay for this!!! when it comes time that your child is sick or your husband or wife is sick. Don’t ask for help from God because there will be no help and all your family and generations to come will be wiped out by God watch what I’m saying.!!! I pray for the people that are trying to protect animal creatures that belong to God I asked that they rejuvenate, restore and refresh. I asked if the money comes from the north south east and west and overflow I asked a prominent people like judges lawyers doctors come out and full support for this program. Enough is enough. If we don’t stop at now we won’t have any, any animals left for our great grandchildren to see the beauty of the Earth part of it is because of all the animal creatures on the landing in the sea, so please everyone with your right hand, you have power sign all the petitioners go to Congress go everywhere you need to go stand in city councils in different states and stop the madness !!!!! Lord, I ask that you give us more knowledge and wisdom on how to stop this insanity of evil, and it is evil enough is enough !!!what the world be without any animals it would lose part of its beauty!!!!!!!! in Jesus name, I pray it is done 🙏 Amen

  3. Ali says:

    Stop these outrageous killing contests! Save these precious animals!

  4. Nancy Peterson says:

    Please stop these senseless killing contests.

  5. Heidi Watson says:

    Stop killing for fun. Horrible!

  6. Susan Farrell says:

    These killing contests are appalling and senseless and i’m sorry to say my state of PA holds them along with 41 other states. I’ve heard that when kids start killing birds and small animals just for fun, the next step as an adult is to start killing people and look at all the killings taking place by both kids and adults. We need more beautiful, precious wildlife and a lot fewer people, especially the killing kind!!

  7. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Este tipo de actos tan inhumanes y coles tienen que terminar ya no lo podemos permitir no es posible que solo por diversión y por beneficios económicos más animalitos sigan sufriendo y viviendo este tipo de atrocidades

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