Target: U.S. Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Goal: Nationally ban wildlife killing contests on public land.
Wildlife killing contests that demonize native wildlife species, dissuade respect for natural habitats, and encourage animal violence and cruelty are rapidly increasing in size and commonality. These contests are scientifically illogical, ethically unacceptable, and just downright dangerous. There is no reason that these barbaric events should be permitted anywhere, especially on public American land. In the wake of Cecil the lion’s tragic death, it is time to take a serious look at our country’s treatment of wild animals and the life we share our environment with.
No matter what argument that killing contest enthusiasts may give, there is no such thing as the harmless death of wildlife. Wolves keep elk and deer populations in balance and allow streamside vegetation to recover, which create habitats for songbirds and beavers along with shade for fish. Coyotes also serve a similar ecological function on rodent population and environmental integrity, but coyotes quickly rebound when they are killed indiscriminately.
This means that killing contests actually undermine their sponsors’ alleged goal of reducing coyote populations. There is no reason this senseless violence should continue, and it’s time to end these contests on public tax-payer land.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Many people are currently in the midst of mourning and outrage over the meaningless death of Cecil the lion. This senseless violence and death continues still on public American land because of the presence and increase in wildlife killing contests. Slaughter contests have absolutely no redeeming benefits and are only good for encouraging violence against wild animals and discouraging respect of our environments and natural habitats.
As the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, it is your responsibility to ensure the ethical treatment of our wildlife and the integrity of our ecosystems. By allowing wildlife killing competitions on public land, this responsibility is not being fulfilled. Science has shown the crucial ecological benefits that wolves provide throughout the entire food chain, and killing prairie dogs negatively impacts hundreds of different animal species.
Contest sponsors have claimed to be reducing coyote populations, but in fact they are very quick to rebound from indiscriminate slaughter. Indiscriminate wolf slaughter, however, actually increases the likelihood of livestock depredations. Please end this meaningless violence and cruelty by banning wildlife slaughter events on public tax-payer land.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Leonardo Weiss