As I’ve said before here I usually do not broach what are controversial topics here at the Jungle Gym. The reason for this isn’t that I’m wishy-washy, but that I want this to be a place where my readers can come for a break from the world around them, which is already overfull of controversy.
However, this is one time I need to step up once again.
I receive regular e-mails from a group who champion a variety of causes involving wildlife and conservation. They seek for monetary support occasionally, but usually are simply looking for signatures for petitions on issues regarding everything from the habitat of beluga whales to the poisoning od lions in Africa.
As a matter of full disclosure, I sign pretty much every single one.
The issues they bring up are usually heartbreaking to me as an animal lover, and are often infuriating. But the one that came across my mail today has me seeing red on a whole new level.
The issue is what are termed “Predator Derbies” which are sponsored by an organization called Sportsmen for Wildlife. When I read the information the e-mail provided me, I was sick to my stomach, but I decided to check it out myself. What I found is, quite frankly, disgusting.
The organizations apparently holds three of these derbies annually. They are two day events during which hunters go out into the wilds to kill as many predators as they can. This is, for me, sick enough, but I know that some hunters may see this as simply a hunting season.
It’s not that simple.
I tracked down the website for the 2009 Idaho Predator Derby and perused it to be sure that I was not just going off the deep end. It was when I looked at the “Rules & Regulations” that I was realized what I hoped was mere exaggeration was in fact true. I think the first two rules of this contest say it all:
1. All legally harvested coyotes are worth two (2) points; fox and bobcat
are (2) points each. Wolves are worth (3) points. (see rule #7)
2. Team with most points wins. Heaviest weight will break all ties.
Now, I know that some of my readers are hunters, but this is beyond the pale no matter what you’re opinion on hunting. This is flat out turning killing into a game. When we start placing point values on life, no matter what sort of life, we are taking a very dangerous step. The fact that this is happening, that someone actually dreamed this up is incredible to me.
The fact that they have major corporate sponsorship just makes it worse.
Two of the larger outdoors retailers, Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse are corporate sponsors of these events. I, for one, have decided that my dollars will no longer be going to either of these companies unless they change this policy. I urge anyone who agrees with me on this matter to do the same.
I would also ask anyone who would also like to see a stop put to these types of events sign the online petition that is being directed to these two companies in an effort to get them to change their sponsorship standards. The petition can be found by clicking here. And, please, get the word out to anyone else who cares about wildlife.
As always, I welcome any and all comments, regardless of whether they agree with me or not. So if you think I’m wrong, please, explain to me where my thinking has gone astray.