Target: Patrick Cripps, Principal of DeKalb County High School; Mark Willoughby, Director of Schools
Goal: Urge school officials to cancel a fundraiser that involves spearing and killing frogs.
An upcoming “Giggin’ for Grads” fundraiser in DeKalb County, Tennessee may help a high school senior defray college costs, but it also means the cruel killing of wild frogs. Raising money for college and protecting wild animals are by no means mutually exclusive concepts. Sign the petition and urge DeKalb County to come up with a more humane fundraising idea.
No one will deny that college is expensive these days and that scholarship opportunities are not quite as plentiful as one would hope. The DeKalb County Young Farmers and Ranchers’ upcoming “Giggin’ for Grads” fundraiser aims to provide a high school senior with a scholarship based on the proceeds from the event. All the participants have to do is impale and kill fifteen frogs each over the course of one night. The heaviest bag of dead frogs wins a percentage of the money raised from the event.
There are a number of problems with this scheme. First and foremost is the nature of the competition itself, which is based on the widespread hunting of wild animals. (Gigging, while legal, is subject to hunting and fishing regulations in most states.) The method of hunting—using a sharp, pronged stick called a gig—is also unnecessarily cruel. In the rush of the contest, it is unlikely that any speared frogs will be put out of their misery; instead, they will slowly die of their wounds. A large group of people hunting frogs will also disrupt other area wildlife and have the potential to damage natural habitats as contest participants blunder around in the dark. The current fundraiser also poses a large risk to participants, who are essentially all running around in the dark with sharp sticks, and risks alienating potential donors who feel uncomfortable with the frog-killing aspect of the fundraiser.
Bright, young, college-bound students should be discouraged from acts of cruelty, not taught to benefit from them. Sign the petition and urge DeKalb County to come up with a positive, cruelty-free way of supporting its graduating students.
Dear Mr. Cripps and Mr. Willoughby,
College is a daunting financial burden for many students, and the DeKalb County Young Farmers and Ranchers’ desire to offer aid to students is admirable. What is not at all acceptable, however, is the method of raising the money. The proposed “Giggin’ for Grads” fundraiser propagates completely unnecessary acts of animal cruelty, poses a safety risk to participants, and risks alienating potential supporters.
Gigging is an unnecessarily inhumane method of hunting frogs. Once speared, the frogs suffer slow, agonizing deaths. (It is unlikely, in the heat and rush of competition, that any frogs will be “put out of their misery” once they have been caught, as participants will be trying to find enough large frogs within the contest’s given time limit.) The fundraiser should celebrate the accomplishments of DeKalb County seniors, not the wholesale torture and killing of small wildlife.
Furthermore, the nature of gigging does not foster the safest competitive environment; contest participants are essentially blundering around in dark, marshy areas while carrying sharp weapons—and they are surrounded by other people doing the same. The potential for accidents is enormous, and the nature of the competition creates an unnecessary safety liability for contest organizers.
Finally, it is entirely possible that the contest will alienate donors who would love to support DeKalb County students but have a problem with the event itself. Given these points, I urge you to reject the “Giggin’ for Grads” fundraiser and replace it with one that focuses the attention where it belongs: on the students and their own accomplishments, rather than on animal cruelty.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alan D. Wils via Wikimedia Commons