Target: Michael Sutton, President of the California Fish and Game Commission
Goal: Ban environmentally destructive predator killing contests
Every year hunters indiscriminately kill as many animals as possible to compete for cash prizes and trophies in brutal wildlife killing contests. Many important predator species such as coyotes, foxes and bobcats are targeted in these brutal competitions. Predators play an important role in keeping their ecosystems in balance, leading the California Fish and Game Commission to debate a ban on these killing contests.
Proponents of wildlife killing contests claim they are beneficial to the environment, helping control predator populations and protect livestock. However a letter penned by 35 scientists in conjunction with Project Coyote shows such claims have little basis in fact. Predator species actually have a stabilizing effect on ecosystems, helping to control populations of prey animals which reduces overgrazing and the spread of disease.
We don’t need to kill predators to control their populations because many predators use social structures and territory to do so naturally. For example, coyotes stop the lower-ranking members of their packs from breeding. Killing contests disrupt these social structures and prevent predators from effectively controlling their own populations.
While the competitions many seem like an effective way to stop predators from targeting livestock, the fact is that the vast majority of these predators do not hunt domestic animals. Instead of targeting those few individuals who have developed a taste for livestock killing contests indiscriminately kill predators, often far from the time and place livestock were killed making the odds of eliminating the offending predator quite low. In fact there is evidence that disrupting predators’ ecosystems and social structures with these contests actually causes predators to seek out new sources of food like livestock.
Wildlife killing contests don’t help the environment, but they do cause considerable harm. Let the California Fish and Game Commission you strongly support a proposed ban on wildlife killing contests.
Dear Mr. Sutton,
I am writing to support a proposed ban on wildlife killing contests in your great state. Despite proponents’ claims there is no evidence that these killing contests succeed in controlling animal populations or provide any beneficial management function.
On the contrary, these reckless contests disrupt predator-prey dynamics and destabilize ecosystems. Please work with your colleagues at the California Fish and Game Commission to ban these destructive killing contests.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: John Harrison via Wikimedia Commons