Brady Hunter Foundation

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has introduced legislation that specifically targets wildlife contests, competitions, tournaments and derbies with no discernible conservation purpose.

The legislation, dubbed S.4099/A.2917, is an amendment to existing environmental conservation laws. Its purpose is to crack down on activities that waste animal life for no true value or purpose.

 

“Protecting wildlife is critical to fostering the integrity and resilience of our environment and our outdoor recreation economy,” the Governor said. “This legislation establishes strong safeguards for our state’s precious wildlife species and protects our important fishing and hunting traditions.”

 

The law does not target traditional outdoor pastimes, such as hunting or fishing, however. Rather, it takes aim at individuals and organizations seeking to profit from events where cash prizes are given for the hunting and killing of local wildlife. Any wildlife killed under the activities of these events immediately becomes the lawful property of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

 

The overarching purpose of this new legislation is to protect animal life, such as coyotes, squirrels, rabbits and crows, which have been targeted by wildlife hunting contests. Under this new legislation, the killing of these animals is deemed unnecessary, and wasteful. However, the law does not extend to hunting contests involving animals such as turkey, bears and white-tailed deer, nor does it target contests involving fishing, as these are already state-regulated.

 

Brian Shapiro, the New York Director for the Humane Society of the United States, said, “New York is now the tenth state to end wasteful cash-for-wildlife competitions. We thank and appreciate Governor Hochul for upholding sound policies that protect and celebrate our state’s precious wildlife resources.”

 

Similarly, ASPA State Legislation Director Bill Ketzer said, “These indiscriminate killing sprees do nothing to manage wildlife populations. In fact, this brutal activity can create significant ecological problems, while promoting an egregious and unjust attitude toward our wildlife, which must be managed for the benefit of all New York residents and taxpayers. We thank Governor Hochul, Senator Kennedy and Assemblymember Glick for providing this thoughtful and balanced approach to wildlife protection.”

 

The new legislation comes hot on the heels of multiple undercover investigations by the Humane Society of the United States, which discovered the practice of wildlife killing contests ending with piles of dead foxes and coyotes, which were in turn counted and weighed in exchange for prize money.

 

Johanna Hamburger, director and senior attorney for the Animal Welfare Institute, reported, “To maximize their chances of winning cash and prizes, contest participants often use bait and electronic calling devices to attract animals with sounds that mimic prey or distress calls of wounded young, which is unethical.”

 

With no discernible purpose other than to maximize profiteering while partaking in wanton, senseless bloodlust, this new law will further set a growing precedent against the practice of animal killing contests. We here at the Brady Hunter Foundation are thrilled to hear of the legislation being signed into law, so that more of our local wildlife can live naturally, without the encroachment of opportunistic individuals seeking to cash in at their expense.

 

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