Thrill killing?

To the Journal editor:

Have you heard about predator reduction contests? In these events, sportsmen are ridding forests of as many red foxes, bobcats, and coyotes as possible, using sophisticated weapons and high-tech predator calls and lures.

This has been going on for some years now. Bolstered by the Internet and social media, their popularity is spreading …

If interested, investigate the U.P. Predator Challenge (Thursday through today) and similar contests. For certain, they could not happen without participants and sponsors.

Some of the latter, I found surprising. In a tough economy, there are real needs in our communities. Certain businesses have found mass killings of wild animals worth supporting, by dipping into their inventories and funds.

I believe it is one thing to remove a single “problem” animal, and another to decimate populations. Through “thrill-killing” events, valuable animals are being pushed toward extinction, and the ecosystem is damaged. I have read that:

The red fox feeds on small rodents, animals that host the Lyme disease-carrying-tick.

The coyote plays a vital role in keeping rodent and other wildlife numbers in balance, preventing the spread of chronic wasting and other diseases.

The bobcat’s diet is largely made up of snowshoe hares, mice, shrews, voles, squirrels, muskrats, beavers, woodchucks, opossums, porcupines, etc.

When predatory animals are removed through human exploitation and massive kill offs, the environment is damaged.

What are we teaching children in this process? Not about science or respect for wild animals. The message seems to be: Go out and kill a lot of wild animals. It’s fun and you might win a prize.

Our world needs balance and humans are destroying it. All animals have a place and important role on earth.