A petition to end hunting contests in Canada has gained more than 60,000 signatures after being posted online four weeks ago.
“These contests are not wildlife management, they are slaughter,” wrote Lavinia Rojas, the B.C. woman behind the petition. “Earnings points and winning cash prizes for killing animals is blatantly cruel.”
Last month, a group called the Wildlife Protection Coalition, made up of 54 conservationists, animal protection organizations and scientists, sent an open letter to the province about multiple contests to kill animals such as wolves, raccoons, coyotes and cougars.
A “wolf-whacking” contest was advertised by the Chilcotin Gun Store in Williams Lake, the Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club was hosting a predator tournament, and the West Kootenay Outdoorsmen were offering members $500 for each wolf killed.
Hunters and farmers alike defended the contests, saying they eliminate animals that kill cattle and other livestock.
According to Rojas, Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson has said the government does not condone the contests, but nothing is stopping the hunters as long as they are licensed and follow the law.
She called that response “unacceptable,” and is seeking a meeting with him.