By Scott Smith
Squirrels have many natural predators. Children are not among them.
That basic truth was once again made clear when a Friends of Animals supporter in Ohio alerted us to plans by the Fowler Township Police Department to host the “First Annual Squirrel Hunt Contest” on Saturday, October 14, 2023.
Sponsored by Luoma Outdoors, an animal and crop farm located in Cortland, Ohio, this despicable trophy hunt calls on children to pay $5 to track down and kill squirrels in exchange for cash and door prizes.
Please join FoA in calling on all those involved to put a stop to this disgusting slaughter of innocent animals by what should be equally innocent children. Direct your Jeers to:
Mike Currington, Chief, Fowler Township Police Department
“These slaughters should be protested everywhere, at the local, national, and international level,” says Priscilla Feral, president of Darien, CT-based Friends of Animals. “As the number of hunters declines every year, these sanctioned hunting contests are just another way to initiate children into the killing culture. That a police department is promoting this bloodbath in Ohio is obscene.”
Friends of Animals has long fought to end these barbaric animal-killing contests, especially those involving children. A decade ago, FoA Action Line Editor Nicole Rivard witnessed an atrocity known as the Squirrel Slam, a fundraiser for the Holley Fire Department in upstate New York that left her literally sick to her stomach after seeing a young girl “proudly” carrying a pizza box filled with dead squirrels as her dad grinned alongside of her.
That experience helped inspire FoA’s advocacy for legislation to make wildlife killing contests illegal in the state of New York. While the New York State legislature passed a bill banning wildlife killing contests in June, Governor Kathy Hochul has not yet signed the bill into law. (California was the first state to enact a ban on wildlife killing contests in 2014, and other states such as Vermont and Georgia have also passed bans for killing contests of coyotes and other so-called “varmints.”)
“That such hunting contests are used as a recruiting tool for more licensed hunters, for sure,” adds Feral of Friends of Animals. “That it desensitizes these children to violence? Absolutely. Killing is not conservation—safeguarding habitat and reintroduction of threatened and endangered species is.”