The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday took a significant step toward banning coyote-killing contests in Oregon. Considering rules proposed by 15 conservation and animal welfare groups led by The Humane Society of the United States and including Humane Voters Oregon, the Commission voted 6-1 to deny the specific proposal but directed its staff to develop rules to achieve the same effect - to ban these cruel competitions to the extent of its authority.
Thanks to everyone who submitted comments in favor of a ban. In taking action, several commissioners noted the significant number of public comments received - the most they've ever received on an issue, they said.
Special thanks to Commissioner Jill Zarnowitz, who made the motion to direct the Commission's staff (the Department of Fish and Wildlife) to develop rules to ban coyote-killing contests. Thanks also to commissioners who spoke in favor of a ban and voted for the motion: Chair Mary Wahl and Commissoners Kathayoon Khalil, Becky Hatfield-Hyde, Dr. Leslie King and Mark Labhart.
In the last four years, at least 10 coyote-killing contests have been held in Oregon, and more than 1,000 coyotes have been killed in them. By making a game out of killing as many coyotes as possible, coyote-killing contests show a lack of appreciation, respect and compassion for wildlife. Eight states -- including five in the west (Washington, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado) as well as Maryland, Vermont and Massachusetts -- have banned coyote killing contests, primarily through their state wildlife commissions. These states recognize the contests are cruel and unethical and serve no useful purpose.
To see the petition submitted by conservation and animal welfare groups to ban coyote-killing contests in Oregon, and to see the public comments submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Commission, go here (Agenda Item I). To see the presentation, testimony, discussion and vote at the Commission meeting, go here (starting at 6:51:00).
Thank you again for helping to ban coyote-killing contests in Oregon.