Welcome to rural America . . . or NOT. I heard from a couple of friends that the town next to mine was having a coyote killing contest. Lovely. Someone was organizing a protest, thankfully. It goes without saying that I am totally against killing coyotes or any predator animal, let alone have a contest about it. A coyote killing contest just moved killing any predators from horrific to barbaric.
These animals deserve to be on the planet as much as we do. But, we like Nature to do our bidding and have her suit our needs, regardless if there are ecosystems and a natural balance and order to everything, which . . . by the way . . . keeps us alive. Oh, that doesn’t matter now, does it?
Well, ranching was invented . . . and so began the coyote killing, along with all predator killing of bears, wolves, cougars, bobcats, etc. that may threaten livestock. Our environmental book club read “Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History,” by Dan Flores, which documented how ranching has tried to eradicate the coyote since the beginning. It was a bit hard to read . . . because . . . unlike ranchers and dairy farmers. . . I think these animals are beautiful.
Every year, predator animals are killed with coyotes having the highest number. Last year, something like 70,000 were killed.
I had to search online for the bar that was holding the contest, and it became immediately apparent that this happens all over the country. The pictures of the carnage were hard to stomach. Could I go and actually witness this at a protest? I was going to try.
I made my way over to the bar, and there were signs it was well attended by the cars still parked down the street from the parking lot. There were no signs of coyotes. The contest was over. I thought is was at 7:00 p.m. and it was held at 4:00 p.m. Maybe my subconscious knew I couldn’t handle it, and that is why I got the time wrong.
There are solutions to protect livestock other than blatantly killing coyotes and other predator animals. Housing chickens during the night, guard dogs, having cows birth in a building are some of the solutions. Some states are banning the contests, which is a start.
I moved to an area where there is more Nature than people. That is what I wanted. But, it doesn’t mean I don’t take precautions. I purposely don’t feed the birds because I don’t want to attract hawks and eagles that may attack my cat. There have been sightings of cougars, bobcats, wolves, and bears, however limited, so when I hike or jog, I am surveying the landscape.
A friend of mine went to the gun club monthly meeting to see what they had to say. They discussed the fact there were no “crazy” protesters at the contest. There were some comments made, and she stood up and said, “I am one of those crazy protesters.” She detailed why these killing contests were not good and actually encouraged more killing of livestock instead of less. They were respectful and heard her out. She told them she just wanted a dialogue, and, perhaps, they could have a different type of contest next year. Several people came up to talk to her after the meeting.
Maybe a few coyotes will get a chance to live this year.