Did you know that the village of Holley, N.Y. is preparing for another bloodbath on Feb. 22, the day it plans to host its annual "Squirrel Slam"?
Nonsensical, absurd, unethical and horrific are words that have been used to describe animal killing contests, yet the Holley, N.Y. Fire Department is once again planning its annual “Squirrel Slam,” a squirrel-shooting contest for children and adults disguised as a fundraiser.
The bloodbath is slated for Feb. 22, and Friends of Animals will lead a protest from 4:30 to 6 p.m. outside the Holley Fire Department located at 7 Thomas St., where hunters will bring dead squirrels to be weighed to claim prizes.
Last year FoA, an international animal advocacy group founded in New York in 1957, mobilized supporters and took to the streets to protest this obscene contest and released a mini documentary detailing its efforts. The video also draws attention to Senate and Assembly bills that would ban animal killing contests in New York.
“Animal killing contests like the shocking ‘Squirrel Slam’ held in Holley, N.Y. for the past eight years have no place in a civilized society, therefore, I strongly support passage of Senate Bill # 4074 to outlaw these killing contests,” New York state Sen. Tony Avella said. “At Friends of Animals’ urging, this is the second year I’ve pressed the Holley Fire Department to cancel the controversial ‘Squirrel Slam’ in favor of a less violent way of raising money. Children as young as 12 should not be encouraged to shoot squirrels to win prizes. That practice is similar to bounty hunting. Killing contests like the ‘Squirrel Slam’ provide an incentive to children and adults to shoot many animals to win prizes— a disturbing, irrational activity that’s out-of-pace with New York culture and must end throughout the state.”
Animal killing contests, like pigeon shoots allowed in Pennsylvania, and the “Final Fling for Fox” hosted by the Bark at the Moon Coyote Club, slated Feb. 14 in New York, are part of a broader conversation on gun violence. The Holley event comes just over a year after a rifle wielding Adam Lanza committed mass murder at an elementary school, and earlier this month, a 12-year-old opened fire at a middle school and an elderly man fatally shot someone because he was text messaging during a movie.
“This is the second year FoA is challenging the Holley Fire Department to cancel the violent, regressive ‘Squirrel Slam,’ and our experiences protesting the event last year showed a sickening, gun-worshipping culture of adults, teenagers and children who celebrated the violence of mass animal killing—cheering on the hunters as they waved fistfuls of dead squirrels in our faces and in the air, even plastered them on their cars, before they entered the fire house to weigh the corpses and win cash and gun prizes,” said Edita Birnkrant, FoA’s NY Director. “Coyotes, squirrels and crows are frequently targeted in New York State in killing contests. The need to pass pending legislation to ban wildlife-killing contests in NY couldn’t be more urgent. Senate Bill # 4074 and Assembly Bill # 03661 would finally put an end to all competitions based on shooting and killing animals—we urge immediate passage of this critically important bill.”
Not only are the killing contests barbaric, they disrupt the natural order of wildlife and create vacuums, according to Ray Powell, commissioner of the New Mexico State Land Office. New Mexico introduced a bill to stop animal killing contests last year.
FoA will continue to work with Avella and other legislators until animal killing contests become illegal.
● Tell the Holley Fire Department to organize a non-violent fundraiser instead of the ‘Squirrel Slam.’ Write to them on their website or call them at 585-638-6884.
● New York residents should contact their state legislators, and ask them to sign on as co-sponsors and urge passage of the bill to ban wildlife-killing contests in NY—Senate bill #4074 and Assembly bill #03661. Residents of other states should contact their state legislators and ask that they propose legislation to ban animal-killing contests in their state.
● Write a letter to the editor to one of New York’s larger newspapers expressing support for Senate Bill #4074 and Assembly Bill #03661.