End ALL New Jersey Wildlife Killing Contests

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At the Parlin Buck Club’s fourth Annual 24-Hour Predator Killing Contest in Barnegat, New Jersey, participants pose in front of dead foxes hanging by their feet from a rack. Photo by The HSUS

Wildlife killing contests are organized events in which participants compete for prizes by attempting to kill the most animals over a certain time period. Killing contests glorify violence, while disrupting natural processes. These "contests" teach  children that killing is fun, life is cheap, and wild animals are disposable.

An overwhelming number of residents were appalled to learn that wildlife killing contests are held in the Garden State. News of the “First Annual Family Squirrel Classic” in Winslow drew so much criticism that local and Camden County officials condemned the killing contests as unnecessary, cruel, and extreme.  The Winslow killing contest was not the first in the state. They take place throughout the state, offering prizes for killing the heaviest coyotes, foxes, and raccoons, and spectators could even wager on the killing contest participants themselves.

It is deplorable and irresponsible for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to condone these contests. The New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, which sponsored the shocking squirrel killing contest event, nominates six of the 11 members of the Fish and Game Council, which in turn helps nominate the director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. The reality is that this same group of hunting clubs has tremendous influence over the Division. Clearly, it is time for reform. The slant of this state agency toward that group disregards the truth and science by condoning extreme, gratuitous practices. 

Legislation was introduced by Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez (S3541) and Assembly members Daniel Benson, Eric Houghtaling, and Carol Murphy (A5224) to end these contests. There are several other states have either moved to prohibit these contests, or have legislation pending to do so. Let’s be the first state to ban them outright. Permanently abolish contests that promote the mass killing of coyotes, foxes, squirrels, and other species for sport and prizes.