DWR should neither endorse nor promote cruelty to animals

FILE – In this June 11, 2009 file photo, a coyote watches a cow walk past the Millville Predator Research Center in Millville, Utah from a paddock. (AP Photo / Colin Braley, file)

Dog fighting is illegal because it is widely recognized that dogs do not deserve to be subjected to such cruelty, yet it is perfectly legal to torture and kill coyotes in Utah. Cruelty to animals is abominable for the most part, but many examples of unethical hunting (“trophy” hunting for blood sport, not for food) are legal, if not approved, by conservation agencies. wildlife. The Utah Wildlife Division is hosting a Predator Hunting Seminar that will teach participants skills such as trapping, baiting, and hunting – all controversial practices that are illegal in many jurisdictions.

The problem with promoting the slaughter of carnivores like coyotes, wolves, bears or cougars lies not only in the unethical nature of the slaughter, but also because it will not achieve this. that it is supposed to do. Trophy hunting is often defended by the claim that it will increase elk and deer populations or reduce depredation of livestock. Killing carnivores disrupts their social structure, and just like humans, they have social interdependencies. Killing some carnivores can lead to further depredation of livestock, as juveniles can become desperate for unnatural food sources with the loss of more experienced hunters. Herds of ungulates (elk, deer) are kept healthy by carnivores because carnivores prey on the old and the sick. More ungulates are killed by cars and other man-made events than by their natural predators.

Utah’s DWR receives most of its funding from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, which is part of what drives the agency to support the special interests of hunters and ranchers. The public is largely excluded from participating in wildlife management, as evidenced by the agency’s daring to hold a seminar on teaching trophy hunters how to kill our wildlife unethically. Cruelty to animals is repugnant to the majority of Utahns, and the DWR should not endorse or promote it.

Joni Wirts, summit park

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