Animal-killing contests shouldn’t be allowed

The first Young Farmers and Ranchers coyote killing contest begins in Burns today and goes through Dec. 2. This contest is put on by the Oregon Farm Bureau. Participants will compete for cash and prizes for killing the most coyotes. The team with the greatest total weight of dead coyotes wins. Piles of dead animals and a blood-soaked ground. Does this “contest” reflect the stewardship ethics of our young farmers and ranchers and Oregonians in general? No.

So why allowed? Turns out that in the past state legislatures chose to define some animals as “predatory animals” (ORS 610.002) with subsequent legislation created to prevent ODFW from limiting the times, places, or amounts for taking predatory animals (ORS 496.162 (3)). Currently included in the predatory animal category are “coyotes, rabbits, rodents and birds that are or may be destructive to agricultural crops, products and activities.” Note the words “may be.” Even if you are just passing through on rodent patrol, because you might possibly, sometime in the future, or maybe never, but then again. . . you can be killed. Seriously? In addition, taxpayer dollars are to be used to fund their control and destruction (ORS 610.015, 610.020).

Unfortunately, despite ODFW’s mission statement “to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations,” their protection is limited to only some animals. Other wildlife can be killed anytime. Pretty sweet if you like to kill things. A real bummer if you value all wildlife, including coyotes and their contributions to natural rodent control.

True stewards of the land do not support or participate in killing contests. Instead, they respect and work with nature, partner with wildlife, hunt responsibly, and address wildlife issues only when they arise and do so with respect and care. These true stewards need to let the Oregon Farm Bureau know that killing contests do not represent their ethics and only create future wildlife conflicts. All life deserves respect. Time to update these laws and end killing contests.

Suzanne Fouty

Baker City

Pot dispensary ad was inappropriate

How dare you! How can you justify publishing an ad for pot that targets children by using Santa as the spokesman? On Nov. 26, the local newspaper allowed publication of an ad on page 8A from a Sumpter pot dispensary that says, “Santa comes here before his milk and cookies!” with Santa winking at the reader. Yes, the ad has the “for use by adults 21 years or older” in very small type at the bottom, but this, in no way, excuses this ad. It’s a sad day when society has declined to the point that promotion of drugs to underage citizens is accepted. Shame on the dispensary for paying for this travesty and shame on the newspaper for publishing it.

Craig and Doni Bruland

Baker City