Pace Students Lobbying To End Wildlife Killing Contests In New York

Rip Van Winkle Rod and Gun Club ’s Crow Killing Competition. Palenville, NY, 2014.

Rip Van Winkle Rod and Gun Club ’s Crow Killing Competition. Palenville, NY, 2014.

Leanna Ward, Editor-In-Chief

This semester, nine students are making a stand for animal welfare. They are doing this by opposing the inhumane killing of wildlife in hunting contests within New York. They are supporting a bill that would prohibit the participation, organization, or promotion of wildlife killing contests, a common practice in many places across the country including New York.

These students are enrolled in Pace University’s Animal Advocacy Clinic, which is an experiential course created and taught by Professor Michelle Land and Professor John Cronin every spring. The clinic has existed for eight years and has lobbied for many environmental and animal issues, including helping to pass the Elephant Protection Act in New York in 2017. Prior to this spring, the course was known as the Environmental Policy Clinic.

In the Animal Advocacy Clinic, students learn through research and discussion about real-life issues in the animal welfare world. The class allows students to lobby and advocate for these issues in real-life scenarios. In the process, this allows students to learn about the way that the New York legislature functions and how as lobbyists, they can navigate this. 

This semester, students are researching topics such as exotic animal ownership, the sale of invasive species, and wildlife killing contests on the national and state level.

It has come to the attention of the clinic that there is a bill that was introduced in the New York State Assembly on February 1st, sponsored by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-66.) Assemblywoman Glick represents the district where Pace NYC resides in Lower Manhattan.

The bill (A.02917) states that if passed, “it shall be unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor, conduct, promote or participate in any contest, competition, tournament or derby where the objective of such contest or competitions is to take wildlife,” This bill will amend the current environmental conservation law to do so.

Wildlife killing contests are open to all with a hunting license to kill “nuisance” wildlife species such as bobcats, coyotes, foxes, prairie dogs, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, woodchucks, and in some cases, mountain lions, and wolves. 

People join the contest in order to win a prize, which is usually cash or hunting equipment. In order to win a prize, one must kill the most and/or the largest animals within a specific time frame. 

This is an unregulated issue that impacts biodiversity in the wildlife of the area, as well as wildlife safety and health.

These events have no limit on how many of one animal these people can kill, leading to an overkill of a species. Wildlife killing contests are not recorded by the DEC (New York state department of environmental conservation). Therefore there is no overseeing or regulatory authority for the contests, and the results of the contests aren’t officially recorded.

Traditional hunting is valued as a method of food gathering, recreation, and wildlife management. The purpose and goals of many wildlife killing contests undermine the very nature of fundamental hunting ethics. In fact, many traditional hunters are in opposition to the contests altogether.

The clinic encourages members of the Pace community to show their support by doing one of the following:

The clinic has created a petition for students, staff, faculty, and others to sign to signify their support of proposed Bill A.5746 to Make Wildlife Killing Contests unlawful in the state of New York. They are looking for 1,000 signatures so sign to show your support!

QR Code to sign petition in support of bill A.5746

Another way to support this is by following their Instagram, @Pace_AAC, where they will be sharing their journey working as lobbyists as well as information about the impacts of wildlife killing contests. They will continue to share information about all animal rights issues they lobby for throughout the semester.

The Clinic will be holding tabling events in Kessel as well to inform members of the Pace community about the issue and to gather support for the bill in the coming weeks. They encourage all to stop by and talk about New York wildlife rights.

For more information, visit their Instagram- @Pace_AAC.