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Letter: Utah wildlife managers are endorsing cruelty

By Staff | Jun 24, 2021

Utah wildlife managers are endorsing cruelty

Dog fighting is illegal because it is widely recognized that canines deserve not to be subjected to such cruelty, yet it is perfectly legal to torture and kill coyotes in Utah. Animal cruelty is abominable to most, but many examples of unethical hunting (“trophy” hunting for bloodsport, not for food) are legal, or even endorsed, by wildlife agencies. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is holding a seminar on hunting predators that will teach participants skills like trapping, baiting, and hounding — all controversial practices that are illegal in many jurisdictions.

The problem with promoting the killing of carnivores like coyotes, wolves, bears, or cougars lies not only in the unethical nature of the killing, but also because it won’t achieve what it is purported to do. Trophy hunting is often defended by the claims that it will boost elk and deer populations or reduce livestock depredations. Killing off certain carnivores may lead to more livestock depredations as juveniles may become desperate for unnatural food sources with the loss of more experienced hunters. More ungulates are killed by cars and other human-caused events than by their natural predators.

The Utah DWR receives most of its funding from selling hunting and fishing permits, which is part of what leads the agency to support the special interests of hunters and livestock producers. The public is largely excluded from participation in wildlife management, as evidenced by the audacity of the agency to conduct a seminar on teaching trophy hunters how to unethically kill our wildlife. Animal cruelty is repulsive to the majority of Utahns, and the DWR should not endorse nor promote it.

– Joni Wirts, Summit Park

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