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February 8, 2020

The Trust lends support to the proposed regulations prohibiting killing contests in Washington

Dear Members of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission,

On behalf of our Washington members and supporters, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust requests your support for the proposed regulations to prohibit killing contests for predator or furbearing animals. We also wish to express our sincere appreciation to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission for advancing this proposal.

On our 117 sanctuaries across the U.S. and Canada, spanning over 21,000 acres, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust works to permanently preserve and connect habitat, protecting the homes of all species of wildlife. All of those species, including native carnivores such as coyotes, bobcats, and foxes, play their own, uniquely important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. In particular, coyotes provide trophic cascade benefits such as indirectly protecting ground‐nesting birds from smaller carnivores, and increasing the biological diversity of plant and wildlife communities.[i] By keeping rodent populations in check, coyotes and foxes also help to protect crops and curtail hantavirus, a rodent‐borne illness that kills humans, as well as tick-borne diseases such as Lyme.

In addition to our work to protect wildlife habitat, we also strive to create a world in which wild animals are respected for their intrinsic value and humane solutions are sought to human-wildlife conflicts. Therefore, it is important to point out that scientific studies have amply demonstrated that the random killing of coyotes through killing contests is not an effective method of mitigating potential conflicts with livestock, pets, or humans. In fact, it can increase problems.  Disrupting the stable and limiting breeding structure of coyote packs will cause more reproduction—in other words, more coyotes than there were to begin with. In addition, USDA studies, which were recently cited in Oregon Small Farm News, have found that the random killing of non-predating coyotes, who were living in proximity to livestock herds and not causing problems, can trigger conflicts where there were none previously.[ii] Nonlethal livestock protection methods, including the use of fencing, fladry, and guard animals, have proven very effective in preventing conflicts with native carnivore species.[iii]

With all of this in mind, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust asks for your support and enactment of the proposed regulations to prohibit killing contests for predator or furbearing animals so that we can see an end to cruel, unsporting, and wasteful wildlife killing contests in the great state of Washington. Thank you.

Linda Winter

Program Coordinator

Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust 

[i] S. E. Henke and F. C. Bryant, “Effects of Coyote Removal on the Faunal Community in Western Texas,” Journal of Wildlife Management 63, no. 4 (1999); K. R. Crooks and M. E. Soule, "Mesopredator Release and Avifaunal Extinctions in a Fragmented System," Nature 400, no. 6744 (1999); E. T. Mezquida, S. J. Slater, and C. W. Benkman, “Sage‐Grouse and Indirect Interactions:

Potential Implications of Coyote Control on Sage‐Grouse Populations,” Condor 108, no. 4 (2006); N. M. Waser et al., “Coyotes, Deer, and Wildflowers: Diverse Evidence Points to a Trophic Cascade,” Naturwissenschaften 101, no. 5 (2014).

[ii] Randy Comeleo, “Using Coyotes to Protect Livestock. Wait. What?” Oregon Small Farm News, Vo. XIII No. 2.

[iii] Adrian Treves et al., “Forecasting Environmental Hazards and the Application of Risk Maps to Predator Attacks on Livestock,” BioScience 61, no. 6 (2011); Philip J. Baker et al., “Terrestrial Carnivores and Human Food Production: Impact and Management,” Mammal Review 38, (2008); A. Treves and K. U. Karanth, “Human‐Carnivore Conflict and Perspectives on Carnivore Management Worldwide,” Conservation Biology 17, no. 6 (2003); J. A. Shivik, A. Treves, and P. Callahan, “Nonlethal Techniques for Managing Predation: Primary and Secondary Repellents," Conservation Biology 17, no. 6 (2003); N. J. Lance et al., “Biological, Technical, and Social Aspects of Applying Electrified Fladry for Livestock Protection from Wolves (Canis Lupus),” Wildlife Research 37, no. 8 (2010); Andrea Morehouse and Mark Boyce, “From Venison to Beef: Seasonal Changes in Wolf Diet Composition in a Livestock Grazing Environment,” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9, no. 8 (2011); and Fox, C.H. and C.M. Papouchis. 2005. Coyotes in Our Midst: Coexisting with an Adaptable and Resilient Carnivore. Animal Protection Institute, Sacramento, California.


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