Los Angeles, January 29, 2013
National Animal Protection Group Decries Squirrel Killing Contest in Holley, N.Y.
The Companion Animal Protection Society is launching a national alert campaign to prevent an annual squirrel killing contest in Holley, N.Y.. The “7th Annual Hazzard County Squirrel Slam” is scheduled for Saturday, February 16. The contest, which awards cash prizes for the largest squirrel killed that day, will feature a “weigh in” and a gun drawing with several different types of fire arms, one of which is a AR/22 Semi.
The event is sponsored by the Holley Fire Department and is inviting children under the age of fourteen to shoot and kill squirrels.
After being inundated with emails from around the country from concerned animal welfare advocates, CAPS contacted Fire Chief Hendrickson in Holley and urged him to cancel the inhumane event. Chief Hendrickson told CAPS’ West Coast Director to “take it up with the state if people don’t like it.” When asked the reason for the contest, Chief Hendrickson claimed the event is to “control the squirrel population problem.” The Fire Department chief was unable to provide CAPS with any evidence that there is a problem of squirrel overpopulation in that area.
"This is a depressed area! We have lost everything!" yelled a woman who did not identify herself answering the phone at Mayor Kenney's office. "We hunt here! We hunt everything! We eat squirrels! We have no industry! Do you know what hunting is?"
The guns being being used to kill squirrels and the guns raffled at the event each cost over $500. "What about giving the kids books or cameras or musical instruments" said activist and educator Paige Chandler. "Why not have a photo contest, give cameras as prizes and teach the kids to shoot squirrels with a camera instead?"
"I thought the Hunger Games was just a fictional movie, loosely based on the Greek myth Theseus and the Minotaur. Looks like Holley, New York's leaders are willing to sacrifice our youths' natural compassion and love for animals so that the adults will no longer have to live side by side with squirrels. Teaching children how to kill is wrong!"-- Paige Chandler M.Ed.
Another animal protection group, Friends of Animals, based in Connecticut, is planning to drive scores of animal rights activists to the village of Holley on February 16. The group is looking to recruit activists from the tri-state area to "invade" the village.
"We are organizing a protest on the 16th," said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals.
"At the mayor's office, it was like talking to someone in 1890 in Appalachia. This person actually ranted about how they consume every part of the squirrels. There’s a national conversation on gun violence and the wrongs of indoctrinating children to thinking of guns as cool and thinking of animals as targets. The town is hopeless. Friends of Animals is going to invade the town of Holley to challenge these preposterous ideas."
News of the squirrel killing event has spread throughout the animal welfare community on Facebook and Twitter, with several petition sites gathering over 10,000 signatures.
“Children ought to be engaging in science or writing contests rather than gruesome killing contests in my home state of N.Y.. I think the Holley Fire Department has a responsibility to promote education and animal welfare, not killing and violence. Given the recent mass murders, you would think the Fire Department would be encouraging respect for life, not the taking of it. The squirrel killing event could potentially encourage the next Adam Lanza by desensitizing children to senseless violence against animals for entertainment.” ~Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast Director, Companion Animal Protection
CAPS is urging its national membership to call Mayor Kenney of Holley, New York at 585-638-6367 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org to politely ask for the annual event to be cancelled. Members are also being asked to call the Holley, N.Y. Fire department at (585)-638-6884 to politely express dismay and disapproval of unnecessary and senseless violence against squirrels.