The Holley (NY) squirrel massacre is on. Barbarism triumphs again.

PREFATORY NOTE: We regret to report that the Holley Fire Department’s 7th annual Hazzard County Squirrel Slam began early Saturday morning with 1,000 registrants in two-person teams set out to bag the heaviest squirrels. The event, which sold out at 200 tickets last year, expanded to 1,000 this year and sold out again. Prizes ranging between $50 and $200 will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams, as well the team to bag the single heaviest squirrel. A prize also will be awarded for the heaviest squirrel caught in a 14-and-under division, which is new to this year’s event.

Holley-greySquirrelOnTree
A grey squirrel doing her thing.  The poor creatures are now living targets behind a pathetic excuse.

Hunters could target squirrels anywhere in the state, but to qualify for the prizes, they returned to Holley for the evening weigh-in at 5. There is a maximum of five squirrels accepted per team.

“It ain’t like duck hunting, where you got to be out early when they’re flying,” said one hunter named Richard, who withheld his last name to protect his safety. “Squirrels move all day.”

Richard was joined by a couple of his sons for the event.  Money raised is traditionally used to help offset the cost of equipment, Fire Chief Pete Hendrickson said.
READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE [Democrat & Chronicle]

Squirrel Slam

Holley-bilde(Newser) – A fire department in rural upstate New York has an unusual way of raising money to buy new gear—a “squirrel slam.” Every year, the Holley department organizes a hunt, sells tickets, and hands out prizes for the best carcasses. (“Reds & grays only!!” says the rules.) This year, however, the squirrels have a little ammunition of their own in the form of social media, reports Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle. News of the Feb. 16 hunt is spreading quickly online, and opponents are trying to put a stop to it with petitions on Facebook and Change.org.

“Stop the mass slaughter,” demands the latter petition, whose author is particularly incensed that kids as young as 12 can take part. A blogger at Psychology Today similarly complains of the “barbarism.” The fire chief says he’s been fielding calls from all over the world—even Britain’s Daily Mail has weighed in with a story—but he insists the hunt will go on. In fact, almost all of the 700 tickets have sold already.

“This is a community of hunters and they’re going to hunt anyways,” said the event’s chairperson, Tina Reed. “Why not hold a fundraiser that will reach our community?”State Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, called the contest insane during an Albany news conference with the group Friends of Animals earlier this week.Sen. George Maziarz, a Republican who represents Holley, defended the fundraiser, saying hunting, fishing and shooting sports are part of the region’s lifestyle.”It’s like a fishing derby but it’s squirrels, not fish,” Maziarz spokesman Adam Tabelski said Friday.

 

_____________________________________________________________________Bang Bang, We All Fall Down

Replacing the cycle of violence with the cycle of love
Published on January 27, 2013 by Gay Bradshaw, PhD in Bear in Mind

Ad for squirrel shoot.

What you go and do
You go and give the boy a gun
Now there ain’t place to run to
Ain’t no place to run to
When he hold it in his hand
He feel mighty he feel strong
Now there ain’t no place to run to
Ain’t no place to run

– Tracey Chapman [1]

This February the Holley Fire Department of Hazzard County, New York, is holding its annual “Squirrel Slam” fundraiser. It marks its seventh year. An advertisement invites teams of two to “spend a day in the woods and then enjoy the party” – that is, killing squirrels. The first prize of $200 goes to the team that brings in the greatest number of dead squirrels. Additional prizes are awarded such as $50 to the 14-year-old-and-under participant who brings in the heaviest dead squirrel.

Aside from the pure barbarism of the overall event, this last bit of information heightens the horror, particularly in light of the recent Newtown massacre of school children. Children are awarded and offered money to use guns and kill. [2] However, the New York firefighters are not alone.

Many states promote killing and violence in children with such events as the “Mentored Youth Hunter Program”. For example, the website of the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Department (the people and agency responsible for safeguarding wildlife wellbeing) states [3]:

The time shared between a youngster and a mentor is invaluable. There simply is no better way to introduce a young person to. . .hunting than with the close supervision of an adult mentor. . .The Program allows youth 9 through 13 years of age to hunt without first passing an approved hunter education program. It gives unlicensed youngsters the opportunity to receive mentored, one-on-one field experience and training on the. . .enjoyment of hunting.” [3]

Here are a few statistics that illustrate the consequences when children are encouraged to harm and kill [4,5]:

• Children’s acts of animal abuse are some of the strongest and earliest diagnostic indicators of conduct disorder, often beginning as young as 6-1/2 years of age
• 70% of animal abusers had criminal records including crimes of violence, property,drugs, or disorderly behavior.
• 50% of schoolyard shooters have histories of animal cruelty
• 35% of search warrants executed for animal abuse or dog fighting investigations resulted in seizures of narcotics or guns. 82% of offenders arrested for animal abuse violations had prior arrests for battery, weapons or drug charges: 23% had subsequent arrests for felony offenses
• 70% of people charged with cruelty to animals were known by police for other violent behavior – including homicide
• 61.5% of animal abuse offenders had also committed an assault; 17% had committed sexual abuse. All sexual homicide offenders reported having been cruel to animals.
• 63% of aggressive criminals had deliberately inflicted harm on animals in childhood
• 48% of rapists and 30% of child molesters committed animal abuse in child- hood oradolescence. Sexual assault, domestic violence and firearms offenses featured prominently in cruelty offenders. criminal histories.” [5]

All of this should come as no surprise. It is common knowledge, even common sense among teachers, health practitioners, law enforcement, the legal professions, and social services that teaching violence begets violence.

One day he may come back
Repay us for what we’ve done
Then where you gonna run to
Where you gonna run. . .

And if he finds himself to be
A reflection of us all
Bang bang bang
He’ll shoot us down

This widespread understanding and escalating crisis have brought a consensus that intervention is crucial. One sterling example, the Animals & Society Institute, has created a program, AniCare, which in the words of the International Association of Chiefs of Police provides “an effective means of breaking the cycle of family violence from one generation to the next.” [5, 6]

Our society is long past its saturation point for violence. Firefighters of all people appreciate life – human and nonhuman. Their job is saving lives, not taking lives. Let them know by using one of the many petitions asking that the event be cancelled forever. [7]

Instead of a cycle of violence, let’s promote a cycle of love and compassion for our animal kin.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
gayBradshaw-npeanut_smallGay Arndt Bradshaw Ph.D., is Executive Director of The Kerulos Center. She holds doctorate degrees in ecology and psychology, and has published, taught, and lectured widely in these fields both in the U.S. and internationally. She is the author of Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity, published by Yale University Press, an in-depth psychological portrait of elephants in captivity and in the wild. Read an excerpt here.

Dr. Bradshaw’s work focuses on trans-species psychology, the theory and methods for the study and care of animal psychological wellbeing and multi-species cultures.

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