A group of environmental activists work (successfully) to expose and bring to you what it was like at Idaho’s recent predator killing derby. Unless more progress is made, this will happen again next year.
Environmentalists Couldn’t Stop the Slaughter at Idaho’s Annual Coyote and Wolf Derby
by Christopher Ketcham
On the third day of the wolf-killing contest, an earthquake shook the mountains near Salmon, Idaho. “It’s Mother Earth revolting against the cruelty, the violence, the madness, of what’s happening here,” said Brian Ertz, president of the nonprofit advocacy group Wildlands Defense. A year ago this week, Ertz and I went undercover for VICE in Salmon to infiltrate that town’s annual Coyote and Wolf Derby, an event as primitive as it sounds: Dozens of contestants compete to mow down as many coyotes and wolves as quickly as possible, piling up the cadavers in their trucks, vying for $1,000 prizes for most animals killed. Kids as young as ten are invited to join in the slaughter with their families, with special awards handed out to the children who shed the most blood.
This is not hunting for meat. It is not hunting to prevent threats to human safety. It is killing for the sake of killing. To join in the derby was an unnerving experience for me, an immersion into the ugly side of rural mountain folkways in the American West.
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