To the Editor:
Mike Kelly's column from April 15 speaks of the Adams
Center Sportsman's Club and its "spring turkey contest." Prizes will be
given to the brave warriors who kill and submit "the heaviest bird, longest
turkey beard and longest spurs." We find contests such as these to be the
pinnacle of disrespect for New York's majestic wildlife.
According to the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation, excessive exploitation by market hunting was a
contributing factor in causing the virtual disappearance of wild turkeys
throughout the state.
It was not until the late 1950's that the birds were
trapped from a small population in southwestern New York and relocated to
other parts of the state, in an effort to establish populations dense
enough to open hunting seasons for the birds.
Today, the population of wild turkeys is manipulated to
provide maximum recreational opportunities for sport hunters - people
who derive pleasure from killing harmless animals. The DEC does this to
maximize their income, since the salaries of DEC officials are paid for through
the sale of hunting licenses. In order for these people to keep their jobs,
they must ensure that there are ever growing populations of animals that
hunters enjoy killing.
Hunting contests, such as those sponsored by the Adams
Center Sportsman's Club show that there is no shortage of people willing to
be cruel toward animals. Thankfully, those who hunt are a small and
shrinking minority of the public. As an organization that promotes sound
wildlife management techniques and an appreciation for New York's
biodiversity, we suggest that the Adams Center Sportsman's Club sponsor a turkey
photography contest, instead of a turkey killing contest. This will prove far
more valuable to both the participants and the turkeys.
Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting