Prevent cownose ray bowfishing contests - VICTORY UPDATE
Action Alert from

June 21, 2016

VICTORY UPDATE from SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness), June 21, 2016:

We are pleased to announce that a Cownose Ray killing contest planned for June 11 was cancelled because of sponsorship problems! SHARK has also forced a second contest scheduled June 26 to lose two venues where organizers had hoped to hold their disgusting weigh-in station!

It was one year ago SHARK released dramatic video taken at a Cownose Ray killing contest where pregnant rays were shot with arrows and beaten with metal bats on the river, while on land the rays and their dead babies were displayed and weighed for cash prizes.

The June 26 contest, organized by “American Bowhunters,” secured space at Solomons Boat Ramp, in Solomons, MD, to have its weigh-in station, where dead rays are brought in and weighed for the contest. SHARK, concerned American Bowhunters may not have been honest with Calvert County (which leases the ramp from the state highway department) about the true purpose of the contest, asked for an investigation.

That investigation revealed that American Bowhunters had not asked permission from the state to hold their killing contest and they had violated advertising rules as well.

After losing that venue, American Bowhunters then found a local venue and advertised they would be holding their weigh station there. SHARK contacted the venue and discovered that, once again, American Bowhunters had not been honest about their true intent to the department. Because of that and the nature of the ray killing contest, SHARK was told American Bowhunters would not be allowed to hold the event at that location.

The abject cruelty of the killing contest, along with their deceptive practices, have exposed American Bowhunters for what they truly are: brutal cowards who slaughter pregnant animals for fun. I personally challenged Kurt Wall of American Bowhunters to a debate, but he hasn’t had the courage to even respond.

The contest that was supposed to have happened on June 11 was the same one we documented last year. The violence and disgusting behavior we recorded galvanized incredible public opposition to ray killing contests, so it is no wonder they had problem with sponsors. Though we are extraordinarily pleased that it did not happen this year, this same type of despicable slaughter is set to happen in just a few days. If the slaughter proceeds, SHARK will be on the Chesapeake Bay documenting the killing and exposing those who participate in it. 

ACTION - June 10, 2016

cownose ray

Despite public outrage and the urgent advice of the scientific community to protect the gentle and beloved cownose rays of the Chesapeake Bay, bowfishers are again planning to massacre them. A cownose ray killing contest is to be held June 26th on public property: Solomon Pier and Boat Ramp in Solomons, Md.

Please ask Mark J. Belton, Maryland's Secretary of Natural Resources, to take immediate action to prevent cownose ray bowfishing contests.

Mark J. Belton
Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources
[email protected]
(410) 260-8101

cownose ray


Fish Feel and SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) have alerted the media that we are calling on Secretary Belton to take immediate action to protect the rays from these imminent attacks.

Last June, Fish Feel and SHARK documented these vicious and ecologically reckless bowfishing contests. The video documentation graphically showed the rays, who are native to the Bay and beloved by many, as they were shot with arrows, impaled, mercilessly beaten, and piled on top of each other to suffocate. Afterwards their bodies are dumped back into the water:

Watch "Battle of the Rays" Competitive Slaughter

Watch Cruel Bowhunters Shoot Harmless Pregnant Rays

Widely covered in the media, the SHARK/Fish Feel investigation generated great public outrage – about 136,000 people so far have signed a petition against this animal abuse, prompting the Chesapeake Bay Program to conduct a scientific workshop about the rays. The workshop report, along with a subsequent scientific report, vindicate the rays, who have been "a convenient scapegoat" for human-caused problems.

The reports also warn that the rays are highly vulnerable to human predation. Marine scientists have, in fact, for years been urging Atlantic states --Maryland and Virginia in particular-- to take immediate action to protect the threatened cownose ray population. This can be done by prohibiting such contests, declaring cownose rays to be "a species in need of conservation," or by taking whatever other action necessary to protect these animals.

For more, visit Stop Savage Ray-Killing Contests.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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