The Utah legislature has passed
a boondoggle bill that will appropriate $750,000 in tax dollars to fund the
slaughter thousands of coyotes. The bill has advanced to Governor Gary
Herbert’s desk for his signature.
Stand up for coyotes and urge
Governor Herbert to veto this dreadful bill.
Senate Bill 245, fallaciously
titled the “Mule Deer Protection Act,” is backed by extreme hunting groups and
some in agribusiness. This crowd hopes that fewer coyotes will mean more mule
deer for human hunters and fewer livestock losses for those in agribusiness.
Utah should know better.
Research shows that human
hunters, habitat degradation, and climate have greater effects on deer herd
size than does predation by coyotes. The truth is coyotes typically prey upon
rodents and rabbits, which actually increases forage for deer, and for
The livestock industry, which
is notoriously hostile towards native carnivores, also supports this bill. Yet,
less than 1 percent of the U.S. cattle inventory is annually killed by all
native carnivores and domestic dogs combined.
Coyotes enjoy no legal
protection in Utah. In fact, their destruction is encouraged by the state,
which has no seasons, no bag limits, and no limit on the method of “take,”
including the use of cruel traps or aerial gunners.
Coyotes are important
ecological actors. Their presence in systems creates greater biological
diversity. Without them, kiss your ground-nesting songbirds goodbye. Coyotes
limit populations of smaller carnivores such as skunks, raccoons, and opossums
that prey upon birds and their eggs. Moreover, killing coyotes is ineffective.
They quickly change their breeding and immigration strategies and make up for
their losses. A vacant territory will contain a new coyote in about four
Say “no” to this unnecessary,
ineffective, and wasteful proposal now.
For the Wild,
Carnivore Protection Director