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Making Sport of Coyotes

February 13, 1988

There is much to take issue with in your recent article on hunt clubs, but I'll focus on one comment quoted from Brian Gwartz. He considers that he provides a service by hunting coyotes which kill pets and bite people, and adds: "We're basically people who love animals."

Gwartz's view of the coyote represents either misconception or misinformation. Pet owners don't need hunters to protect their dogs and cats. Effective precautions can be taken to reduce the chance of losing a pet to coyotes. Some risk always remains (with or without the hunt) when our housing developments encroach on the habitat of opportunistic predators.

Further, coyote attacks on humans are so rare that the hunters, if truly motivated to "protect us," would do better to invest their considerable time, energy and expense in productive community service that addresses real threats (i.e. drug abuse diversion, world hunger, you name it).

I can't help but conclude that this altruism is a weak attempt to put a positive face on what is essentially having fun at an animal's expense. It would be refreshing (though not reassuring) for a hunt participant to just say, "I like to hunt. It's exciting and fun, and if a coyote gets killed, too bad."

On Gwartz's statement claiming love for animals, I'm not sure which is more difficult to accept, that this statement could be true or that Gwartz actually believes it is. As one who loves animals and, more importantly, who respects their right to live and be free of unnecessary suffering, I contend that Gwartz would be more accurate to claim, "We're basically people who love using animals to have fun." If the risk of injury to the horses and the potential for neglect of individual dogs isn't enough to call into question this "love of animals," the chase and death (even if rare) of coyotes seals it.

Fortunately, we are moving to greater respect and concern for wildlife and all animals. Unfortunately, some will still suffer and die unnecessarily so that a minority can continue to enjoy the thrill and adventure of blood sport.

MICHAEL McCREARY

Long Beach

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