The Animal Wellness Podcast: The Bloodbath of Killing Contests

Wildlife Killing Contests (WKCs) are a disgrace. And, for all the right reasons, they are under siege.

In September 2019, the Arizona Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) voted unanimously to approve a rule initiated by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission banning WKCs for predators and other furbearing animals in the Grand Canyon State. A grassroots effort energized by concerned animal welfare advocates and even hunters, and led by Animal Wellness Action’s Lain Kahlstrom and Tina Meredith, provided the impetus for the rulemaking action.

Events like the “Santa SLAY” and “Fox Frenzy” killing contests — slaughter-fests where participants compete to win cash and prizes for killing the greatest number, the heaviest, or even the smallest of the targeted species within a certain time frame (usually 24 hours or a weekend) — soon became a closed chapter in the book of Arizona’s wildlife management history.

But the practice of killing these animals at WKCs continues across America in many other states where thousands of animals including coyotes, bobcats, foxes – and even mountain lions, badgers and coatimundi – are trying to eke out a living. These gruesome events are often intentionally concealed from the public’s view. In 2020, Colorado became the sixth U.S. state to ban killing contests when it enacted a regulation prohibiting contests targeting furbearer and small game species. In 2019, Arizona and Massachusetts outlawed contests for multiple predatory and furbearing species. New Mexico and Vermont prohibited coyote killing contests in 2019 and 2018, respectively, and California outlawed the awarding of prizes and inducements for killing non-game mammals and furbearers in 2014.

Animal Wellness Action is now working in Pennsylvania to secure a ban on the practice, and is partnering with Project Coyote, an organization whose mission is “to promote compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science and advocacy.”

This week’s episode of the Animal Wellness Podcast features two guests on the show: AWA’s Lain Kahlstrom, and Project Coyote’s Camilla Fox. Fox, the organization’s founder and executive director, discussed her latest documentary production Killing Games: Wildlife In The Crosshairs, which provides a first-ever, close-up view of the killing contest subculture. With more than twenty years of experience working on behalf of wildlife and wildlands and a Master’s degree in wildlife ecology, policy, and conservation, Fox helps viewers understand what’s at stake for wildlife. Join us in listening to the episode by clicking here.

The Animal Wellness podcast is a regular segment that not only delivers timely information but offers insights and analysis you won’t hear anywhere else. We’ll offer in-depth discussions of local, state, or federal policy and elections, and the effects of laws and regulations on corporations. We hope you’ll listen today, and also check out a previous episode:
Episode 15: How Big of a Tent Can We Build As We Rally To End Factory Farming?