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Animal Activists Protest Squirrel Hunting Contest

By Frank Parlato

President Barack Obama (above) shown holding a fishing pole in Gallatin, Montana.
"I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake. Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas. And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that." Barack Hussein Obama.
One of the names of the Hindu god Shiva is “Mrigavyadha,” which translates as the deer hunter.
Buddha, who was a vegetarian, said, "All fear death; comparing others with oneself, one should neither kill nor cause to kill."

An “animal advocacy group” called Friends of Animals (FoA), founded in 1957, announced that its members plan to “descend” on Holley, N.Y., on Saturday, Feb. 16, to protest the town's 7th Annual “Hazzard County Squirrel Slam.”

Holley is a village in the Town of Murray in Orleans County with a population of 1,800.

The Squirrel Slam is a hunting contest and fund-raiser for the Holley Fire Department. It lasts most of the day as teams of two go out into the woods to stalk and still hunt the red and grey squirrel – a favorite small game animal – and a farmer’s pest - in a competition that lands a prize to whoever brings back the biggest squirrel.

The humane society has written a letter asking organizers to consider stopping the event. Other activists have circulated petitions online that have prompted letters, phone calls, and e-mails to village leaders.

Adults and children, 12 and older, with a junior hunting license, requiring that they be accompanied by an adult, are permitted to compete in the Squirrel Slam.

"Holley officials are dead wrong in proceeding with this obscene killing contest involving children as young as 12 -- which offers cash and gun prizes to participants who kill the heaviest squirrels,” said Edita Birnkrant, director of Friends of Animals New York.

“Firearms like an AR/22 Semi and other rifles will be raffled off as rewards after dead squirrels are weighed.”

In New York, squirrel hunting season begins in September and lasts through February.

Hunters are allowed to take six squirrels a day throughout that six-month period.

“We’ve lived in this area for 31 years. I don’t see a problem and I think it’s important for people to know that the meat isn’t wasted, the pelts are used,” said Kathy Nadelen of Holley.

Squirrel hunting has a long tradition in rural New York, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and elsewhere, since the meat is consumed, the pelts are used and, on top of that, a rise in squirrel population can be a problem to farmers.

Hungry, rural squirrels can wreak havoc on a farm as they dig up newly planted seeds and munch away at apples ripe for picking, leading to sizable crop losses.

Pest experts use chemicals to control squirrels. Farmers, like those in Holley, have a sustainable and time honored solution. In many old farming towns, vegetable farmers turn in their hoes for hunting gear when the weather turns cold. Small-game hunting is a part of rural life.

The protesters plan to come to the Holley Fire Hall, at 7 Thomas Street in Holley and protest outside the hall from 3 to 6 p.m.
Birnkrant said Friends of Animals asked Holley officials to cancel the squirrel-killing contest, while thousands of people across the country signed petitions, sent e-mail messages and called the Fire Chief and Mayor to object to the event.

The Holley Fire Dept. issued a statement saying they respect all opinions and have listened to all sides of this debate. But their event will continue as scheduled and they hope everyone can respect the freedoms and rights of those who wish to participate.
The Friends of Animals president sees a connection with the NRA and, seemingly, suggests that squirrel hunting is something new.

"Squirrels are not shooting targets,” Friends of Animals' President Priscilla Feral said, "and the NRA's brainwashing scheme to indoctrinate children to seize guns -- and then to create a spectacle of dead animals for prize money and firearms is a disastrous, convoluted idea."

Wolf hunting, hunting with hounds, bear hunting and bow and arrow hunting of deer by Native Americans have all been protested in the last year.

Alex Robinson of Outdoor Life wrote, “How far we have fallen when it's controversial for kids to spend a day squirrel hunting with their parents.”

In many rural areas, hunting is tradition, considered a way of life for a father to teach his son how to hunt. The owning of a first rifle, and the ability for a boy to provide food for himself and his family is a rite of passage into manhood.

Other local groups, such as Animal Advocates of Western New York, and Animal Rights Activists of Upstate New York, plan to join the demonstration they say “to raise the conscience of people inside and outside the Holley community,” FoA reports.
FoA apparently does not require members to be vegetarians, prompting one critic to ask, “Do they believe that the brutal corporate raising and cruel slaughter of animals in slaughterhouses is preferable for meat eaters than the taking of game for meat?”

“A national conversation on gun violence is happening now in our country, and killing contests such as Holley's ‘Squirrel Slam’ subvert a civilized human culture --brainwashing children to think guns are cool and that terrorizing and killing animals is a fun, rewarded activity,” FoA said in a written statement.

"On February 16, Holley will be filled with animal advocates who believe that violent, regressive events like the 'Squirrel Slam' need to bite the dust," Birnkrant says. "There are plenty of creative, entertaining ways to raise monies that don't involve prompting children to kill animals with guns."

Hunting may well predate the rise of the species Homo sapiens and the emergence of the Homo genus from the earlier Australopithecines. The rise of man included the production of stone tools and the control of fire and hunting. Hunting predates the development of the bow 18,000 years ago and the domestication of the dog 15,000 years ago. For eons, hunting was a significant contributor to the human food supply. Squirrel hunting was part of the pathway of man rising, and, up until the cruel slaughterhouse took away the need for man to kill his own meat and make the direct connection between the life he took and the food he ate, squirrel hunting was part of the way a man provided sustenance for his family.Indeed squirrel hunters turned into soldiers to fight in the American Revolution.

Squirrel Meat is Healthy


Squirrel Aurora, a tasty, healthful, lean meat dish.
Fried squirrel with mushroom gravy

In a vat of warm squirrel gravy, lightly caramel-colored and smooth on the surface, with shreds and chunks of long-cooked squirrel meat, ladled up and onto biscuits and baked potatoes, you will wonder how meat can taste so fresh and clean and good, a simple feast for a hard working farmer. Squirrel potpie is also delicious.

In Virginia's Brunswick County, in 1828, four squirrels, with onions and stale bread went into a pot and became the dish known as Brunswick stew. Roasted squirrel and casseroles with herbs and chanterelles are other ways to eat it. Squirrel can be butterflied, slathered in spices, pan-seared and finished in the oven. Soaked in a lime juice, it can be marinated for a few hours to tenderize it and used in tacos or chimichangas. Fry it briefly in olive oil with minced garlic and caramelized onion and build it into a pasta sauce. In fact, in any recipe, where one would use chicken, one can substitute squirrel, leading some to call squirrel the “chicken of the trees.”

In fact, squirrel is probably healthier than hormone-fed chickens. Squirrels are a low-fat source of protein, says Gabriella M. Petrick, an associate professor of nutrition and food studies at George Mason University. A 7-ounce serving of squirrel has nearly 44 grams of protein and six grams of mostly "good fats" from its nut-centric diet, according to a nutritional analysis of game meat.

If you want to eat free-range, hormone-free and relatively cruelty-free meat then you might want to consider eating what is actually living around you.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Feb 05 , 2013