Caught in the Crossfire

By: Kieran Wilson Email
By: Kieran Wilson Email

WildEarth Guardians, an environmental organization submitted a request in January to ban the practice of shooting live animals for target practice. Nicole Rosmarino with WildEarth says, "we think this is a sadistic activity that is not justified in anyway."

Colorado’s Division of Wildlife disagrees, it defines the shooting of prairies dogs as hunting. Even though WildEarth points out that Colorado law says hunters are required to use the meat from the animals they kill. DOW spokesman Randy Hampton says prairie dogs are an exception.

Hampton says it regulates and watches the hunting of prairie dogs closely and the DOW does not see it as animal cruelty. He says other groups that will be present tomorrow like the National Rifle Association agree, and says this is a general attack on hunting.

WildEarth Guardians petition argues that prairie dog shooting cannot be considered hunting because it involves no ethics or sportsmanship, and they say the prairie dog population is an important one that is rapidly declining. Rosmarino says "they sustain about 140 other wildlife species by creating underground burrow networks."

This brings about the concerns of the agricultural community, yet another group that will be represented at Thursday’s Wildlife Commission meeting. Randy Hampton says "there are concerns over burrows destroying cropland and causing problems for livestock with concerns over disease issues such as the plague. Rosmarino feels differently, "prairie dogs do not carry the plague; they're too busy dying from it."

The Wildlife Commission has the option of killing the petition to ban the shooting of prairie dogs Thursday or continuing the issue until July when a final decision would be made. The meeting is at the Holiday Inn on Horizon Drive from 8:30 until noon.

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