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Letter to the editor: Open season on coyotes must end

No other wild animal in American history has suffered the deliberate and casual persecution we have rained down on coyotes. For a long stretch of the 20th century, they were, along with gray and red wolves, designated by the federal government for eradication. This attempt had the opposite effect on coyotes, causing packs to separate and have larger litters, resulting in greater numbers.
Today, roughly half a million coyotes are shot every year. Coyotes can withstand a 70 percent yearly kill rate without any decline in total population.
It’s not only our government going after them. It is us. The victims are not only coyotes but also the very image of rural Vermont, tarnished by photos of beefy middle-aged men in camouflage, with guns in hand and dead animals no one is ever going to eat piled up in the backs of pick-ups.
Coyotes are intelligent, social creatures. They do not enjoy death. No thoughtful human being, considerate of other life, should sacrifice for pleasure an animal like the coyote. Doing so is immoral — not in a religious sense, but in reference to morality’s origins. The evolution of a sense of fairness among members of a social species, which early on came to include a recognition that other creatures enjoy being alive. Depriving them of life is a serious matter.
As modern studies in places like Yellowstone have shown, when coyote are left alone, their populations stabilize. Hunters are not controlling them or protecting deer herds, they are indiscriminately targeting coyotes and other “undesirable” animals for entertainment, often on public land and with taxpayer money. There are better ways to coexist with our native wildlife.
Stand up now and let your legislators know that an open season on coyotes, 365 days a year, is just wrong and needs to be changed or eliminated entirely.
 Dean Percival
New Haven

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