The University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies included the following question in their 2017 Vermonter Poll: “Vermont wildlife policies allow certain species, including coyotes, crows, porcupines, skunks and weasels to be killed without limit even when there is no intent to consume or use the remains. This is called “wanton waste” killing. Should Vermont wildlife policies prohibit the “wanton waste” of wildlife, except when these animals are causing damage to property or agricultural products?” The result of the survey indicates that 70.5% of Vermonters who responded, opposed the intentional and wasteful destruction of Vermont’s wildlife.
Killing wildlife without purpose is referred to as ‘wanton waste’, since animals are often left rot where they were killed. Both hunters and non-hunters alike should be able to come together on activities like these and condemn them. Vermont author and vegan turned hunter, Tovar Cerulli writes, “Across hunting traditions—in everything from traditional prayers to wanton waste laws—we hear the same idea: Life must be respected. Frivolous or wasteful killing is unacceptable.” The current policies and regulations of the Fish & Wildife Board do nothing to discourage wasteful killing of wildlife and actually may encourage it with open hunting seasons on many animals including opossums and coyotes, who both play vital roles in Vermont’s ecosystems. There is currently a petition in front of the Vermont Fish &
Wildlife Board (sponsored by the Vermont Wildlife Coalition) to end the authorized, but indiscriminate killing of crows who are shot by the thousands every year in Vermont, often only for recreation.
Vermont law requires “The State, through the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife, [to] safeguard the fish, wildlife, and fur-bearing animals of the State for the people of the State.” There is a growing contingency of people who want better protections for wildlife, yet feel as though their voices fall on deaf ears. It remains to be seen whether the Fish & Wildlife
Department and Board will embrace an evolved culture that seeks less inhumane wildlife management, and greater focus on compassionate conservation, and abundant populations of watchable wildlife that all can enjoy.