Wildlife Killing Contests Will be Illegal in New York After Governor Hochul Signs Bill; New York is the Tenth State Outlawing ‘Cruel Kill Contests’

December 26, 2023
By: Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

On December 22, New York State became the tenth state in the nation to outlaw wildlife killing contests after Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation S.4099/A.2917 to protect wildlife by ending such competitions, derbies, and tournaments, killing of which Sierra magazine says most New Yorkers were unaware.

A press release issued by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) states that the historic new law prohibits competitive events during which contestants compete to kill the most, the heaviest, and the smallest coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and other ecologically vital species for cash and prizes. Hundreds of animals may be killed at a single event and countless others may be injured. The HSUS release goes on to say that, during springtime contests, dependent young may be orphaned and left to die from starvation, predation or exposure. After the killing is over, the animals are often dumped like trash, away from the public eye.

The contests have no impact on population management, an argument often used by contest organizers and participants to justify the activity. Additionally, the legislation does not ban hunting or fishing.  

Championed by Assembly Member Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan, and Senator Tim Kennedy D-Buffalo, this legislation was approved by bipartisan majorities in both the Assembly and Senate earlier this year. (See the full HSUS story >>)

SPCA Serving Erie County President/CEO Cait Daly says, “Once again, Governor Hochul has demonstrated her support for the kind and ethical treatment of animals. The Governor has asked us all to rise to a higher standard, and because of her fortitude, New York State is now one of a handful of states leading the nation in this effort: ending the senseless killing of our magnificent wildlife.”

“We are grateful for the governor’s action and recognize the bold leadership of Assembly Member Glick and Senator Kennedy for championing this law,” says Brian Shapiro, New York State director for the HSUS. “These inhumane, wasteful competitions must come to an end across the country once and for all.”

“The SPCA Serving Erie County’s mission is to create a more humane community that nurtures the bond between animals and people, and thanks to Governor Hochul and the choice to eliminate cruel kill contests, New York State can say that it is a more humane community for wildlife,” said Barbara Haney, SPCA director of wildlife. “Thank you, Governor Hochul, and all of our community members who stood up to voice their opposition to these heinous contests. May we continue to grow in kindness and compassion for wildlife and each other.”

Read the full HSUS announcement >>