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I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, my idea of having fun with squirrels was to go to the park and feed them. However, times have changed, because now, a day of massive squirrel slaughtering is apparently what qualifies for good old family fun. A fire department in Holley, New York is sponsoring a mass killing of squirrels on February 16th, 2013. Worse, this event is in its 7th year. Double worse, Google “squirrel slam” and you’ll find that this sort of festivity is not so unique after all. Triple worse, this year, the Holley fire department has included a brand new 14 years and under prize category, because even young children deserve to have fun shooting small animals, right? Not only does a ‘squirrel slam’ send an incredibly poor message to kids about killing animals for no apparent reason — but considering the sort of gun violence we’ve seen in this country lately, is shooting really the best family activity? Keep reading to learn how you can protest this event.

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Monetizing the murdering spree, the Holley fire department is offering big cash prizes for kids and adults as a reward for sacking the best, biggest and heaviest squirrels. In fact, there’s even a special cash prize for whomever kills the worst squirrel. We need to really think about what this sort of barbaric behavior teaches our kids:

  • Killing is great — and you can even win money for doing so.
  • Killing small animals for sport is not only acceptable, but fun.
  • Killing and suffering are acceptable behaviors to encourage.

In addition to the above, this event places firemen, who are revered as heroes in our society, in an incredibly unfavorable light. It’s unbelievable that any county officials would encourage kids and families to kill like this. Now, here’s what you can you do to stop events of this nature:

  • Obviously, don’t attend horrific events like this and don’t support companies, local stores and other businesses who do support killing events. Of course, if you’d like to attend in protest that’s a good idea, but considering that guns are part of the day, I would not take your young kids to a protest like this.
  • has a petition you can sign to stop this particular squirrel slam, but be aware, this is not the only event of its kind. There’s also a Facebook protest page for this specific event.
  • Get informed. The Humane Society has a “Stop Wildlife Killing Contests” page where they note, “Contest kills are a shameful activity disguised as wildlife management.” They offer resources and facts about events like this that can help you learn, protest and get involved.
  • Consider writing the editor of local papers and magazines in areas that sponsor wildlife killing events and tell them what you think. Better yet, contact the Mayor or boards and committees of towns sponsoring events. Here’s Holley, NY’s homepage.
  • According to the Humane Society, “Public outcry from the local citizens” and “Educating people about the suffering of animals, while encouraging them to stop patronizing any place that promotes contest killing” are two of the best ways to protest events like this.
  • Learn how to speak up for better gun control laws.