This article is very tough to stomach. I’ve blurred out the images of the children for legal purposes but you can see the entire photo if you visit the source page at the bottom of this article or check out South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s Twitter page where she boasts
“Love seeing kids this excited about being outside!! Our nest predator bounty program launched this week, and we’re seeing great results. Let’s get kids away from the x-box and out with the live box!”
Update: Michael has embedded the Twitter post below and the faces are clear to see so there are no legal issues as far as the governor is concerned.
Governor Noem is very happy with the new program in South Dakota that has given adults, as well as children, a license to kill. She started the Nest Predator Bounty Program on April 1 where the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is offering all residents $10 for each tail of raccoon, striped skunk, badger, opossum and red fox that is turned in with the tail bone still inside.
People are outraged at the program which will run until August 31, 2019, or when a $500,000 cap is reached. There’s no age limit on the hunter so even a child can participate. The children in the photo on her Twitter account are all smiling!
We have received some awesome photos of families and friends spending time outside enjoying trapping! You can enter our photo contest by emailing your memories to firstname.lastname@example.org and using the hashtag #SecondCenturyTrapper. https://t.co/dYuXOtn2ie pic.twitter.com/jNcr8zv6LU
— SD Game Fish & Parks (@SDGameFishParks) April 11, 2019
They’ve killed a living, breathing being that serves a purpose in the ecosystem. Opossums are tick eaters who can eat up to 1,000 ticks a day. Although skunks are sometimes seen as a nuisance, they are actually beneficial to farmers, gardeners, and landowners because they feed on a large number of agricultural and garden pests.
The ‘kill-for-pay’ animals may carry disease but we’re fairly safe as long as we stay out of their way. I don’t know of anyone who would attempt to pet a skunk or a badger. There are a lot of opossum advocates who DO touch these gentle animals and I’ve never heard of any of them getting a fatal disease.
The GFP report states “The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is focused on increasing participation in trapping from all ages while at the same time, reducing localized populations of nest predators as a way to enhance pheasant and duck nest success.”
According to the Rapid City Journal, the program was approved without being discussed with GFP commissioners or state sportsmen. No one was given the opportunity to speak their mind.
Those who approve of the program say it will ensure the ‘tradition of trapping’ will be kept up. Those who disapprove say the killing won’t increase nesting areas for pheasants and ducks because of the lack of habitat destroyed by chemical fertilizers and draining wetlands is the problem.
I hate this any way you look at it. Seeing those children smile as they pose with trapped and dead animals is a bit frightening. These children are being taught at such a young age to disrespect wildlife. Instead of killing, children should be taught that all animals have a purpose and what that purpose is.
What happens when they grow tired of trapping wild game and move on up to companion animals. Studies have already shown that most people who abuse animals (or their significant other) started out as children who tortured or killed animals.
I’ve had a lot of experience with skunks and opossums. Anyone who does TNR knows what I’m talking about. I’ve actually had to release skunks from humane traps (just stand very still and they’ll quickly exit). Opossums are a bit tougher. They don’t want to leave until they finish the TNR bait. I’ve waited as long as an hour for an opossum to decide to go back to wherever opossums go.
Please feel free to add anything I missed in the comment section below.
Be sure to check out the petition started titled ‘The Government Is Paying Children To Brutally Murder Animals.’