LARAMIE, Wyo. – Conservationists today questioned the inaction of Wyoming state lawmakers and law enforcement in light of social media’s removal of a video montage of “coyote whacking.” The video shows a number of snowmobilers chasing coyotes to exhaustion using snowmobiles, running over the animals repeatedly with their machines, then beating the animals to death against the sides of the snowmobiles. Yesterday the video was pulled off YouTube and reportedly deleted on Facebook threads, but the practice itself is apparently legal in Wyoming.

“Blocking videos of such a barbaric practice makes sense from the standpoint of basic human decency,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director for Western Watersheds Project. “But then why does Wyoming continue to allow such a horrifically cruel death for native wildlife?”

Under Wyoming state law (W.S. 6 § 6-3-203), “coyote whacking” with a snowmobile could qualify as felony animal cruelty, an offense that can carry a penalty for each count of up to two years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. A Wyoming legislative committee recently considered and rejected proposed legislation to explicitly ban “coyote whacking.” Though it is a well-established principle in law enforcement circles that animal abuse is a gateway activity leading to more serious violent crimes, the anti-predator hostility and pro-livestock agenda of the state has apparently clouded lawmakers’ judgment regarding what should be legally and socially acceptable behavior in Wyoming.

“This activity should be seen as a crime against native wildlife, and it is certainly shocking that animal cruelty laws haven’t already been used to put the perpetrators in jail,” said Molvar. “By voting down a specific law that bans coyote whacking with snowmobiles, the Wyoming legislature has sent a message that it condones this practice. If the State of Wyoming can’t find the ethics and the willpower to get this done, then federal agencies that manage public lands need to close these lands to all snowmobiling as a means of preventing this atrocity against nature from ever happening again, at least on public lands.”

The video’s removal from YouTube was accompanied by a redirect to a page regarding “violent or graphic content policies,” which explained in relevant part a prohibition on “[c]ontent where there is infliction of unnecessary suffering or harm deliberately causing an animal distress.” Calls to YouTube for further explanation were not accepted.

“We agree with YouTube that this type of behavior is unacceptable and shouldn’t be promoted for sport,” Molvar concluded. “Now it’s time for Wyoming to get with the program.”

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project.

17 Responses to You Tube removes “coyote whacking” videos as offensive, yet the practice remains legal in Wyoming

  1. avatar Dale Houston says:

    Sad commentary on the cruelty caused by humans.

  2. avatar Frank Krosnicki says:

    I will never understand the wanton killing of any living thing. To remove any animal from the natural order is to unbalance nature. “Coyote Whacking” is a sickening action, taken by the weak in order to appear strong. Perhaps Karma will show justice to these offenders since legislators fail to do so. Meanwhile “Wildlife Services” continues to set a bad example regarding the dignity of life.

    • avatar Hiker says:

      I believe those responsible for such horrid acts have deep insecurity issues. They must destroy to build themselves up. However, Wyoming is strange that they don’t hold them responsible. Maybe Wyoming state government is insecure.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      A sample of Coyote whacking – for those that are reading this thread and are unfamiliar with this sick, barbaric practice.

      Psychopath comes to mind IMHO but I fear we’re decades away from that label out here in the west, where killing for sport, not to mention a fun way to recreate, rules.

  3. avatar idaursine says:

    It is shameful that Wyoming still allows this. I hope that people will continue to bring it forward in front of the Legislature.

    You’re right, all life has dignity.

  4. avatar idaursine says:

    Yes, again, where are the Federal agencies in this?

  5. avatar Nancy says:

    Every breath they take…. and sometimes express, around humans who actually have the time to acknowledge their existence:

    • avatar Hiker says:

      Very interesting Nancy, in all my years I’ve never seen a coyote behave that way. Beautiful!

    • avatar idaursine says:

      🙂 Isn’t that something.

    • avatar Robert Goldman says:

      So precious. Thank you for sharing this wonderful video, Nancy. A sweet canine heart and he/she knew you were a friend who meant no harm. Heart breaking beyond words what cruel and sadistic men do to them, when they would be friends with anyone who loves and respects them, as individuals and as fellow travelers in this life.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Robert, I didn’t film this video, it was posted on YouTube and I shared it here on TWN, simply because I’ve had a few unique encounters with wildlife over the years, that don’t feel threatened by my presence, in what’s left of their habitat.

  6. avatar rick says:

    If there is a just God, those who would chase and run over animals will face a tough afterlife.

  7. avatar Kyle says:

    These aren’t people, they are monsters!

  8. avatar Robert Goldman says:

    Thank you, Western Watersheds, Eric and Ralph. Something is very rotten in Wyoming. Killing coyotes and wolves and other natural predators, who are each thinking and felling beings – who experience fear and pain – and with such sadism, demonstrates mental and spiritual illness. The fact that Gov. Gordon and the legislators there are more interested in giving the finger to the entire country in order to protect this criminal behavior is itself criminal. Clearly, the federal government must step in to protect all native wildlife from such criminal behavior and punish the guilty in a way that puts a complete stop to this obscene and sickening human behavior. Pres. Obama did not do it, he surrendered to Wyoming’s wolf and coyote slaughter. Trump will not do it. We need a new President and a new Congress that will finally step forward for animal rights, for decency and respect and for native wildlife protection.

  9. Clearly, unconscionable soulless depravity. So glad You-Tube management became aware. After reading about and integrating numerous accounts wolf and coyote derbies and Idaho’s sanction of paid wolf bounty trapping into a massive project concerning the tragic and insidious derailment of 1995’s wolf reintroduction (on the bases of political and personal agendas, inter alia)I didn’t think I could still be shocked. Coyote whacking as a form of recreation in real time is almost beyond belief.

    Question: How do wolves and coyotes lingering in traps generally meet their final demise? Gut shot? Blunt force to the head? Haven’t been able to speak with a trapper nor do I recall this information in Carter Niemeyer’s ground breaking memoir Wolfer, so would really appreciate any information on the subject. Thanks!

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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