Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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February 23, 2014

Squirrel Slam a success

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — HOLLEY — The seventh annual Squirrel Slam in Holley last year drew protesters, and this year it was more of the same.

Before the event, a statement issued by the New York chapter of Friends of Animals (FoA) called the contest a “bloodbath” that is “disguised as a fundraiser.” (Proceeds from the event help the Holley Fire Department.)

The participants in the Slam brought dead squirrels to the HFD where they were weighed and prizes were doled out. There was also a raffle. In the statement issued before the event, Edita Birnkrant, FoA’s NY director, said, “Our experiences protesting the event last year showed a sickening, gun-worshipping culture of adults, teenagers and children who celebrated the violence of mass animal killing.”

On Saturday, Birnkrant was on hand and maintained the FoA’s stance.

She said that when FoA was alerted to the squirrel slam last year after six previous years “under the radar” the organization took action because the event “represented a bigger problem.”

Birnkrant said, “This contest rewards children for killing.” She added that contests such as the Squirrel Slam tend to “draw in young kids” which can be “very psychologically damaging and destructive to society overall.”

For a few hours Birnkrant was joined by about 10 to 12 protesters holding signs advocating non-violent fundraisers and speaking out in defense of squirrels as part of wildlife. Double that amount of people were across the street holding signs in support of the fundraiser, while on another corner a handful of people took the opportunity to picket in opposition to the SAFE Act.

Birnkrant, alluding to the anti-FoA protesters, said, “When hunters as a group feel challenged or attacked they unite together.” FoA, she mentioned, opposed to all hunting, not just such contests as the Squirrel Slam. She noted that legislation has been introduced at the state level to ban the contests. However, that legislation focuses only on land animals.

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