Utah Slaughters Olympic Mascot

Animal Protection Institute
Friday, 1 February 2002

The coyote is one of the official mascots for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Called representative of the land & culture of and the American West, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) says "Copper" the Coyote is a 'cute lovable character' that gives children a link to the Games. Utah and the Olympics stand to generate millions of dollars in revenue by marketing the mascots.

However, the reality is far more grim for that cute symbol of the American West. Utah has called for an all-out slaughter of coyotes statewide:

Utah counties use taxes to pay out $20 bounties for each pair of coyote ears.

State lawmakers approved $100,000 to match county payments for this program.

The state supports "contest hunts" that offer cash prizes for the hunter bringing in the most coyote tails or ears.

The state-sponsored slaughter of coyotes is championed by agricultural & sportsmen's groups, which view coyotes as a threat to livestock and competition for hunted game species such as mule deer and elk. However, experts from Utah's own Division of Wildlife Resources say that indiscriminate killing of coyotes does little to prevent livestock losses or increase mule deer numbers. In fact, scientific research shows that hunts and bounties may actually increase coyote populations.

"This wanton slaughter is unjustified and sets a double standard," says Camilla Fox, National Campaign Director of the Animal Protection Institute."When athletes and visitors descend upon Utah, this disregard for an Olympic mascot is not the image of America we want the world to see."

Denise Boggs, Executive Director of the Utah Environmental Congress, says " Utah be shamed when the world arrives in Salt Lake to find that Utah is paying its citizens to butcher the Olympic mascot and cherished symbol of the American West."

API and other wildlife advocacy organizations have urged SLOC President Mitt Romney, U.S. Olympic Committee President Sandra Baldwin, and Utah Governor Mike Leavitt to stop the slaughter. So far they remain silent. We urge all those interested to help call for an end to the coyote killing before the 2002 Games begin.

The Animal Protection Institute is a Sacramento-based national non-profit animal advocacy organization with 85,000 members. Contact us for more information or to receive a media kit.

For more information, or to contact Animal Protection Institute, see their website at: www.api4animals.org

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