To the editor:
I hope I’m not the only one to note the cruel irony of your paper’s coverage of a Kansas University student’s felony charge for animal cruelty while featuring Tonganoxie’s third annual Squirrel Scramble on the front page. One man faces serious penalties for “intentionally and maliciously killing, injuring, maiming, torturing, burning or mutilating any animal” while organizers of the squirrel hunt see it as “a good way to get the children outdoors” and relish the idea of cutting off squirrel tails to use as fishing lures.
Excuse me, but squirrels are animals too. Kids don’t always kill them with the first shot, as they often discover when collecting what they’ve bagged. What about the suffering of the permanently maimed and injured animals that escape? If reducing the squirrel population is a goal, there are more humane ways to accomplish that.
If animal cruelty is to be deplored and punished, promoting the Squirrel Scramble sends kids exactly the wrong message. I’m sure this irony (and contradictory community standards) won’t be ignored by the accused’s defense attorney.