Annual Holley 'Squirrel Slam' Draws Protests
The Orleans County Village of Holley will be the scene of protests again on Saturday, with the annual squirrel hunt, the so-called "Squirrel Slam, " fundraiser run by the fire department there.
News of the event brought out dozens of protestors last year, and the same is expected on Saturday. Among the groups that are upset, Friends of Animals. Its New York Director, Edita Birnkrant, says even though the squirrel hunting may be legal, it isn't right. She says it desensitizes people to violence.
"We saw last year when we protested, really the result of this kind of celebration of violence where the hunters came in, including some teenagers and younger people waving the dead squirrels in the air in our faces, taunting us, yelling and screaming like it was a sporting event."
Frank Gaylord is president of the Holley Fire Department. He says this event raises money the department needs for equipment, and he doesn't see this as being something different from other types of hunting events, such as a fishing derby. Gaylord is not expecting problems due to the protests.
"We have village police, they've got a couple of extra guys on, we dealt with this last year and we don't see any problems with them, they've got their opinion and we've got ours." Gaylord believes all of the publicity about the event, even from the protestors, has helped spur ticket sales.
The Friends of Animals organization is pushing for state legislation that would stop wildlife killing contests.