Last Chance for Animals (LCA) has joined the Save the Rays coalition to work towards passing the newly introduced 2017 Prohibiiton on Cownose Ray Contests (HB211/SB268), which would outlaw the killing of cownose rays for sport in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay.
At the Bay's brutal "killing contests," defenseless rays are ruthlessly shot from a boat with a tethered bow, reeled up to the surface, and beaten to death with bats and clubs.
The rays are weighed for the contest, then dumped back into the bay in violation of environmental law. Despite hunt organizers' dubious call to the "save the bay, eat the ray," cownose ray meat has a strong urine flavor and is not typically consumed by humans.
The hunters kill indiscriminately, slaughtering pregnant mothers and babies. They claim they are culling an invasive species from the waters, citing a depleting oyster and crab population. However, scientists have debunked these claims, exposing the event for what it truly is -- bloodsport. In fact, killing off the rays will only harm the Bay's fragile ecosystem. The horrific contests have drawn global criticism, and thousands of people have signed a petition to stop them.
On June 26, 2016, LCA Founder Chris DeRose joined Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) on the Chesapeake Bay to document the heartless slaughter:
On board the boat "The Bob & Nancy" – named after animal rights heros Bob Barker and Nancy Burnet – the activists confronted the fishermen while SHARK's drone captured aerial footage of the slaughter. Bowfishermen were filmed shooting baby cownose rays, fatally wounding them and leaving them behind to die, and bludgeoning countless rays in the head before shoving their flailing bodies into a barrel. The killers were careful not to dump the rays back into the bay while DeRose and SHARK were filming, but one fisherman shared a video on his facebook page bragging about having already dumped one barrel the day before the contest.
At the final weigh-in, hunters taunted the activists on-camera. One hunter even alleged he was related to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, insinuating the governor would fail to stop the hunt due to nepotism.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. CLICK HERE to contact the Maryland Office of Tourism to let them know that you refuse to visit the state as long as these brutal killing contests are permitted.
2. CLICK HERE to sign the petition to top Maryland government officials urging a ban on the killing contests.
3. If you live in Maryland, contact your state legislators and urge them to support HB211/SB268! CLICK HERE to contact your MD state legislators now.