Holley, New York, has a total population of around 1,800. It’s not even its own town. It’s a village inside the town of Murray, in Orleans County.
In a town that small you can imagine the size of the fire department’s budget. Since fire departments are rather important to the well being of any community, Holley has an annual fundraiser to help support their firemen. That fundraiser is a one day squirrel hunt called the “Hazzard County Squirrel Slam.”
It costs $10 to enter the competition and the winner takes home $200. Several prizes are also raffled off. In the slam, teams of two hunt most of the day and take as many as six red and/or grey squirrels, the limit according to New York state law. Whoever takes the heaviest squirrel wins.
That’s where the animal rights group comes in. A group called “Friends of Animals” has organized a protest to take place on February 16–the day of the Squirrel Slam.
Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals had this to say about the contest:
At the mayor’s office, it was like talking to someone in 1890 in Appalachia. This person actually ranted about how they consume every part of the squirrels. There’s a national conversation on gun violence and the wrongs of indoctrinating children to thinking of guns as cool and thinking of animals as targets. The town is hopeless. Friends of Animals is going to invade the town of Holley to challenge these preposterous ideas.
According to the Examiner, several people who support the event have received death threats.
“We’ve lived in this area for 31 years,” Said local resident Kathy Nadelen, “ I don’t see a problem and I think it’s important to know that the meat isn’t wasted, the pelts are used.”
Despite the protest and alleged threats, most of the 700 available tickets, which amounts to more than a third of the population of Holley, have been sold.