Tuesday, January 16, 2001

The shooting of mourning doves is cruel and unnecessary. They are very small birds - yielding just an ounce or two of flesh - and they are essentially shot for target practice. Because they are so small, many of the birds would go wounded and unretrieved by hunters. A study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reveals a wounding rate in excess of 20 percent - with one of every five birds struck and not retrieved by the shooter.

There's no compelling reason to kill the birds. Mourning doves don't overpopulate. They cause us no problems; they do no damage to the crops, to homes or anything else of value to our citizens. Hunters are already allowed to shoot more than 40 other game birds in Iowa. Isn't that enough?

Mourning doves are much-loved by Iowans. Ground- feeding birds, they help farmers by eating weed seeds. They also live in close proximity to people, nesting and feeding in backyards. Our familiarity with doves has caused us to develop a special affinity for them.

The only way to halt this ill-conceived legislation is for advocates of dove protection to contact their elected officials in Des Moines and urge them to oppose this needless and cruel legislation. Contact your state senator and state representative. And please, call Governor Vilsack and ask him to oppose this legislation.

Amy Suarez

Director, Midwest Region

Humane Society

of the United States