The shocking video below has caused worldwide rage. The clip shows a family of rays being shot with bows and arrows as they give birth and then knocked over the head with baseball bats as part of a competition.
Recent reports have found that unscrupulous people are using the breeding season of rays to shoot entire families for a competitive contest called the Battle of the Rays.
Every year, numerous groups of cownose rays swim from Florida to the Chesapeake Bay to give birth. Jeff Pierce, legislative counsel for the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), told The Dodo that the cownose rays add a beauty and mystery to the ocean and “researchers have shown that these rays are actually very intelligent, that they have preferences and ideas of their own”.
However, in recent years, the rays’ goal of reaching the Chesapeake Bay just before they give birth has ended in a cruel fate with a large number of people wanted to kill the rays in the name of sport.
The ray killing contest was filmed after Maryland-based Fish Feel asked Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) to get involved. Stuart Chaifetz, an investigator for SHARK, told The Dodo,
“The video we captured featured animal cruelty so violent and vicious that it brought international condemnation down upon these contests and spurred more than 146,000 people to sign a petition against them,” Chaifetz told WBALTV after witnessing first-hand the violence and cruelty of the contest.
“As they were dying, they gave birth as a last chance to get their babies out, who were killed themselves,” he said.
Maryland state senator, Ron Young, decided that something must be done after viewing the disturbing footage.
“I don’t think we should treat any live species that way”. He has since drafted Senate Bill 268 in a bid to make contests, including Battle of the Rays, illegal.
You can sign a petition to save the rays here.