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The HSUS Urges RI Senate Committee to Protect Doves from Target Shooting

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection group, thanks the Rhode Island Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee for hearing testimony in support of a bill to protect doves from target practice and urges passage of Senate Bill 109.

Senate Bill 109, introduced by Sen. Rhoda E. Perry, D-Providence, prohibits taking, killing, buying, selling or possession of mourning doves at any time.

"The hunting of mourning doves is inhumane, cruel and a danger to the environment. Rhode Island is the only New England State that allows this practice," said Sen. Perry. "Weighing less than half a pound, mourning doves can hardly be said to be killed for their meat."

"Mourning doves aren't overpopulated, don't cause nuisance problems, and aren't a viable food source — they're shot simply for target practice," said Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of The Humane Society of the United States. "Sportsmen and women have dozens of traditional game species to hunt, and Rhode Island should join the rest of the New England states which view the gentle dove as a beloved backyard songbird, not a game bird."


  • Rhode Island is the only New England state to allow the shooting of doves. Dove shooting is unnecessary and serves no wildlife management purpose. Doves are not overpopulated and do not damage property or crops, and have even earned the name "farmer's friend" because they eat the seeds of weeds, benefiting Rhode Island agriculture.
  • Rhode Island hunters have at least 50 other game species to hunt, including turkeys, pheasants, geese, ducks, woodcocks, rails and snipes. Doves are often shot and never recovered, and are sometimes referred to as "cheap skeet."
  • Doves are shot at their lightest weight during the year, yielding so little meat that few people eat them. This is also the time of year when their young are still in the nest and are orphaned when one or both of their parents are shot.
  • Dove shooting is responsible for the discharge of an enormous amount of toxic lead shot. Densities of greater than 860,000 pellets per hectare have been reported in dove fields, which are usually used for crop-growing.


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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