Frog jumping contests are inhumane

The Tidings' June — cover story ("A frog on a hot rock kind of day") portrayed a frog-jumping contest as a wonderful thing.

But Stephan Spraul of New Hampshire's American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said, "According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and the Audubon Society of New Hampshire, frog-jumping contests are inhumane.

"Stress caused by the capture and treatment of frogs during frog-jumping events is detrimental to the animals' health, possibly causing serious injury and in some cases, death."

Spraul continued to explain that frogs captured for these contests are handled and fed improperly, and suffer from temperature extremes and overbearing noise. They're also in danger of getting attacked by people's dogs and cats.

As in Bellview's contest, frogs are usually kept in a bucket of water, which Spraul said is not a suitable or humane environment. The animals can drown if they can't reach dry areas, and yet they may die within three hours if they don't have access to water.

Spraul added that when frogs are closely confined with other frogs, they can get very stressed and can even get injured, due to territorial fights.

Spraul said he believes that many frogs are injured, traumatized, dehydrated or malnourished when they're finally released after the contest. Many of these animals die long after the event. Unfortunately, the untrained contest participant often won't even notice that they're releasing the animal to his detriment.

Frogs sometimes don't show symptoms for weeks or months, and by that time it's often too late to save them.

According to Spraul, frog-jumping contests don't just hurt frogs, they put people at risk, too. He said the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems not to touch reptiles and amphibians. The animals carry salmonella, a disease that has killed some children and gives about 97,000 Americans chills, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Spraul warned that schools and other sponsors of these contests may be held legally liable for illness or deaths resulting from salmonella.

Spraul also said, "Frog-jumping contests have no educational value and actually give children a distorted view of the basic requirements resulting in failed attempts at keeping wild animals as pets, causing suffering and death for many animals as well as injuries and illnesses to humans."

Ambuja Rosen