It’s never funny when a llama gets killed by accident, but this story points out an interesting discrepancy in how we feel about livestock versus wild animals.
Deer hunting is legal, and even encouraged in most states. It’s seen as a necessary population control technique. However, apparently, if you perform the exact same act on a llama — even using the same equipment — it suddenly becomes a misdemeanor charge of “mistreatment of animals,” with penalties ranging up to a fine of $10,000 and a nine-month jail term (at least, in Madison, Wisconson).
How on earth can it be mistreatment to shoot a llama, when it’s not mistreatment to shoot a deer? Does the technique lead to significantly more pain for the llama? The trespassing charge, I understand. There is certainly some economic damage here, and that’s worth reimbursement (using the civil court system if necessary). Pain and suffering on the part of the owners? Probably not so much. Once you get up to 150 llamas, you’ve moved beyond the “pet” category. You might be able to make a case for poaching, since the accused almost certainly didn’t have a llama hunters license. But mistreatment of animals? That makes no sense unless you’re going to level the same charges against anyone who shoots deer, ducks, or geese.