Documentary Screening — Varmints

May 8, 2009 - 1:00am

Presented by Western Canada Wilderness Committee, and Voice for Animals
USA 1998, 91 min, Dir: Doug Hawes-Davis

"Varmints will have you rooting for the underdog."
—Matt Groening of "The Simpsons"

The Wilderness Committee and Voice for Animals joined together to launch a campaign to protect Ground Squirrels from persecution. Prairie Dogs face the same threats. This film explains the importance of ground dwelling squirrels to prairie ecosystems and shows the brutal methods used to eradicate them. Tickets are $8; sorry, no Metro passes.

Varmints chronicles the decline of the prairie dog in the American West and highlights the fascinating ecology of the animal. It details the intertwined and conflicting perspectives of cowboy mythology, animal rights, property rights, varmint hunting, ecology and politics. The film includes exclusive footage of varmint shooting, spectacular wildlife footage, and systematic poisoning efforts by federal, state and local agencies including historical U.S. Biological Survey footage (ca. 1915), collected from the National Archives. Some say that the prairie dog competes directly with cows for forage and is an agricultural pest that must be eradicated. Others argue that the prairie dog is an essential component of the prairie ecosystem and that dramatic decline in population and loss of habitat qualify the prairie dog for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Overall, prairie dogs have been reduced through human activities to less than 2% of their historic range. But without federal or state protection, their decline continues. Urban development, varmint hunting, poisoning and plague all contribute to the prairie dog's uncertain future in the grasslands of the West.

Varmints website:

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Metro Cinema (Ziedler Hall in the Citdael Theatre)
9828 101A Ave
Edmonton , AB