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Alabama to animal rescuers: Let the baby raccoons die

The Alabama state conservation agency sent out a letter this month to wildlife volunteers to stop rescuing orphaned and injured raccoons. Instead, would-be do-gooders were told, the animals should be left to their fate -- or shot.

Rehabbers, as they call themselves, love the creatures, which are cuddly and easy to train when they're still young. Conveniently, they release them back into the wild once they reach adolescence and are no longer so friendly. Doing so, say state officials, raise the risk of rabies and messes with the food chain.

But the rehabbers allege that the animals are victim of anti-coon bias in a state that's always been friendly to hunters. According to a brief history of the state provided by The New York Times, they might have a point:

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