Bundled up in her favorite long black and tan tweed coat, Eleanor strolled down the sidewalk enjoying the brisk chill in the air. A young woman approached Eleanor with a look of concern in her eyes and asked, “Excuse me, ma’am, but that’s not real fur on your collar, is it?” Eleanor was shocked, and quickly said, “Why no, I would never wear fur. It is an awful thing to kill an animal for its fur.” The young woman smiled and said, “Well, I’m sure glad you checked, I know it can be hard to tell sometimes,” and wished Eleanor a pleasant day.
After the woman walked away, Eleanor began to wonder what she had meant when she said she was glad she “checked” that the collar was not real fur. Why, she just assumed the fur was fake. The furry-looking lapel was dyed a creamy tan color, unlike any animal she’d ever seen. And the price sure didn’t indicate that it was real fur — she got a great deal on the coat. But was it actual fur? How awful she would feel to know that her purchase was an end product of animal suffering.
In the latest chapter in a court battle spanning more than six years, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California upheld a 1998 California ballot initiative, Proposition 4, which was adopted to protect wildlife and companion animals from cruel traps and poisons.
Our companion animals are truly part of our family, as anyone living with — or losing — a beloved cat or dog will attest.
That’s certainly been true for the many guardians whose companion animals have been injured, or even killed, by traps. Some of these people have written to API to tell us about what happened to their cherished friends. Their letters are filled with anguish that their animals suffered, along with outrage that these cruel traps can still be used legally in this country, in this day and age.
In December 1999, the day after an exhausting and fretful search for Soccer, the Gendrons received the phone call every companion animal guardian dreads. The family’s twelve-year-old cat was dead, his neck broken by a Conibear kill trap set by a “pest” control trapper in a residential community in California’s East Bay. A neighbor had hired the trapper to remove a raccoon who was raiding open garbage cans.
This past April Fools’ Day, animal advocates wondered if the joke was on them.
That's because on April 1, 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released a rule lowering the protected status of gray wolves under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Despite the fact that wolves, once systematically extirpated, have yet to recover in most of their historic range, this reclassification is likely just the first step in the eventual elimination of all federal protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states. Once de-listed, the species’ fate would lie in the hands of individual states.
On a cool spring morning, a mother black bear and her two young cubs wander through a thick stand of Douglas fir. Having recently emerged from their winter den, they are hungry and eagerly search for cambium, the sugary, energy-rich sap found beneath tree bark.
Everyone will remember the clever way the “good guys” in those old-time Western movies scrambled from shrub to tree to boulder, shooting from all angles to make their enemies think they were up against a legion. That same idea has worked wonders for a handful of determined animal protection activists steadily working toward a ban on wildlife snaring in Maine.
Around the early 1950s, the “arctic fox” strain of rabies entered Ontario from the north. The province’s abundant populations of red foxes and striped skunks are particularly vulnerable to that strain of rabies, and Ontario soon had the dubious distinction of being the “rabies capital of North America.” As I spent so much time “in the bush” and handled wild animals from childhood as I aided my mother with her work in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, I was familiar with rabies and took vaccinations hoped to protect me in event of contact with rabies.