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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Open mouth. Insert foot

Published 10/29/09
By Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Associate

I just finished browsing the October issue of Trapper Predator Caller. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't pleasure reading by any stretch.

But what is a bit amusing is that while trapping proponents publicly claim that trapping is humane, selective (i.e., rarely catching dogs, cats, and endangered species), that it provides much needed income to poor trappers, and that it is well regulated and based on rigorous scientific data, their own trade magazine tells a very different story.

For example, on the issue of accidentally trapping domestic dogs, the Kansas Fur Harvesters President's Report noted that:

I am sure that if another dog gets caught in a bodygripping trap or snare, there will be a regulation change. Regulation changes are not as bad as legislation because as the New York trappers associations past president said, "regulation is easier to change than legislation." New York just went through a dog being killed in a bodygripping trap and had to work with the Department of Natural Resources to format new trapping regulation to keep the legislature from making changes.

Great. Good to know, that when the trapping interests work with state wildlife departments to make regulation changes ostensibly to better protect companion animals from falling victim to body crushing traps, they do so with the intent of eventually weakening those regulations.

O.k., so I already knew that, but still.

The report also noted that

problems have arisen in every state that bodygripping traps and snares can be legally set.

Again, I knew that, but good to know that they know it too and, as such, are lying through their teeth when they suggest otherwise to the public.

Next, on the issue of the economic importance of trapping. The New Jersey Trappers Association report noted,

I hope everyone is planning to get out and have fun. Lord knows we will not be doing this for the money.

The Vermont Trappers Association shed some light on the depth of the science it uses in determining whether wildlife populations are healthy,

By the amount of road kill I am seeing, there is no shortage of critters this year.

And back to the previous point about money, he also notes,

If you are in this sport to get rich you are fooling yourself ... most trappers do it for the fun of being outside and not the mighty buck.

I can think of a lot of other ways to be outside that do not involve crushing, maiming, and killing animals. Perhaps there is a dearth of creativity in them thar parts.

Vermont Trappers Association also shed some light on enforcement (or lack thereof) of trapping.

...there is a possibility that wardens will no longer respond to your house to tag animals taken by trapping ... I think it's high time to go to a self reporting system where the trapper fills out an annual report on what species he harvests, similar to what we do now. I understand the importance of the fish and wildlife folks to conduct some research on some animals, but this has gone on for years. I guess I personally would need to know what is gained. I do believe it will be a pain in the packbasket to hunt down a warden during their busiest time of the year. ...

Great, so what he is saying is: If a warden won't make a house call to record the number of animals you've killed and you can't be bothered to find a warden (who is really too busy anyway to be bothered), then what should happen is the industry should just regulate itself with a voluntary reporting system. (Don't laugh too hard. Some states actually do this.) Oh, and why the heck does the fish and game agency need to keep track of how many animals are killed anyway when all they have to do just look a the amount of road kill and rest assured that wildlife populations are just fine.

Yeah, right, these are the people we should entrust with the care of our wildlife.

To top it off the October issue ended with a story about a trapper who shot a hole in his own boat after climbing up a tree in pursuit of a raccoon. The tree fell over, his boat was tied to the tree and, well, you get the picture.

These are the self-proclaimed wildlife professionals who assert that trapping is safe, necessary, humane, economically important, and well regulated.

Please ...

Blogging off,


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