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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
23 February Issue

HSUS and Fund For Animals Call For Apology
Source: Michael Markarian, mmarkarian@fund.org

WASHINGTON - Today [February 16], The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals called on State Representative Ronald W. Gauch to publicly apologize for his false charge that a photograph included in an advertisement about trapping in the Boston Globe was a "fabrication." Gauch, who has led the effort in the State House to repeal voter-approved Question 1 and reinstate the use of inhumane and indiscriminate body-gripping traps in the Commonwealth, issued a press statement calling an advertisement from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The Fund for Animals (The Fund) a fraud. The HSUS and The Fund ran the ad in The Boston Globe on February 3, in anticipation of a Senate vote on a modified version of the Gauch bill to weaken Question 1. Voters approved Question 1 in a landslide vote in November 1996, favoring it with a 64 percent majority.

"Representative Gauch has violated the public trust by using his office to make false and scurrilous charges against reputable animal protection organizations," states Wayne Pacelle, a senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States. "In the process, he has damaged his credibility and cast even greater doubt about his effort to substitute his judgment for that of 1.4 million voters who approved Question 1 and sought to ban inhumane traps."

"The fact is, family pets and wildlife are caught in inhumane and indiscriminate traps," adds Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The Fund for Animals. "Laddie, the animal pictured in our advertisement, was just one of many victims caught in the deadly grip of a Conibear trap."

Just days after Gauch made his charge about the authenticity of the photo, the reporter who covered the original incident wrote a column entitled "I remember Laddie." Also, the owner of Laddie, Patricia Cotter of South Natick, wrote, "This was not fraud. This was a very sad experience in our family. Laddie was never the same. The right side of his head was severely affected...as was his hearing."

A statewide poll conducted in early February by Opinion Dynamics revealed that 64 percent of voters oppose any legislation to allow the use of body-gripping traps to kill muskrats and beavers. "Despite propaganda from Gauch and other longtime critics of Question 1, there has been absolutely no attrition in public support for Question 1. Legislators should respect the will of the people, and not follow the lead of legislators prone to make reckless charges," concludes Pacelle of The HSUS.

The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals were two primary backers of Question 1.

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