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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