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The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Fall 2009 Issue
Ask Uncle Joe
BY JOE MIELE
GOT A QUESTION FOR UNCLE JOE?
YOU CAN E-MAIL IT TO ASKUNCLEJOE@HOTMAIL.COM .
WOULD YOU RATHER SNAIL MAIL YOUR QUESTION? SEND IT TO: ASK UNCLE JOE,
C/O WILDLIFE WATCH, BOX 562, NEW PALTZ, NY 12561.
UNCLE JOE GETS A LOT OF MAIL SO DONíT BE OFFENDED IF HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION IN THE COURIER. HECK, HEíS GOTTA WORK A DAY JOB, TOO.
Letters are printed as received. They are unedited.
Dear readers: More of Uncle Joe" can be found online at:
Dear Uncle Joe:
Animal trapping is a necessary tool to keep populations down and to
produce natural, biodegradable clothing. It is a tradition that is
beneficial to the environment. Animal fur is softer and warmer when made
into clothing. If cared for properly, clothing made from animal fur can
survive for generations. However, when thrown out, they are very
biodegradable and will disappear into the soil in a few months. Fake
furs are made through oil and chemical processes that can take more than
100 years to degrade when thrown out.
Trappers also help to control animal populations, and when there is no
hunting or trapping, some animal populations grow out of control. As
animal populations grow too large, there is an increased risk of animals
becoming sick, spreading disease to other animals and eventually to
You're doing your readers a disservice when you decry trapping and the
vitally important role it plays in sound wildlife management.
Your comments about fur trapping being beneficial to the environment is
based on faulty research and when the facts are examined, trapping exposes
itself as being cruel to animals, a waste of energy, and a way to spread
You claim that fur clothing can survive for generations and is biodegradable
when trashed, but this statement is only half true. It is because fur
garments can survive for generations that they are very unfriendly to the
environment. Before being made into clothing, animal skins have to be
preserved, often with carcinogens, to prevent them from stinking and
A study cited in the Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental
Health identified toxic chemicals such as lead acetate, hexavalent chromium,
arsenic tans, sulfuric acid, formaldehyde, and chromium acetate being used
in fur production. If fur garments were biodegradable they would begin to
rot once exposed to moisture, oxygen, and sunlight. Obviously, that's not
Additionally, a study conducted by the Scientific Research Lab of Ford
Motor Co. and sponsored by the Department of Interior found that it takes
3.6 times the total amount of energy to produce a coat made from trapped
animals than it takes to make a fake fur coat.
You're also wrong that the absence of trapping would bring with it an
"increased risk of animals becoming sick (and) spreading disease to other
animals and eventually to humans." According to an article from the August
7, 2001 edition of the Hartford Courant, "the World Health Organization and
the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (recommend) that
trapping not be used to control rabies because it eliminates a healthy
buffer population that impedes the spread of the disease."
Additionally, Gary Suhowatsky, a research analyst formerly of the New York
State Department of Health, testified before the State Assembly Subcommittee
on Wildlife that trapping kills the healthiest animals in wildlife
populations and leaves behind the most sickly members to spread diseases,
saying "Nothing short of a total ban on trapping will ever restore health to
our wild animal populations."
The truth is that trapping is cruel to animals (banned in 89 countries
throughout the world, leg-hold traps can break bones and tear tendons and
ligaments in the animals who become their victims), is harmful to the
environment, and facilitates the spread of disease.
Dear Uncle Joe:
Your arguements are a joke, all the people hurt or injured
in hunting incidents are almost all hunters themselves. We're not just
shooting inocent people like you believe.
Maryland Heights, MO
Thanks for confirming for us that the people most often shot by hunters are
Dear Uncle Joe:
What effect does hunting have on deer- car collisions? The hunters just
attribute it to the rut.
Avon Lake, Ohio
The Erie Insurance Company consistently reports that the most dangerous days
for deer/car collisions are the opening day and the opening Saturday of deer
hunting season. While deer are indeed on the move during the rut, the rut
cannot explain why these two specific days are responsible for the most
accidents. Hunting is clearly a significant cause of these collisions.
Additionally, a 2004 report released by the Ontario Ministry of
Transportation report cites deer hunting as a major cause of car collisions.
The report states that "in Ontario, higher numbers of animal-vehicle
collisions were found to occur in October- December. This could be
attributed to fall hunting seasons (Sept.20-Dec15), where people chase and
force animals into rights of way. When animals are being shot at, they run
and may venture onto highways."
The report also confirms that most wild animal collisions occur during early
morning (5am-7am) or after sunset (5pm-11pm). These are the times sport
hunters are also most active. I hope this information is helpful.
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