Letter to the Editor of The New York Times
by Susan Gordon
Susan Gordon is a superb letter-writer:
After The New York Times printed an article glorifying trapping,
Susan wrote the following letter. The Times didn't print it, but
Your 2/19 article bemoaning the dying fur trapping trade was
an abomination. Can we next expect an article weeping over the
demise of the drug trade, which would put drug dealers out of business?
What compassionate person would not welcome the dying of an
activity which causes suffering and death, rather than the dying
of the animal victims?
You compare the decline of this cruel activity to the decline
of chamber music? To compare one of the most uplifting pursuits
of humans to one of the most heinous, is absurd. The decline of
trapping should more be compared to the decline of The Third Reich,
both examples of human behavior at its basest.
Hank Dam, whose lessening opportunities to torture animals,
you lament, should be in jail for his cruelty, not deified by a
world class newspaper.
Dam labels those with compassion as "bunny huggers".
Praise be that I'm a bunny hugger, not a bunny killer. He is now
forced to make most of his income removing "nuisance" animals
from private property. How sad that humans choose to vilify and
kill those animals whose homes have been lost to development, instead
of sharing the homes stolen from the animals, with them. It is
clear from the bloody human history of war and exploitation that
violence and greed, not coexistence and compassion have marked
human action toward both animals and other humans. This is what
the Times is celebrating. ALL abuse is wrong, no matter the victim.
Trapping, in addition to being comparable, in its cruelty,
to the Inquisition, has been proven to be worthless in controlling
both animal numbers and rabies. As far back as 1973, Dr. William
Winkler of the Centers for Disease Control stated, "There
is no evidence that these costly and politically attractive programs
reduce either wildlife reservoirs or rabies incidence." Trappers
killed a combined average of 500,000 raccoons a year in PA, DE,
MD, VA, WV, and NJ throughout the 1980's without having any visible
impact upon either the raccoon population or the spread of the
disease. It was WV trappers, in fact, who started the mid-Atlantic
rabies pandemic by illegally importing rabid raccoons from FL to
WV during the 1970's, in order to supply themselves with more live
I enjoy the wildlife in my backyard. The joy they bring is
incomparable. The appearance of Mr. Dam, in my backyard, however,
would be as welcomed as anthrax. Your specious article mentions
the diseases carried by animals. There are many more diseases which
humans can transmit to each other, than animals can transmit to
humans, so if one of your rationales for brutally killing animals
is disease control, you'd better enlarge those traps to human size.
If you think that the torturous taking of a raccoon's life
is justified because of the $3 it makes for Trapper Dam, is there
any profit making activity you would oppose (no matter how small
the profit and how large the suffering)?
To compare the face of an animal slaughtered for greed to that
of a peacefully sleeping drunk, defies comment.
The article ends with the heroic trapper angered by a cat who
had the temerity to be killed in a trap meant for an animal whose
torture and death would have yielded a profit. I could barely control
my tears at the tragedy this trapper endures at the hands of bunny
huggers and uncooperative animal victims.
If the writer of the article, Charlie LeDuff, chooses to get
off of his DUFF and become a real journalist, rather than a mouthpiece
for animal abusers, he can start by writing from the perspective
of the REAL victims.