Sent to pentragraph.com - a newspaper out of Bloomington -
To the Editor:
In Scott Richardson's recent column about the National
Trappers Association convention in Bloomington, (Trappers' convention comes
to Twin Cities, August 8) NTA spokesman Scott Hartman implied that trapping
is needed to limit exposure to serious diseases, including rabies. Contrary
to the opinions of Mr. Hartman and the pro-trapping crowd, the truth is that
trapping does not keep the number of diseased animals in check, but actually
spreads diseases such as rabies and mange.
In his book Jaws of Steel, former trapper Thomas Eveland,
Ph.D. explains that many claims made by trappers are simply not supported by
the scientific literature. Eveland quotes from a 1973 report entitled
"Control of Rabies” by the National Academy of Science: "Persistent trapping
or poisoning campaigns as a means to rabies control should be abolished.
There is no evidence that these costly and politically attractive programs
reduce either wildlife reservoirs or rabies incidence. The money can be
better spent on research, vaccination, compensation to stockmen for losses,
education or warning systems."
Ten years later, Fromm Laboratories issued a report
entitled "Report on Rabies." The report reads in part: "Trapping to control
rabies is considered to be an exercise in futility in the face of a rabies
outbreak, because the disease itself will limit the population, and
clinically rabid animals are rarely caught in traps."
Gary Suhowatsky, a research analyst who was employed by
the New York State Department of Health, testified before the New York State
Assembly Subcommittee on Wildlife in 1977. He testified that “trapping
selectively kills the healthiest and most mobile animals in the population
and leaves behind the most sickly and sedentary members to perpetuate the
spread of, and elevate the incidence in, the diseases in wildlife
populations.” “Nothing short of a total ban on trapping will ever restore
health to our wild animal populations,” added Suhowatsky.
The facts speak for themselves. Expert research has
concluded that trapping for disease prevention is nothing but a myth
perpetrated upon an uninformed populace. Unfortunately for the animals, the
spread of this myth is as lethal to them as the spread of disease.
Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc.
PO Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561