Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

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Letters to the Editor and Others

Trappers and the spread of rabies

Sent to pentragraph.com - a newspaper out of Bloomington - Normal, Illinois

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
201-368-8271

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