Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

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Letters to the Editor and Others

Trapping is Nothing to Glorify

Sent to The Missourian on 1/6/04

To the Editor:

I was saddened to see an article glorifying animal trapping "Freddie Cox, Fur Trapper" published in the January 2, edition of the Missourian.

In this article, Joan Elliott writes about only one side of the dying fur trapping trade, that seen by Mr. Freddie Cox. Ms. Elliott failed to mention the group that is most impacted by fur trapping: the animals who are its victims. These unfortunate animals would tell a very different story about trapping if they were able.

The most widely used device in the Missouri trappers' basket is the steel jaw leghold trap. This trap is deemed inhumane by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and has been banned in over 88 countries and several US states. Its' use has been known to cause broken bones, torn tendons and skin lacerations in the animals unfortunate enough to fall victim to its deadly steel jaws. Victims of these traps are not limited to the species that the trapper is looking to kill.

Legally placed traps designed to attract other animals have trapped companion dogs and cats, and endangered and threatened species. Given the indiscriminate nature of trapping, there is not a trapper in the world who can prevent such occurrences from happening.

Animals such as raccoons have been known to gnaw off their feet to escape the clutches of these barbaric devices, often breaking off their teeth as they bite at the steel jaws that hold with a vise-like grip. The animals who do manage to gnaw off their feet and escape will often fall victim to infections or predators who take advantage of their crippling injuries.

If an animal is unable to free herself from the trap, she is shot, bludgeoned or strangled to death by the trapper upon his return, which may legally be several days later in certain states.

Another kind of trap commonly used by Missouri trappers is the conibear - or "body crushing" trap. Many trappers believe that this type of trap is humane because it supposedly kills an animal instantly upon being trapped in its cold steel grip.

This, however, is not the case. An article in American Trapper magazine - a trapping industry publication - describes how beavers can be caught in the largest of these traps (a number 330) and still be alive when released some time later. In cases of these traps being used to kill beavers, the beaver is held underwater until she drowns. Beavers commonly hold their breath for long periods of time in the course of their day-to-day activities, so drowning them is a prolonged, terrifying process.

The AVMA has stated that drowning animals is not a humane way to kill animals.

When examining what effects trapping has on its tiny victims (muskrats killed in traps can weigh less than a pound) it is clear that it is an inhumane, barbaric practice that has no place in a modern, civilized society.

Trappers and game agencies present a sanitized view of trapping to the public in order to profit from their gruesome trade.

Thankfully, the public largely does not believe their propaganda, as evidenced by a reduction in the number of trappers nationwide over the past twenty years.

In this New Year of 2004 let us strive toward a peaceful world where we can live in harmony with the other animals we share our planet with.

For more information on trapping or the fur industry in general please contact the Wildlife Watch at 845-256-1400 or http://wildwatch.org/ . Together we can make the world a more peaceful, livable place for all who call it home.

Joe Miele - Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561
201-368-8271

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