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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.


Articles From the Winter 1997 Newsletter

by Anne Muller

Ellen Forwalk of Rockland County who found an illegal trap and turned it in to the police and filed charges is a hero for going against criminals. The propaganda that trappers and game agencies put out for their own profit are nothing more than myths and have not a shred of truth to them.  Dispel the myths with the following information obtained from a former trapper, Dr. Thomas Eveland: 1) Trapping may have a serious impact on many threatened and endangered species. Traps are non-specific. Some of the captured and killed are from those categories. Many eagle deaths have been documented, many more go unreported. Trappers claim they don't threaten "game species",  those animals that are permitted to be trapped, however, according to Dr. Eveland, game agencies will not attribute declines to trappers. In the manuals of these agencies, they tell trappers to strike the animal's head twice, stand on the chest and strike the animal!  That is their "humane" killing! Trapping can alter predator/prey relationships.  They take food from other animals and ignore the delicate energy transfer systems.

Trapping does not control disease.  Trappers will say they control disease.   They say wildlife populations are healthier if trapped! In the state of Virginia in the 60s a heavy trapping program was begun to reduce rabies. The program had no effect and some researchers believed it increased rabies. The trapping program interrupted the natural cycles and the foxes' social system.  As foxes were removed from areas, others moved in to search for mates and the outcome led to the disease being spread faster and farther.

Also, because trapping is non-selective, we do not know which animals are caught, the healthy ones or not.  Usually it's the healthy as the sick animals lose their appetite and are not attracted to the bait.  So trapping leaves a disproportionate number of unhealthy animals. Trappers have exploited the public's fear of dreaded disease, but nothing supports that trapping has ever controlled an outbreak of rabies.

In 1973 the National Academy of Science published a report that said, "Persistent trapping or poisoning campaigns as a means to control rabies 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 vaccination." In 1983 Fromm labs wrote that clinically rabid animals are rarely caught in traps. Dr. Lee Talbot, former chief of the President's Council on Environmental Quality gave Congressional testimony that said: "The connection that rabies increases when steel leghold traps are banned seems entirely without merit." Trapping does not control populations-Yes, trappers can kill more small animals with traps than hunters can kill with guns, but do they need to be controlled? In addition to taking prey species, they take predator species as well which are critical in maintaining stable ecosystems. They take scavengers also. They claim that removal of these animals is beneficial. If there is an imbalance trapping may be to blame. In areas where coyotes were not trapped the coyote litter size was 4.3 pups and where it was heavy, the litter size was 6.9.  A species will reproduce more, the fewer animals there are. When muskrats are blamed for "eat-outs" it's trapping that causes it since the predators are trapped.   Also when muskrats eat-out an area they remove much of the old-growth vegetation, opening the marsh and making it more attractive to waterfowl. Muskrat manure is rich in nutrients and will stimulate new growth. "Overpopulation" is used as a scare tactic to get public support. Trapper control predators Dr. Eveland says that attempting to control predators is ludicrous and counterproductive.

Trappers think they become present-day Jeremiah Johnsons by killing little helpless animals. Great mountain men.  But they are little sadists. They drive their 4 wheel drive vehicles and use snowmobiles to set traps wherever and can. They wear waterproof trapping gloves and suits.  They use animal scents.  According to Eveland, "Trappers are outdoor wimps!" They think that because they catch a muskrat in a trap, let it suffer for 10,20, or 30 hours and club it to death with an axe handle that they are great mountain men.  Laws that make the molesting or destruction of traps illegal and punishable by fines and /or imprisonment only guarantee that this brutal sport can continue at the expense of citizens and their pets as well.   These laws must change. Please write to your representatives in Albany.

Return to Winter 1997 Newsletter

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