Commentary: Trapping is cruel and unnecessary

By Carol Scafuro

As a Vermont resident, do you enjoy the opportunity to observe a majestic bobcat or a playful river otter in the wild? Have you ever had the chance to watch a beaver family, led by a mother and father who mate for life, busily build their family’s lodge?

Did you know that these beloved animals, as well as coyotes, fisher, gray fox, red fox, ermine and others, are caught in steel-jawed leghold and body-crushing kill traps all in the name of tradition and recreation? Hungry, curious animals are attracted to baited traps and find themselves painfully trapped by their limbs; some are caught by their face or other body part.

Many assume that with Vermont’s reputation as a forward-thinking state, it would naturally have laws in place to protect animals from such antiquated and inherently cruel activities. Today, trapping is merely a recreational activity.

Trappers target animals like bobcats and coyotes out of an intolerance for predator species, but these animals play outsized roles in our forests. They prey on small mammals and rodents that may spread diseases like Lyme and otherwise overpopulate. Vermont should be protecting these species, especially since Vermont leads the nation with reported cases of Lyme disease.

Traps on land are to be checked once a day and those in the water, once every three days. But who’s really checking this trap-check requirement? And how would a warden even know how long the animal has been in a trap even if they were checking? Think how those hours tick by if you are the one painfully ensnared and suffering in a trap.

Trapped animals are left vulnerable to predation by other animals and are subject to the harsh elements, whether it’s freezing rain or excessive snowfall, with no means to escape. It is common knowledge that these frantic, terrified animals chew through their own limbs to free themselves. There is photo evidence showing their bloodied paws and mouths from breaking teeth chewing on the metal trap.

Trapped animals are brutally killed by trappers by bludgeoning, strangulation, crushing the chest or drowning — hard to believe these are all common practices. Vermont trappers wouldn’t even support a recent recommendation for a regulation change that would require gunshot only as a means of killing trapped animals.

Here are three quick facts on trapping:

  • Trapping is not needed in Vermont to control disease or to manage populations, according to Vermont Fish & Wildlife themselves.
  • Selling the fur from trapped wildlife is not a viable means of generating income, it’s likely a losing business for trappers.
  • Traps can catch any unsuspecting animal — dogs, cats, even black bears have been trapped in Vermont. They also catch threatened and endangered species like the pine marten.

There are organizations in Vermont whose mission is to advocate for the humane treatment of wildlife, and it is not Vermont Fish & Wildlife. These all-volunteer wildlife protection groups are working for the passage of House Bill H.191 during the current legislative session, which would restrict the use of these traps.

We have a voice in whether or not this practice continues! You can take a stand on this issue and speak for the thousands of animals who suffer and die in traps every year in Vermont. Make your voice heard by contacting your legislators and asking them to support Bill H.191.  You can find out who your legislators are here. For more in depth information about the realities of trapping in Vermont, click here.

Carol Scafuro is an animal activist and Andover resident.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: Commentary

About the Author:

RSSComments (2)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Joshua Carlisle says:

    As a lifelong hunter,outdoorsmen,and former vermont resident i have hunted both in Vermont and Oklahoma where i live and can tell you from first hand experience in the field that in both states if it were not for trappers the hunting aswell the viewing of wildlife species of all types would be vastly diminished because the population of such predators as coyotes, bobcats and nest raiders like racoons ,opossum and river otters would over take such game animals as Whitetails, Wild Turkeys rabbits and Quail,Patridge just to name a few And this is just the first problem then comes the disease theseanimals would bring if left unchecked such as rabbies ,trichinosis just for example not to mention what it would do to the overall food source for all the animals,now if this doesnt have you thinking do you have pets?,Well guess what now a coyote that is looking for a meal just snatched your dog or cat still feel the same about trapping? Also i dont know if you know it or not but traps have evilved over the years they are not the manglers of old some are what you might even call humane but either way however you see it without trapping and hunting potential dangerous diseas and events could be unchecked .

  2. Ruth Congdon says:

    This pamphlet has facts from Vt fish and wildlife it seems to counter some of your claims that you attributed to them!