For the Monitor
On April 21, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is hosting its annual Discover Wild N.H. Day. During this event the department showcases a dying recreational activity, furbearer trapping.
Recreational by definition denotes activity done for enjoyment. Indeed, New Hampshire trappers truly enjoy what they do. They discuss it on their social media sites and trapping forums with vigor and excitement. They describe checking their traplines as akin to “being a kid on Christmas morning.” They will defend their activities by shouting words like “conservation,” “management tool,” “necessary” and “humane.” Do not be fooled, none of those words truly pertains to recreational trapping.
Wild animals in New Hampshire have the least amount of protection by law. They are viewed by the government as resources and commodities to be harvested.
Now Fish and Game of course wants to put out that they are animal-friendly and guardians of our precious wildlife. They do this by only posting pictures of cute animals that are still alive on their social media outlets and website, and selling magazines with cute animal facts and pictures.
Let’s be clear. I have done my homework. I have researched trapping and trappers themselves. What is sold to the public is completely contrary to reality. They do not see these animals as sentient beings, but as objects to collect. They look at animals as people look at shiny rocks that might be collected on the beach. They do not care that some of these animals mate for life, have families, or maintain a delicate social structure through natural selection.
Recreational trappers will go out into the middle of nowhere, at a place where these animals are not bothering humans in the slightest, and set traps. Non-target catches are a given, as witnessed by the bald eagle that was flying around last year with a leghold trap attached to him. Trappers keep at this basically unchallenged because a division of our government supports them and bolsters the facade of importance that trappers spew. Fish and Game will give the canned response of how recreational trapping is “highly regulated and humane.” Here is a taste of what they consider humane:
Hounds are allowed to rip apart trapped animals here in our state. Also, bats, rocks and fists are used to bludgeon animals, and it is claimed that the AVMA says that is humane. How many of you, if you needed to euthanize your dog or cat, would use a baseball bat to beat your pet to death and call it humane? Body-gripping traps as well do not always kill instantly. I have seen and saved many pictures of animals still alive in these traps.
If there is a clear image of animal torture, it is seeing one of those pictures of a suffering animal’s eyes in a body-gripping trap.
In addition, I have seen video from a New Hampshire trapper of a raccoon with his paw in a trap pleading with his eyes as the trapper approaches. The trapper then proceeds to put a trap over the raccoon’s head to crush it with incredible force.
Enough is enough. We will be out there as well demonstrating on Saturday, April 21, to educate about the reality of recreational trapping and shatter the myths. These animals have suffered long enough. Please join us from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Concord on April 21.
(Kristina Snyder lives in Chester.)