Trapping is just a form of animal torture

Monday, April 09, 2018

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.)


Trump to Strip Alaska Park and Refuge Wildlife Protection

Directives to Expand Hunting and Trapping Launch Long, Uncertain Legal Process

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is taking aim at restrictions on recreational hunting and trapping inside national parks and refuges in Alaska, according to directives posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  The regulations limit questionable hunting techniques, such as killing bear cubs and sows with cubs, luring grizzlies with rotting meat, trapping and snaring bears, and killing wolves while they are raising pups, among other controversial methods.

In a pair of July 14, 2017 memos, Virginia Johnson,  Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, orders the acting directors of the National Park Service (NPS) and theU.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), “to initiate a rulemaking process to reconsider” each of their agency rules. She cites “various prohibitions that directly contradict State of Alaska authorizations and wildlife management decisions.”

The essential conflict is that Alaska encourages lethal removal of predators in order to increase the supply of game animals while the federal agencies are charged with sustaining all native wildlife – including predators.  Traditional federal-state cooperation in wildlife management has broken down in recent years and has been replaced with lawsuits from the state and political acrimony.

“Alaska’s national parks and wildlife refuges are required by federal law to be managed not as private game reserves but to protect natural diversity, including natural predator-prey dynamics,” said Rick Steiner, a retired University of Alaska professor and PEER board member, pointing out that lethal control on park boundaries are devastating in-park wolf populations.  “The State of Alaska’s unethical predator control practices have no place in modern society, and certainly not on Alaska’s magnificent national parks and refuges.”

What happens next is unclear.  The Park Service will have to begin a lengthy rulemaking process which will take years.  Meanwhile the NPS 2015 rules remain in effect.  In addition, the factors cited by Ms. Johnson are political in nature and not a legitimate basis for regulation. Further, the NPS is constrained by statutory mandates that a Trump White House cannot fiat away. Thus, assuming a new rule is promulgated before Trump leaves office, it will almost certainly be swarmed by litigation challenging its validity.

The path for the refuge rules is even murkier.  Congress purportedly rescinded these 2016 rules earlier this year through a disapproval resolution under the Congressional Review Act.  Under that law, FWS would be forbidden from reenacting similar rules without congressional authorization.  Consequently, it is uncharted territory as to what, if anything, FWS can do, absent Congress.  Further complicating matters is an ongoing lawsuit challenging the application of the Congressional Review Act to these refuge rules.

“Team Trump says they do not want to give away federal lands but are apparently open to having them mismanaged,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the rules do not apply to subsistence hunting or restrict the taking of wildlife for public safety purposes or defense of property. “Like most Trump initiatives, this one is ill-considered and likely ineffective but guaranteed to waste a lot of time.”

Ironically, this is unfolding even as the State of Alaska is conceding that killing wolves is not a big factor in increasing the caribou population in one large area — the stated goal of predator control. But Alaska is waiting until next year to reconsider this program.


Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national alliance of local state and federal resource professionals. PEER’s environmental work is solely directed by the needs of its members. As a consequence, we have the distinct honor of serving resource professionals who daily cast profiles in courage in cubicles across the country.

Over 60 wildlife species at risk in Canada’s changing North

WHITEHORSEMay 1, 2017 /CNW/ – Atlantic Walrus and Eastern Migratory Caribou are at risk of extinction. So concluded the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), which met in WhitehorseApril 23-28. The number of Canadian northern wildlife species considered to be at risk now stands at 62.

“A new area of study is the field that some of us are beginning to call social traps.
The term refers to situations in society that contain traps formally like a fish trap,
where men or whole societies get themselves started in some direction or some
set of relationships that later prove to be unpleasant or lethal and that they see
no easy way to back out of or to avoid.”
John Platt. Social Traps. American Psychologist, August 1973
“Booms have consequences.”
Grant, James. Money of the Mind : Borrowing and Lending in America from
the Civil War to Michael Milken. Farrar Straus Giroux. 1992
“It is no coincidence that the deepest and most protracted recessions in
recent decades have taken hold in countries that experienced booms …”
The Economist, July, 2001