Wolf Song of Alaska News

Nothing Humane in Trapping

Letters / Peninsula Clarion / November 16, 2007

 

The hypocrisy of Mr. (Laine) Lanhdt's recent statements (Clarion, Oct. 29), attempting to justify trapping, was amazing.

First, his statement that a natural death is always more agonizing than a snare or leghold trap defies reasoned logic.

Given the length of time, often measurable in days or weeks, that an animal spends caught by a leghold trap is hardly preferable to many forms death takes in the natural world. (Yes, some deaths in nature are gruesome and trappers are required to check their traps.)

Even more extreme, the snare that doesn't quite kill but keeps the animal semi-strangled is hardly an easy way to go.

Then there is the hypocrisy of "respecting something" while finding so much pleasure in destroying it. That's a very bizarre respect. I believe the animal caught in a snare would rather its right to live be accorded some respect. As for the recreational trapper, what's recreation to them is life and death for the animals they target.

Alaska loses a little bit of itself with each wolf that dies in a snare, each bear shot from the air, each leghold that strips the flesh from the limb as the animal struggles vainly to escape its steel jaws.

There's nothing humane in that; just a fur sold so someone in the Lower 48 can look glamorous at their next big party.

Eventually, like all the other states that used to have intact, healthy populations of furbearers, we see ours diminished with each trap that closes in lethal embrace.

Consider your dog stepping into a leghold or snare. Fish and Game has no numbers on how many nontargeted species are lost to traps each year. And as long as the trappers' groups have any political pull, such a study will never be done.

Mark Twain once said, "Man is the only animal that blushes ... or needs to." To paraphrase him I would say, "Man is the only animal that is hypocritical ... or needs to be."

John Toppenberg
Soldotna

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