You are walking your dog in the foothills of a mountain. Your pet sniffs the air and detects a mouth-watering scent and wanders off in search of the prize. The aroma didn’t come from any benevolent source; it was bait used in a Conibear trap that was set out to catch a raccoon. Your companion animal is caught by the head and you cannot release her before she suffocates in your arms. This has happened and will happen again if trapping on public land is allowed to continue.
Trapping, while perfectly legal in many parts of the country, is a vulgar activity. The traps cause unbelievable suffering, including ripped flesh, broken bones, crushed pelvises, swelling and blood loss. The most insidious traps are the steel-jawed leghold traps, which many people believe to have been banned.
The only justification for trapping animals is to skin them, process the skin and then make them into coats and stoles for narcissistic little twits to wear when they go out on Saturday night. All of the fur coats in the world are not worth the bone wrenching screams of a single animal caught in these mindless traps.
Trappers can kill and skin a coyote and sell the hide for $2. What do they do with coyote skins? Have you ever seen anyone walking around wearing a coyote coat? They can sell skunk and raccoon skins for about $5, but they will get close to $30 for a bobcat kitten! Who on earth would want to wear the skins of kittens? Many trappers admittedly don’t trap for the money because it isn’t a moneymaking business. They do it for fun.
They capture, mangle, mutilate, kill and skin animals for fun! The National Trappers Association (NTA) is trying to defend its insidious activity of trapping on public land and it is lobbying various state agencies to allow this to go on. They are using a number of vacuous arguments. They contend that leghold traps are humane. This is patently absurd as leghold traps are extremely inhumane. Research on this subject shows that it is true that newer padded traps cause less injury than unpadded ones when they close. However, injuries can be divided into two parts. One is when the trap closes; the other is the aftermath as the animal struggles against it. In this latter category, padded traps still
result in muscle, ligament, tendon and nerve injuries along with broken teeth as the animal bites the steel. Even if the case can be made that padded traps are more humane, only a tiny fraction of trappers own and use these traps.
Trappers like to lump themselves in with hunters because they know that without the hunters, they cannot win. But hunting is fundamentally different from trapping. The hunter must be present throughout the stalk. The trapper can be home drinking beer while the trap is destroying the heart and soul of a helpless animal. In New Mexico, it is illegal to shoot an animal at night- even a coyote. Traps do their job all night long. It is illegal for hunters to sell the meat of the animals they kill. The purpose of trapping is the sale of the skin. It is illegal for hunters to use a scent attractant to get an unfair advantage over their prey.
Trappers use these to attract the animals to their traps. Hunters have bag limits. Trappers can kill and kill and kill without limit of any kind on any species. Hunters, if they are ethical, will identify their target and take careful aim to insure a quick and clean death. Trapping is indiscriminate and anything but quick and clean. A helpless animal, in excruciating pain will get his skull bashed in, usually with a pipe or shovel. Then the trapper stands on his chest to be sure he is dead. The NM department of Game and Fish thinks this is a suitable activity for children and gives them a bargain on the license fee if they are between the ages of 12 to 17. If this is considered family values by our government agencies, we are in trouble.