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COMMITTEE for RESPONSIBLE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

~Committed to Conservation, Education and the Preservation of our Natural Resources~

"Promoting Science Based Wildlife Management Decisions for a Better Massachusetts"

The Great Donor Dupe Pass It On.. Public Attitudes Trapping Facts Trap Facts - HSUS Time to Re-evaluate Despite what....

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Let's take another look at.....

 Regulated Furbearer Management Trapping in Massachusetts

  .......We need to take a closer look at the effectiveness of our current laws and policies governing how we currently manage our resident furbearers - which include beaver, muskrat, raccoon, opossum, skunk, fisher, fox and coyote. Everyone benefits from a reasonable, responsible, and flexible state regulated approach to wildlife management.  However, in order for this to happen, public support is critical and education is paramount. 

Common Sense.....

    A simple, yet elusive concept in this modern age where sensational media campaigns and vivid true color images can trump science, mundane facts and  above all - the truth.  No matter what the opposition claims, they can not prove the 1996 trapping ban in Massachusetts has improved the welfare of a single living animal, let alone an entire species.  In fact, just the opposite can be argued.  The anti-trapping advocates continue to claim that animal/human conflicts are primarily a "people" problem and we need to learn to live with the wildlife around us; after all we have infringed on their habitat.  While this may be true, like many of their claims and positions it only addresses half the issue.  Removing the ability to effectively manage these furbearers has further perpetuated conflicts and reduced some of our valuable wildlife resources to the status of problem animals.  Twelve years of non-existent furbearer management in Massachusetts has not only negatively impacted the health and balance of our ecosystems, it has severely discriminated against rural Massachusetts residents attempting to live closer to the land and is creating a greater disconnect with it as time ticks by.  It  has increased our negative interactions with wildlife, some only being viewed as pests that attack our children, flood yards, carry disease, or chase down beloved pets before our very eyes.  In addition, as the cost of living rises at every turn, rural people who would benefit the most from a reasonable, effective furbearer management strategy are literally being left out in the cold.  While trappers’ numbers were relatively small before the ban (around 7000), their contributions to conservation and maintaining healthy ecosystems in our state were exponential.  

  Since 1996, our wildlife and their populations have done exactly what is expected of them.  Furbearers such as beaver, raccoon and coyote continue to reproduce every year.  These animals cycle through life and continue to live, reproduce, increase in numbers and reduce in numbers.  Where the true question lies for us is whether or not we as a society should be proactively involved in their cycle of life and death; is it necessary and if so, to what extent should that involvement be?  Every state and federal wildlife agency including our own here in Massachusetts answer these questions with a resounding YES, YES and YES!  It is undeniable that we as a society are leaving our indelible mark on the natural world.  Because of this indisputable fact, we have an inherent responsibility to our future generations and wildlife be intimately involved in the protection and management of it.  This involvement fosters a better understanding and builds the foundation for future conservationists with substance.  Modern day regulated furbearer trapping literally helps ensure healthy wild populations.  It is an indisputable fact that habitat loss and potential climate change issues are the biggest threat to our wildlife.  Any time in history, where there has been a ban on furbearer trapping, within a short period of time amendments are made to allow for some form of regulated trapping.  This fact is inescapable

  While the cycle of life continues, it is critical that we as a modern society not always equate cruelty with death when done by human hands as the animal rights proponents suggest; for it is permanently intertwined with life – no one, or thing can cheat death.  Death by natural causes in the wild, if held to our societal standard would be considered brutal and extremely inhumane.  It usually comes slowly with a heavy hand, in the form of mange, distemper, parvo-virus or a host of other devastating diseases lasting for weeks to months.  Death is inevitable for every living thing – death is undeniable.  Even in the mist of these facts, wildlife managers, trappers, hunters and veterinarians all agree that the welfare of the animal is priority, if we are to be involved in managing them.  This is not only desirable, it’s essential for our own humanity. 

  Over the past decade, there have been significant efforts by state and federal agencies to focus on the most effective, efficient and humane methods and tools to manage wild furbearing populations.  They have dedicated millions of dollars and entire careers to do this, all the while keeping the welfare of the animal as top priority.  Best Management Practices for Trapping in the United States” (BMP’s) are the result of these efforts.  They are a culmination of scientific study and effort by 100’s if not 1000’s of dedicated professionals.  It’s time for Massachusetts to move forward, out of this era of emotional ideology dictating the health and welfare of our wildlife and into a new era of responsibility.  We need to take a hard look at our current state laws restricting the use of widely accepted and tested restraint devices.

  It is true that the majority of the general public will never have the desire or need to participate in the activity of furbearer wildlife management.  However, these individuals should not be misled and misinformed by the hidden agendas of unscrupulous animal rights groups when it comes to forming their own opinions on the use of modern regulated trapping to manage our furbearer populations proactively.  Jim Beers, a career US Fish & Wildlife and ardent conservationist said it best;

"Explaining the misinformation and hidden agendas behind so much that passes for environmental and animal right "progress" today is like criticizing public education or bureaucracy.   That is to say you are easily pigeonholed as "old-fashioned", "ignorant","dangerous", or simply a liar."

People need to take a look at the all the information presented with a skeptical eye, consider the sources, be reasonable and above all, make sure they have the facts.

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Last modified: June 30, 2012