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Letters to the Editor: Trapping ban is long overdue

Protect our Wildlife opposes a petition by trappers that seeks to extend the season in which otter can be killed in inhumane body-gripping traps for their pelts. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has proposed a rule that would grant the trappers’ request, yet the department has still not provided adequate justification for their support of the proposal.
The department’s lack of justification reflects a history of pandering to trapping interests. When asked to provide justification for this particular rule change, the department has admitted that their position is based solely on anecdotal information from trappers — hardly a reason to support extending trapping season on one of Vermont’s most cherished animals. The department offers the flimsy explanation that they want to extend otter season so that the pelts of otters that are currently killed out of season, by accident in traps set for beavers, can be sold by the trappers. Yet, when we asked the department how many otters are killed out of season, they tell us the average is 0-1. This is a “solution” in search of a problem.
The Fish & Wildlife Department supports this extension for trapper convenience alone — the current rule requires trappers to make minor modifications to traps set for beavers in order to avoid trapping otter out of season, yet the department denies that this is the catalyst. To elevate wildlife management into the 21st century, the department would be well-advised to consider the views of all stakeholders, including those who recognize the intrinsic value of Vermont’s wildlife. Seventy-five percent of Vermonters who were recently polled by the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies want to ban trapping altogether — Fish & Wildlife, are you listening?
Holly Tippett
Protect Our Wildlife
Bristol

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