Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Anti-trapping crowd offers baseless arguments

In response to the anti-trapping hit piece masquerading as journalism …

I would like to condemn the paper for publishing such a one-sided anti-trapping hit piece. Hardly deserving of the Independent. Was this a POW sponsored article? You know, the subversive anti-hunting group which is incrementally working to ban all hunting and trapping in Vermont.

In regard to the article itself, I am not surprised to see the same old baseless arguments brought forth for why trapping should be banned. The anti-trapping crowd love to trot out the usual “inhumane,” “outmoded and harmful,” “unnecessarily painful” emotional appeals. None of these arguments are objective or “science-based” and are purely subjective. Wearing bell bottoms is “outmoded,” Should they be banned? Many think going to the dentist is “unnecessarily painful.” Should we ban dentists? And the classic — “inhumane!” Is it “inhumane” to slaughter cattle, poultry and swine? If so, what is to keep the Legislature from introducing a bill to ban the slaughter? After all, the vast majority consume meat but wouldn’t have the stomach to actually slaughter and process an animal on their own.

Trapping is hardly the danger to biodiversity, the ecosystem, beavers, dogs and our delicate feelings that it is made out to be in this article. Trapping wouldn’t even make the top 10! The greatest threat to biodiversity and the ecosystem in this state is likely development; including by many well-heeled anti-trapping transplants who like to build their play farms and wonderlands in remote areas.

As for beavers, considerably more are killed for interfering with landowners than are ever trapped. Many are also driven out by having their dams destroyed. One well-known peace-loving Lincolnite had no issues asking an excavator operator who had removed a dam to crush the beavers. I know another Lincolnite who destroyed a decades-old large beaver dam and turned prime beaver habitat and wetlands into a horse pasture for one horse! I know another who rerouted an entire brook away from beaver habitat. All in just one town!

And as for dogs, it boggles the mind how anyone can be so irresponsible an owner that they do not have constant knowledge of where their dog is and what it is doing and complete control over it. Apparently, flouting responsible ownership, leash laws and town ordinances are okay, but engaging in lawful regulated trapping is bad. I would add that dogs running at large are a far greater threat to wildlife and people than trapping ever will be. How many deer are brutally run down and torn apart by dogs every year?

This issue goes far beyond trapping. Our government has been taken over by folks who not only introduce countless emotionally driven and feel-good assaults on Constitutional rights and other things that bother them, but feel that they actually have the power to do so. Their actions are repugnant to the Vermont Constitution and our system of governance. And folks cheer them on! Years from now when someone introduces a bill to eviscerate our new Article 22 rights, will the same folks be cheering?

There is nothing more oppressive than a self-righteous majority. Such a majority can run roughshod over the minority. Remember, it was a majority who elected Hitler. It was a majority that voted for maintaining slavery and later segregation in the South. It was the majority, including then Senator Biden, who passed the Defense of Marriage Act. Ninety-nine out of a hundred in favor of something, does not make the one wrong or the ninety-nine right.

The fact is that trapping is protected under Section 67 of the Vermont Constitution, a document that this Legislature in particular seems to have zero allegiance or respect for. Trapping is not something that one can just do away with as if one was voting on an appropriations bill.

Leon Smith

Middlebury

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