Last night, our local CBS channel (KPAX) had a “special report” about trapping on public land on the ten o’clock news. It turned out to be just “part one;” the second part should air tonight. Part one made me extremely cranky, especially right before bed.
Here’s the story. The text on this page is most of what they covered in the story:
They spent most of the time talking to trappers and people who support trapping as a “traditional way of life.” They alluded to people who oppose trapping, but sort of implied that the opposition is mostly concerned with the animals that are being harvested via trapping. They didn’t mention at all that much of the opposition is about safety of the people and pets that are also out in the public lands.
For example, the trapper they talked to said he didn’t see that this was any different from hunting or from hooking a fish. And, from the perspective of cruelty to wild animals, that’s mostly true – the animal ends up dead either way. I would point out that at least the hunter or the fisherman normally kills the animal cleanly, not leaving it to perhaps suffer for hours or days. But set aside that issue for a moment.
My big issue is that I don’t want to see one of my dogs get caught in a trap. I’ve heard too many horror stories. The trapper they interviewed sounded relatively responsible, but not all people doing this are going to do things the right way. Some will set their traps right near trailheads, for example. What a lazy way to “hunt!”
Then there was this quote from a Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks spokesman:
We certainly respect the opinions of those people that are opposed, there are differing opinions on hunting, fishing, trapping – you name it. That’s personal opinion and some of it’s the result of information they’ve heard that maybe correct, or incomplete or inaccurate information. It’s a value thing and people have different opinions which they’re entitled to,” he added.
Nothing in there even hints at the fact that people might be opposed for safety reasons, not because of “differing opinions on hunting.” And I totally don’t get the “value” thing. Yes, I value my dogs being alive and safe and unhurt. Is that what he means by “value thing?”
And again the trapper they interviewed:
It’s the perception that we’re these people that are beating animals over the head with a club – and that’s not true,” Kempthorne told us.
No, actually, I didn’t have that perception. I had the “perception” that you left dangerous traps (perhaps even baited with food) in areas where pets out for a hike in the woods might stumble over them and be hurt or killed. And nothing in the interview or overall report did anything to erase that perception of trapping.
Anyway, I suppose I will tune in to the news again tonight for part two, and see if the “special report” gives a fair hearing to the other side, and clarifies the reasons people oppose trapping. But so far, I was not very impressed.