BUSTING THE MYTHS AROUND NORTH AMERICAN TRAPPING
The people of the United States and Canada have long counted on trapping as a source of food, clothing, and income. Trapping has always been a big part of being self-sufficient, providing for one’s family, and being a steward of the land. The values of hunters and trappers are deeply ingrained into our society and culture. Today, trapping is used to deal with wildlife that damages property, encourage wildlife management, provide food, and as both primary and supplemental income. In fact, conservewildlife.org says, “Fur trapping can be particularly important… and may provide the only source of income for specific times of the year.” Sportsmen’s Alliance reports that, “According to the Fur Information Council of America (FICA), U.S. fur sales were a staggering $1.39 billion in 2013. The market created more than 32,000 full-time jobs and an additional 155,000 part-time jobs for seasonal workers.” It encourages today’s youth to live off the land, appreciate nature, and use all you can from the animals that you harvest. Most of all, it gives hunters another tool to manage wildlife. Trapping is essential to catching, studying, and limiting the populations of any particular animal. Much like hunters, trappers can inhibit the extreme growth of certain populations that threaten other species and the environment. The practice allows wildlife biologists to more effectively study the animals and their populations, as well as relocate wildlife populations to areas that they no longer inhabit. For example, fishwildlife.org says, “The restoration of river otters in Missouri was made possible through the use of trapping as a management tool.” Endangered species such as whooping cranes, sea turtles, and black footed ferrets are shown to depend on well-regulated trapping to limit the populations of predators that could devastate their species, and trapping can eradicate disease outbreaks amongst wildlife. When it comes to wildlife management, trapping is right up there with hunting as far as effectiveness and necessity for the promotion of local ecosystems and population maintenance. So why are people so adamantly against trapping? One explanation is that they may be susceptible to the myths surrounding trapping that are perpetuated by radical animal rights activists. Despite the countless positive aspects of trapping, those extremists who think that any utilization of animals by humans is inhumane will always spread lies about the community and supposed harm to these animals. The first and most prominent of these myths is that trapped animals wait for days to suffocate or starve to death. This is absolutely false. According to our friends at The Truth About Fur:
“Most wild furbearers – over 90 per cent, in Canada – are now killed virtually instantly in quick-killing traps. Larger predators like wolves, coyotes, lynx and foxes are usually taken in the live-holding traps, because killing devices for such large animals would be dangerous to use. These predators are killed with a small-caliber firearm; that is the method recommended by trapper-training manuals across North America.”
Either way, the animal is given a quick death and does not suffer. The specialized and extremely-regulated traps were designed with the animals in mind. This leads us to myth number two: Animals are skinned alive. Simply false. As we said before, as many as 90% of all trapped animals in Canada are killed instantly. Skinning an animal alive would not even make sense for the operator. A live, moving, animal would put the trapper at risk of bites, scratches, and even getting cut with his or her own knife, creating risk of infection and disease. The Truth About Fur reports:
“The only “evidence” for this often repeated claim is a horrific video on the internet…when this video first appeared, the International Fur Federation requested the full, uncut film – and information about when and where the incident occurred – in order to conduct a full investigation. These requests went unanswered, a strange reaction from groups claiming to be concerned about animal welfare. Unless, of course, someone was paid to do these horrible acts for the camera and the real objective was to drive animal rights campaigning…and fund-raising?”
That is a pretty hefty accusation, but not one that we would put past the more radical groups. The final myth we will be addressing is that the fur trade is filled with pelts from domesticated animals like cats and dogs. In North America, half of the pelts we produce come from trappers taking animals from the wild. These include muskrat, beaver, raccoon, marten, fox, coyote, bobcat, and lynx. The use of cat or dog furs is not and has not been acceptable in the extremely-regulated fur market. For a full list of fur types you can visit Fur Commission USA, where you will find that furs from domesticated animals are not accepted for trade. Another great thing about real fur is that it is more ethically and environmentally sustainable than faux or fake fur. If you don’t believe us, just ask Greenpeace. Trust us, that’s something we never thought we would be typing either, but when it comes to the sustainability of fur there is some common ground. Many organizations known for their concern over the environment are now in full support of the sustainable use of real fur. Why? Because we are using a renewable product, use all of the animals in an ethical way, and create biodegradable products that are safe for the planet. Faux fur on the other hand, which radical animal rights activists would rather you wear, is petroleum based and can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Fake fur is also made with three times the amount of non-renewable energy as real fur, and “there isn’t any doubt that the environmental impact of fake fur is profoundly worse than fur-farming” and trapping. One example of the negative impact of faux fur can be found in a 2011 paper for the Environmental Science & Technology Journal, which says with every machine wash “each garment releases an average of 1,900 tiny particles of plastic, which are then swilled into rivers, lakes and, eventually, the sea.” This isn’t just propaganda coming from fur trappers and farmers, this is a phenomena supported by environmentalists all over the world. Trapping has an important place in North American wildlife and industry. It is imperative that we do not let radical animal rights extremists ruin the image of such a beneficial practice. The well-regulated trapping industry is one that is humane, sustainable, and vital to North American families, animals, and land. We support trapping and the North American fur trade because we support animals, the environment, and tradition. ***A special thanks to our sources behind this article that provided in-depth information like veterinarian interviews and economic research, including: The Truth About Fur, Conserve Wildlife, Sportsmen’s Alliance, and The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.