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To the Editor:

More than 100 countries have banned trapping. It is cruel, inhumane, ineffective, and unnecessary. Best Management Practices that trappers cite is just a euphemism to mask trapping's inherent cruelty.

Coyote attacks are extremely rare. Only when cornered, or fed by humans, or when suffering from rabies do coyotes attack. The Montreal incident resulted in only minor injuries, and the city opted for a policy of co-existence. In contrast, 4.7 million dog bites occur annually in the U.S, resulting in 30 to 50 deaths. We don't vilify dogs yet trappers vilify species like coyotes by highlighting rare occurrences, like the one in Montreal.

The hunting, fishing, and trapping industry is more dangerous to humans than all the wildlife it exploits — 40 fatalities in 2017 (BLS).

Cat-killing coyotes? Fact: On average, 42 percent of a coyote's diet is made up of rodents (23 percent fruit, and 22 percent deer — carrion included). Pets are not even registered as a fraction of a percentage in their diet. Cat-killer is a myth promulgated to justify the abuse and killing of coyotes. Same with chicken-killing skunks. Not true.

FAA's website clarifies the most serious threat to airplanes: Gulls, waterfowl, raptors and deer. None is dealt with by trapping, so I am confused as to why airplane security is brought up as in making a case for trapping, except perhaps to instill fear.

So-called nuisance animals can be dealt with in non-lethal ways. Beaver baffles, for example, have an almost 100 percent success rate. Beavers are key to the resiliency and health of our wetlands.

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Trappers claim trapping is neither cruel nor inhumane. If our behavior towards pets even remotely mimicked the behavior of a trapper towards trapped animals it would promptly be called out as animal cruelty.

Trapper's fallback argument: Nature is cruel. Fact: Nature is judicious. Animals hunt to survive. Trappers want to call that cruel to justify their own cruel methods. Would they next be calling to justify fratricide, patricide, and incest, because nature is fratricidal, patricidal, and incestuous?

Trapping is individual freedom. I disagree. Individual freedom allows a "take back Vermont" sign on your dilapidated barn or piling up junk in your yard. Torturing animals does not fall under the purview of individual freedom.

Driving a truck full of traps to the woods and then returning to check them only after an animal has been suffering for hours, days, or even longer is connecting with nature and the great outdoors? Take a hike instead — all it will cost you is a good pair of hiking boots, a pair of binoculars, and a camera, and you will have trophies to display and share without taking away your neighbor's right to enjoy observing these magnificent wild animals. Isn't that the real Vermont heritage — not taking away what belongs to all of us but sharing, respecting, and being good stewards of our great outdoors.

Rohit Sharma,



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