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Stop Coyote Snaring in Maine

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  • politicalanimal13
    This opinion piece ran in a newspaper in Maine. Maine residents, perhaps you could get letters to the editor in support of the humane position. Also, if you
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2003
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      This opinion piece ran in a newspaper in Maine. Maine residents,
      perhaps you could get letters to the editor in support of the humane
      position. Also, if you know anyone that lives in Maine, the group
      trying to stop the coyote snaring program has a web site at

      Source: Press Herald online (in Maine)

      Tuesday, December 31, 2002


      Snaring coyotes to benefit
      hunters wrong

      Copyright © 2002 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

      Every state has a government
      agency in charge of its wildlife.
      In Maine it's called Inland
      Fisheries and Wildlife; in
      Massachusetts it's the Division
      of Fisheries and Wildlife.

      Both agencies, as is the case
      also in most other states, are staffed with first-
      rate biologists who, if
      allowed to do their jobs, would do superb work.

      Unfortunately this is not usually the case. In
      Massachusetts, the
      department is under the control of a seven-member
      board, all of whom
      are hunters. In Maine, a joint standing legislative
      committee of 13
      lawmakers holds control.

      In reality, in both states, very well-organized,
      well-funded and vocal
      "sportsmen's" groups run the show. This would not
      be a problem if these
      same "sportsmen" managed our wildlife with the
      goals of preserving and
      restoring healthy balanced populations of all our
      native wildlife. This
      would ensure healthy balanced ecosystems in which
      they, and we, would
      all prosper.

      Instead, wildlife management has been reduced to
      production of a
      commodity - large populations of animals for
      hunting, trapping and fishing
      - in agency jargon - to produce "recreational
      opportunities" for
      sportsmen. This "management" has been successful.

      In Maine, the production of deer for hunters has
      taken the disturbing
      path of predator control - killing of any animal
      that might compete with
      sportsmen and spoil their fun. This brings us to
      the problem of
      "jellyheads." Apparently no method of killing is
      inhumane enough to
      justify a ban.

      Coyotes arrived in the East relatively in recent
      decades and although the
      evidence is not in that they kill many deer - they
      are opportunistic hunters
      eating blueberries, beetles, voles and carrion -
      they have become the
      target of a killing program that exceeds all
      boundaries of decency.

      This is snaring. Snares are cheap, easy and
      successful in killing coyotes
      and other nontarget animals. Snares are also
      exceedingly cruel and
      inhumane. A snare is a wire cable loop usually hung
      from a tree branch
      that an animal walks into. Snares don't appear to
      kill quickly, as snared
      coyotes show actual death in many cases is from
      clubbing or gunshots.

      In one reported study of approximately 100 snared
      coyotes, about a
      third had huge swollen heads - "jellyheads" in
      snarer jargon. Evidently the
      snare constricts the jugular vein that takes blood
      back to the heart but
      allows the carotid artery to keep pumping blood
      into the head.
      Eventually the blood vessels in the head burst. Is
      this what we call
      "wildlife management"?

      A very small minority needs to kill to eat. What
      does that say about the
      human species? Surely "dominion" means more than
      the right to kill. It
      also means stewardship - a responsible and
      respectful relationship to the
      planet's other life.

      It is time to take wildlife management out of the
      hands of "sportsmen."
      They do not own our wildlife. If wildlife "belongs"
      to anyone, it "belongs"
      to all citizens - citizens who have many more
      varied interests and values
      in wildlife than simply killing it for fun.

      Statistics clearly show that wildlife tourism and
      photography bring many
      more dollars into communities than the annual
      rituals of killing. It's time
      for change, for fresh ideas, for state-of-the-art
      expertise and professional
      wildlife leadership.

      Professional wildlife managers undoubtedly would
      still allow hunting and
      trapping as a means of population control, but it
      would not be the guiding
      purpose of wildlife management.

      It's time for wildlife biologists to speak out and
      salvage the integrity of
      their profession. Such cruelty cannot be sanctioned
      by a civilized people.

      - Special to the Press Herald
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