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One form of cruelty voters can end

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Please consider just whom trapping on public lands benefits before casting your vote on Initiative 177. And then consider the suffering it causes. Montana heritage or not, trapping is indiscriminate and inhumane. Trapped animals—those for whom traps are intended and those for whom they are not—suffer. Don’t let trappers tell you they don’t.

Last week when walking our dogs, one stepped off-trail and got a foot caught in a roll of wire fencing in a pile of debris. Our 100-pound lab became frantic—so much so that the usually gentle giant tried to bite us repeatedly, thrashing wildly. It took 10 minutes (that felt like forever) to release him.

As a frequent hiker with dogs, I’ve attended several trap release workshops. I’ve had the opportunity to try to release a stuffed animal from a leg hold trap. I’m not strong enough. No matter how many workshops I’ve attended, I can’t do it. I have no doubt that were it a leg hold trap our dog stepped into, with steel teeth clamping down on his paw, I would not have been able to free him. As it turned out, once we muzzled him with his leash, we were able to set him free.

I have been haunted since by thoughts of the animals whom no one sees, no one frees, no one hears yelping frantically, as our dog did, left to suffer for countless hours, even days—hungry, thirsty, terrified—until they die on their own, are killed by predators or are beaten to death by the trapper.

How can we condone such cruelty? Isn’t there already enough pain and suffering to go around? This is one form we can do something about. I-177 offers us that opportunity. Please vote with your conscience. Vote to end trapping on public lands.

April Christofferson,

Lolo and Bozeman

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