How Animal Rights Activists Fail to Give you All the Facts
A critique of the MSPCA AHES news release 8/4/98
This is just another attempt by Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC to give the full story on various animal damage control issues. We at Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC are frustrated by the lack of research and comprehensiveness of the media. While it is easy to beat up on the media, after all their reporters are overworked, deadlines are too short and underpaid. This is why Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC created this page. We want to provide information in a form that is easy for reporters to digest. If you need more information let us know.The facts that are undisputed by both sides:
In late July 1998, a boy on the Cape was recently mauled by a coyote. The boy survived and the coyote was shot. Testing revealed that the coyote was not rabid.
This is a press release as published by the MSPCA/AHES 8/4/98 WDC has attempted to faithfully reproduce the press release. Aspects that have not been reproduced relate to letter head design. WCC welcomes comments that would correct any error in our reproduction.
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Our comments will be listed in red/italics/bold and interspersed through the report. The reader will see that the issue is more complex than the MSPCA and other AR groups would have the public believe.
MSPCA Sets Record Straight on Coyotes and Trapping
Boston-In response to the recent coyote attack on Cape Cod, the MSPCA stresses the importance of dealing with human-wildlife interactions humanely and wisely.
“The incident on the Cape is the first in the state,” says Carter Luke, MSPCA Vice President for Humane Services. “Coyotes normally avoid people, but as both human and wildlife populations continue to grow, the potential for conflict will increase.”
To prevent problems with wildlife the MSPCA urges people to: These comments are almost identical to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife recommendations see coyote page.
- Never feed a wild animal.
- Avoid any contact with wildlife.
- Keep trash securely covered or indoors.
- Feed pets inside or supervise outdoor feedings, and keep the area clean.
- Keep cats and dogs indoors, especially at night, or stay outside with them.
The MSPCA is disappointed with the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s response to the coyote incident. Dr. Rob Deblinger, Assistant Director of Wildlife for the Division, said in a Boston Globe interview that his office”is hampered in dealing with coyote complaints” because of the ban on cruel traps, passed in November 1996 by 64% of the voters in the state. This comment is true as trapping is one method of controlling coyotes. As for the 64 percent of the voters this comment is irrelevant as most voters didn’t have a clue of what they voted for. See my information on mole trapping. This statement also assumes that “cruel traps were banned” and that the traps banned were in fact cruel. Both interpretations are untenable. One need only ask what evidence does the MSPCA have to suggest that footholds are cruel (they were banned) and glue boards are not cruel (they were not banned). One needs to ask why conibears, which were to be set completely in water or inside or under a house, were banned? Please visit other pages to see how animal activists regularly mistate the facts regarding the humaneness or cruelty of traps. Information can be found elsewhere on WildlifeControlConsultant.com.
“This is the Division’s latest attempt to mislead the public about the trapping law,” says Luke. “The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has been deceiving the public in an attempt to further its political agenda to repeal the law.” What is the MSPCA’s political agenda? As an agency that doesn’t pay taxes it isn’t beholden to the interests of those who pay the bills in this state. Instead it is beholden to special interests who get a tax break to push for laws that make other people’s expenses increase.
“During a spring 1997 discussion, George Darey, the Chairman of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board, admitted that coyote populations in our state have never been controlled by trapping,” Luke recalls. What the MSPCA fails to mention here is that prior to question 1 coyotes haven’t’ attacked people (at least as far as we have record). It would seem that there may be a relationship between the impact of question 1 and this attack. While coyotes have not been controlled (in the sense that their populations were strictly regulated by trapping), trapping and hunting does keep coyote fear of humans high. It can also reduce the localized concentration of coyote populations, like the Cape Cod Area.. As I have stated elsewhere, the removal of some animals does not necessarily eliminate risk of attack but it does reduce that risk.
In an effort to set the record straight, the MSPCA provides these facts:
- Trapping on land was illegal between 1974 and 1995. Only two seasons of coyote trapping have taken place in the last 24 years. (The MSPCA statement here is patently false. They forgot to mention that there was a coyote trapping season in 1989 when a judge ruled that the soft catch trap was not a steel jaw foothold and therefore was not subject to the restrictions of the steel jaw foothold. The AR activists forced an injunction on the issue on October 31, 1989 on the eve of the trapping season. However, some trappers were out trapping during that season. (Source Sue Langlois Mass Wildlife Fur Bearer Biologist 8/4/98 by phone) You may also be interested to know that the State Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the padded jaw foothold did meet the state’s humane criteria of a trap that captured wildlife without injury. Obviously, what AR groups couldn’t convince the court they had to appeal to the citizens who didn’t have access to all the information.
- The law allows the use of leg-hold traps if there is a threat to public health or safety. What they don’t mention is how hard it has been to get permission to leg-hold trap. When will the MSPCA say it is okay?This criteria also makes someone the victim. Someone must suffer damage before permission to use footholds can be invoked. Do you want to be the one who has to suffer before permission is granted. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife seeks to have a policy that prevents potential problems rather than simply responding to them.
- Trapping nuisance coyotes in residential neighborhoods is dangerous because traps may harm children, domestic pets, and non-target animals as well as the intended animals. This statement is not as true as they assert. They fail to mention that footholds are not dangerous to children. Just think about how many people have been injured by footholds during the years when they were legal to use. The police who shot the coyote was also taking risks with children and property. You may scoff at this criticism but accidents do happen with even trained shooters.
To coexist with wildlife, follow the simple and effective humane guidelines listed above. The advice is simple and effective but for how long? News reporters should remember what trapping bans did in Los Angeles CA. For more information, contact Kara Holmquist at the MSPCA at 617-522-7400. 350 South Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02130 617 522 7400 fax : 617-522-4885
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel’s comments are in red. He welcomes opportunities to debate the claims of animal rights activists and animal protectionists regarding the role of trapping and wildlife damage management. He can be contacted at stephenvantasselAThotmailDOTcom