When Anti-Trappers Are Open About their Beliefs
Anyone who has known me, understands that one of my greatest complaints about the
animal rights protest industry (ARPI) is how they mask their true intentions. I published an article on this point in the Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference (Vantassel, Stephen. (2008). In R. M. Timm & M. B. Madon (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-Third Vertebrate Pest Conference (Vol. 23, pp. 294-300). San Diego, CA: University of California, Davis.) where I noted how if the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) really wanted dialogue then it should respond to the criticisms and issues I raised.
Unfortunately, the HSUS has yet to respond directly to those concerns nor has it proffered any opportunity for true dialogue. A friend of mine noted that the problem with my article was that I misunderstood how animal rights protest industry advocates define dialogue. He said that for ARPI advocates, dialogue means, shut up or be quiet and listen to me talk. I don’t know if the HSUS believes that way. I think the problem may be that if it said what its goals really were in an open (openness is different than honesty) way, they might just loose funding from the more radical elements of their supporters. I should note that openness is different than honesty. Openness refers to the willingness to explain one’s presuppositions and ultimate goals as I explained in my article. Perhaps, the HSUS will engage me sometime in the future. They should respect my opinion because they used one of my articles in a favorable way in one of their training sessions in Connecticut.
Nevertheless, I am always glad when ARPI advocates are open about their beliefs. Too often they cloud their ultimate intentions with the side argument of “humanness”. One such organization that deserves credit for being open is the folks behind Furbearer Defenders.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIVmVMraR3I. While their video was less than fully fair with their assertions, I did want to send out kudos for them for their openness in noting their opinion that no trap is humane. They are wrong of course, but I appreciate the frankness of their stating it.
There it is everyone, ‘No Trap Is Humane.” It is nice to hear when ARPIs are open about their full beliefs. What this does is underscore and prove my long-argued point that for ARPIs cruelty is defined as the mere killing or even restraint of a wild animal for consumptive purposes. The reason why it is essential for people to understand this is that it highlights the true nature of the debate. While ARPIs frequently claim this or that technique is “cruel” or “inhumane” when one answers those concerns, they will not be satisfied because their real goal is the elimination of trapping for the fur trade period no matter how painless the activity. This is just more proof from my dissertation which was published as Dominion over Wildlife: An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations (Wipf and Stock, 209). For them, the mere act of sport or commercial trapping is wrong. Cruelty is just a canard to get ignorant people to vote their way (or send money).
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest book is the The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at stephenvantassel at Hotmail dot com.
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