It’s that time of year when trappers post images of their animal victims on social media with cruel, taunting comments attached. A recent video posted on social media shows a coyote hopping on two legs in Rutland County. The comments under the post were jeering, e.g. “I would call him Skip,” with a laughing emoji. The coyote was likely caught in a trap or shot by a hunter (there is an open season on coyote-hunting in Vermont) resulting in the loss of two limbs. The animal looked malnourished and doesn’t stand much chance of surviving the harsh winter.
In Vermont, trappers may set unlimited leghold and kill traps in one season — a trapper set 144 traps in one day in December 2020. How will the trapper check all of them every 24 hours as required by law? Last month, a family in Williston came across a coyote dying in a leghold trap while out hiking with their dog. Likely the animal had been stuck in the trap for days. The person said, “Try watching a trapped coyote dying a slow agonizing death — it’s very convincing.” Another Vermonter came across a bobcat caught in a body-gripping trap by the abdomen, not by the neck as intended, and likely suffered from internal bleeding and organ damage before dying.
Why is this legalized torture of our wildlife still happening? Simple — Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s leadership represents trappers and refuses to support legislation banning or even restricting trapping in any way. If you believe all traps are inhumane, non-selective and have no place in a civilized society, contact your legislators and ask them to support a ban on trapping in Vermont. Visit www.protectourwildlifevt.org for more information about how you can help protect wildlife from extreme cruelty and abuse in Vermont.
Lucy Goodrum lives in Reading.