Please forward to the trapping committee members.
May 20, 2014
Dear Members of the Trapping Committee,
I appreciate all of the effort that everyone has expended in this difficult process. I understand how difficult it is to not only hear what all sides are saying, but to listen. I know how difficult it is to have lifelong beliefs challenged. I hope you are able to question and re-evaluate those beliefs. Is trapping necessary? Is there scientific data to support widespread indiscriminate trapping? Why is it wrong to kill an animal for its antlers, but not for its fur? Is tradition an adequate reason to continue such an indiscriminate practice? Why are hunters threatened by attacks on trapping? How much should hunters allow trappers to damage their reputation?
I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. and found a quote by Thomas Jefferson very relevant. "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." Society has changed. The way people treat animals is changing. The Commission and Department need to evolve with society.
Many of you are guilty of flexible morality. You allow animals to be treated in ways most of you would never do yourselves. Just because you do not see it, does not make you less responsible. Think of how hunters fought so hard to do what they felt was right to protect the beloved sheep. Can you image if a sheep was treated like a furbearer or coyote, with slow motion kills replayed on hunting shows or a sheep dead from exhaustion and dehydration after spending 4 days in a trap? Anything that allows similar animals to be treated in a dissimilar fashion fails to qualify as an acceptable moral theory. You have the power to determine what level of suffering Nevada's wildlife has to endure. You have the opportunity to make a difference for animals, all of Nevada's animals, not just the favored ungulate game animals. Will you be brave enough to decrease trap visitation to 24 hours statewide? Throwing all of the arguments aside (because it is not about me or the trappers), will you be brave enough to do what is best for Nevada's fur-bearers and other non-target wildlife?
TO: Washoe County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife
RE: Item 18
I will be out of town for the meeting on June 12, 2014, and I would like my comments below to be made a part of the public record. Thank you.
The Trapping Committee was doomed to fail from Day One. When a committee is formed to help two sides of an issue to come together, and that committee has one of the sides excluded, it is impossible for that committee to function as anything other than a committee representing only one side of an issue. If that was the intent of the people who created that committee, to not have a true vote and say in the negotiations, then the outcome was successful because nothing of substance has been decided.
During the “negotiations” for keeping traps away from congested areas & increase more frequent trap visitation, two trappers who should know better, one a legislator & the other the president of the Trappers’ Association were both caught in violation of current regulations. This, in itself, should point out the need for new regulations. Trapping is a lucrative second business for these two people, paying a paltry fee & making thousands of dollars from the public’s wildlife. In a business, if you become ill & cannot meet your client as scheduled, you would make plans to have another person meet your appointment. There is not an excuse to not meet your obligations in a business, and trapping is a business.
When the idea of visiting traps more frequently than the current 96 hr. requirement was discussed as a more humane approach for animals suffering in a trap, (also to release non-target species), this concept was met with total lack of comprehension. The inconvenience to trappers of having to go to their traps in 24 hrs. was the only issue considered. After years of clubbing helpless animals to death in a trap, the concept of humane treatment to wildlife & animal suffering has taken its toll on trappers and they have become totally desensitized to animal pain and what is humane treatment. This is a concept that trappers simply do not understand.
In conclusion, the Trapping Committee could not come up with any meaningful recommendations for the reasons I have stated above. Yes, the Trapping Committee “received considerable testimony at various meetings around the state regarding various trapping issues” because the committee members were willing to put in this time to make it appear that the issue was being discussed and everyone was being heard. Yes, the hours were given, but certainly there was no genuine nor sincere consideration for any of the concerns of Trailsafe and the Committee was clearly lacking any representation from this group.
I am writing to voice my concern and disgust regarding the Wildlife Commission meeting I attended on April 5th. Please share this email with any and all appropriate individuals on the Wildlife Commission and the Trapping Regulation Committee.
This was my first Wildlife Commission meeting and I was appalled. I went because of my opposition to permitting trappers to leave their traps unchecked for 96 hours. This is cruel, barbaric and irresponsible of anyone who puts down a trap-like device made to catch and hold a live animal out in the open. Once trapped, these creatures are in pain and are forced to endure hunger, thirst, pain from the trap and perhaps attacks from other animals that they cannot defend themselves from. Most states require traps to be checked every 24 hours and Nevada should follow this example.
The attitude and behavior of the Wildlife Commissioners, except for Ms. Karen Layne, were clearly pro-hunter/trapper and clearly anti-animal with no regard for the suffering of any type of animal - target or non-target - that falls victim to a trap.
While I understand many of the Commissioners are hunters, I thought that some of them, at least, would show just a little compassion. Hunters are always saying that they "love" animals and that's part of the reason they hunt. Clearly, the individuals on the Commission have no "love" for animals and have a clear disdain for those of us who do!
I would appreciate a response to this email.
Once again, I am writing to express my concerns regarding Nevada's trapping regulations. Nevada's 96-hour visitation time is the longest mandated time in the USA. Not to be insulting and do you realize that 96 hours is 4 days!!! During this prolonged period, an animal suffers agony, fear, hunger, thirst, elements, predators. Thirty-three US states, including 5 large western states similar to Nevada, require 24 hour visitation. Trappers say they need the 96 hours to visit all their traps. Some of them set HUNDREDS of traps, so they need 96 hours. My question is what's the priority here? Trapper convenience or shortening the time an animal suffers? Maybe trappers should set fewer traps!?? This is NOT wildlife management!!
AND...a trapped pet has a better chance of survival with 24 hour visitation. We aren't allowed, nor would most of us be able, to release our pets from traps.
This is a travesty and the public needs to be considered when making the laws for ALL NEVADANS.
Thanks for listening and making the choice for all of us who live in this great state...not just the trappers.
We are the Sierra Wildlife Coalition, and represent many citizens in both Nevada and California who use Nevada public land and trails in the Lake Tahoe area and are concerned with safety for ourselves, our pets, and wildlife. Please send this message to all members of the Trapping Regulation Committee, and post this as Support Material.
We are pleased to see new topics to be discussed at the April 5, 2014 meeting in Las Vegas, as we are in favor of reforming trapping regulations. Education for trappers certainly seems like a good idea, as we have heard too many claims of ignorance (or ignoring) of trapping regulations. We also feel there need to be real and serious penalties for not attending required education, and certainly for violating regulations, in order to truly establish needed reforms. We do not know what is meant by “demerit points” – any violations should automatically result in fines, fines large enough to seriously encourage following the law, and in revocations of licenses for more serious offenses. If regulations are not enforced, they will be flaunted.
We were very disappointed with the lack of any real consideration at the last Trapping Regulation Committee meeting in Reno for reducing required visitation times from the existing and cruel 96 hours to 24 hours, in any meaningful way or areas. This existing length of visitation time is very pertinent to the discussion of non-target trapping. Certainly, if visitation times were reduced, many, many non-target animals (wildlife and pets) would not suffer and die. Nobody can argue that. We have seen the numbers complied by NDoW of non-target animals, including endangered species, injured and killed, and it’s appalling – and those numbers reflect only a minority of trappers!
There is no excuse to not reduce trap visitation time to 24 hours statewide, as required by the majority of other states, including many in the west with similar wide spaces. A statewide regulation would be much easier to understand and to enforce, whereas a mish-mash of areas and rules creates excuses for non-compliance. The supposed convenience of a very small number of trappers in no way justifies the continued suffering of thousands of animals. We also do not agree that “tradition” in any way justifies leaving animals in traps for 4 days and 4 nights. Just because something has continued for years or decades does not make it either a good thing or something that should be continued. (There are many examples, like slavery, dog-fighting, etc., which went on for hundreds of years, but have rightfully been abolished.) And we keep hearing the term “family values” at these Trapping Committee meetings – we certainly do not agree that considering anybody’s “convenience” to be more important than animals suffering for many days and nights is any kind of value we would encourage in our families.
We fully support TrailSafe and real reform to Nevada’s Trapping Regulations.
Thank you for your consideration of our many members concerns.
To The Governor:
I am writing this letter as a supporter of Trailsafe and as a supporter of responsible wildlife management. I have been a Nevada resident for most of my life and I am very proud of the land and the animals in this great state. As a state employee I look forward to the state sponsored emails regarding traveling in Nevada and I strongly support the Governor's efforts to promote tourism and the outdoors in Nevada.
As a Nevadan concerned for the welfare of wildlife, I first started attending Trapping Regulation Committee meetings in 2011. I was informed by trappers that companion animals are not trapped. Non-target animals are not trapped. Licensed trappers always follow the law. There was no need for trap identification and registration. Animals in the wild did not feel pain and did not suffer. Citizens do not have any right to ask about wildlife since we do not pay as much as the "sportsmen" pay. All of this information (which has been promulgated for decades) is, of course, lies. Lies that were uncovered only to be replaced by new lies such as, "animal advocates want to end hunting," or, "they want to take away our guns."
Most recently I attended the Nevada Department of Wildlife Commissioner's meeting in Tonopah. It was nothing short of disheartening to see how the Commission supports the wholesale slaughter and export of our state's fur bearing mammals. Trapping is unlimited. Trapping will remain unregulated despite the original intent of SB 213. Animals will continue to suffer in traps for 4 days through most of the state. Thousands of non-target animals will continue to be caught and discarded. It is my understanding most of the pelts of the fur bearing mammals are sold to other countries. The only information about the tortured animals are trapper self reported numbers on spreadsheets that are passed off as "science." Trapping is a disgrace to my state. The inability to change any of the above (due to the unflinching support of trappers by the Board of Wildlife Commissioners) is even more of a disgrace.
It is very difficult to encourage family and friends to travel in the wilds of Nevada when I have to add a warning to "watch out" for companion animals who could become trapped. The horror of trying to extricate a beloved dog from a trap or coming upon an unchecked animal who died slowly and painfully in a trap is something that I would not want anyone to experience. However, these experiences are very real in our state. I hope that we can all work together to make the outdoors fun and safe for Nevadans; and safe for the Wildlife who inhabit the land.
To Office of the Governor
June 24, 2014
Trish Swain, Co-Ordinator
1285 Baring Boulevard
Sparks, NV 89434
Dear Mr. Hunt,
Please relay this message to Governor Sandoval. I can’t express surprise over the recent decision by the Wildlife Commission. (NBWC) They voted to recommend the smallest possible areas for shorter trap visitation. Their version of shorter trap visitation is two calendar days as contrasted to the 96 brutally long hours currently allowed in statute. TrailSafe had recommended 24 hours to keep Nevada in line with 33 other U.S. States, including five of our Western neighbors. TrailSafe had also campaigned for a uniform statewide standard to assist law enforcement and to make regulation clear to trappers and outdoor recreationists. But now we have a confusing patchwork of suggested regulations.
This decision by the NBWC is no surprise because TrailSafe and our non-consumptive user associates had no seat on the Trapping Regulation Committee. Instead, John Sullivan, an avid trapper, in fact, vice-president of the NV Trappers’ Association, was appointed. He vigorously defended trapping throughout the year of hearings. Perhaps it was someone’s perception that Commissioner Dr. Karen Layne could represent TrailSafe. She could not because she is a Commissioner. Should we say by the same token that the other three Commissioners on the Committee were representatives of the Trappers’ Association? Where is democratic representation in this scenario?
The only explanation Commissioner Robb gave us was that he prefers five-person committees. And yet the Bear Committee has six members and the Director of No Bear Hunt Nevada does have a seat on that Committee.
As it is time for two new appointments to the Commission, I earnestly urge you to select people who understand and advocate humane treatment of animals. Please select individuals who understand the importance of predators in the ecosystem and who advocate non-lethal co-existence with wild animals. Indiscriminate lethal killing of thousands of animals is a relic of times past. I would hope Nevada abandons such cruel, unscientific treatment of our wildlife.
I have statements from 80 prominent veterinarians validating the horrific suffering of animals caught in traps. It astounds me that, after a year of hearings, trappers, committee members and Commissioners would ask us why we are bringing forth this action. They see no problem. Animal suffering means nothing to persons who are responsible to:
(NRS 501.181)Duties; regulations.The Commission shall:
1.Establish broad policies for:
(a)The protection, propagation, restoration, transplanting, introduction and management of wildlife in this State.
We are delighted with your appointment of Dr. Layne. She stands up for her humane principles and at the same time participates so effectively on the Commission. There are 1400 Nevadans on the TrailSafe list. Our alerts go to the Nevada Humane Society list, the Best Friends list and the Born Free USA list, thereby reaching thousands more. We, who vastly outnumber trappers, deserve representation by others like her.
Having a resident hunting or fishing license does not mean a candidate has to be unaware of and opposed to decent treatment of animals.
It’s time for a shift in the politics and alliances of the Wildlife Commission. Please help us paint a kinder face on Nevada for our wildlife, our citizens and our tourists.
Dear Mr. Hunt:
I became involved with the trapping issue when my dog was drawn by scented bait above a trap within a few yards of a heavily used camping area in Lee Canyon (Mack's Canyon entrance). Attending the Wildlife Commission meetings I was disappointed to hear trappers deny my dog was caught in a trap or had required $1200 in vet costs despite pictures and a receipt from the emergency veterinary hospital. These same trappers claim that only they understand wildlife issues and that those of us who hike, climb, backpack, have built water guzzlers and actually do research in desert ecology are uninformed. Worse yet meetings have had trappers attempting to intimidate speakers who spoke on behalf of changes in trapping regulations without intervention by members of the Wildlife Commission.
Whereas I expected a government board to at least make an effort towards separating science from personal profit and representing the concerns of citizens other than the small group who remove large numbers of predators without regard for their role in the environment, I found a rubber stamp committee. This committee accepted the numbers of predators targeted for removal from Nevada's wildlands by disgraced former committee member Tracy Truman who filmed his dog terrorizing a bobcat before Mr. Truman clubbed it to death. This is unacceptable to the general public of Nevada.
Nevada's wildlife, including the predators, are part of a healthy functioning landscape and should be managed on real, peer reviewed science and not the self serving prejudices of individuals who remove a public resource not only without compensating the citizens of Nevada, but who reduce the very animals that control rodents that carry bubonic plague and hanta virus. Both of these diseases have been found in populated areas of Mount Charleston with warning signs posted.
Contrary to assertions of the trappers that they are controlling rabies and mange, the Journal of Wildlife Diseases asserts that trapping only controls rabies when the outbreak is confined to a small, well defined area. Both rabies and mange can be managed to much better outcome with vaccine in a broadcast distribution of "snacks."
I am requesting that the two vacancies not cater to any one group but the appointments be knowledgeable people who understand and respect the complexity of our desert and mountain ecosystems and bring Nevada's wildlife management into the 21st century and not stuck in some romanticized view of the 19th century with all its shortcomings.
Thank you for your time.