I gave this blog some minor refreshing over the holidays – adjusted the colours a bit, updated the About page, and streamlined the Recipes page for easier reading. Be sure to check them out if you haven’t in a while.
Believe it or not, my goal when I started this blog was to post short, concise pieces on various topics around animal suffering. HA! So far, my shortest piece was 337 words and it was my very first post. Since then my average posts are around 800 words, with my longest one being 2,663 words. Whoops! Granted, some topics require more in-depth writing, especially when I’m quoting other people but nevertheless, I would like to try to challenge myself to say more with less. Starting now!
Last week there was a news story about a woman in Prince Edward Island who took her dog, Caper, for a walk on Boxing Day in nearby woods and her dog got caught in a baited snare trap and died. The trap had been baited with pig’s feet and Caper’s owner was understandably horrified to find her dog killed in this way. She is now calling for signs to be posted in areas where traps are set.
According to one article, the manager with the Department of Justice and Public Safety who investigated the incident says that traps are allowed to be set on government land but the trapper(s) must be licensed, the equipment used must be legal and the snares must be set at least, “300 metres from the nearest home.” (The trap that killed Caper was set 330 metres away as reported in a follow-up article.) These particular baited snares were determined to be legal and not in a public right of way. Caper is the sixth dog to be caught in baited snares (and the first to die) as, “P.E.I. has an active snaring season from November 13 to January 31 for coyote and fox.”
“Snaring season.” Yet another euphemism for the killing of animals.
To me, this story was another example of the detachment we continue to have over the pain and death of certain animals but not of others. Why is it legal and acceptable for a coyote or fox to be injured or killed by a snare? Surely the fox and coyote suffer as much as Caper the dog did. For too long we’ve been conditioned to view trapping animals in the wild as “just the way things are” or the more laughable reason of “controlling populations” in the name of conservation, a bizarre approach to species-protection if ever there was one. Trapping and killing animals for fur continues to be rationalized by our own government too, legally justified by slapping the terms “industry” and “economy” in association with it, as if to say that as long as killing is profitable or serving humans in some way, then the methods are defensible.
For the owner of Caper to find her dog hanging by the neck in mid-air must have been a horrible sight. Now imagine that same scenario with a fox or coyote swinging from the end. Is that sight any less horrible? Is their fear and pain at being caught any less important just because under they law they are the ones the trap is “meant for”? Do you think the coyote or fox, as the noose snaps around their throat or leg and launches them off the ground, cutting off any chance of escape that they think, “Oh! This is one of those traps my buddy told me about. Oh well – I’ve had a good life. At least I’m going to fulfill my purpose by dying for the fashion industry and/or Canada’s economy.” Of course not. They will fight and howl and struggle and suffer. Only humans perpetuate this falsehood of “sustainable” and “necessary” killing of animals to justify our actions and desires.
These traps are intended to bait, to capture and to kill. That fact does not change simply because a different species of animal got caught in it. What it does change is the story. Caper the dog had a name, an owner – a human to speak on his behalf. Caper’s death gave people the uncomfortable reminder of what is happening to thousands of other fur-bearing animals via these traps, animals whose lives remain largely hidden and unknown until we choose to look. Animals whose deaths are no less preventable, their suffering no less relevent.