Former trappers speak out on the cruel and barbaric practices they have witnessed over the years:
The trapper approached, a five foot … club in hand. The coyote struggled frantically against the trap, pulling one leg loose and leaving the lifeless paw in the trap. The trapper poked at the coyote. The animal hissed and snapped at the club. Then, as the trapper slowly swished the club back and forth, the coyote became unusually calm. Mesmerised by steady motion, he crouched motionless, his eyes dutifully following the swishing club. Suddenly the club smashed across the coyote's nose and slammed him to the ground. But the blow was not delivered with precision. Almost instantly he was in a semi crouch; blood spurting from his nose, eyes dazed, again the club fell. The trapper … grabbed the stunned coyote by the hind legs, stretching the animal full length while planting his foot heavily on its neck.
The other foot delivered a series of thumping blows to the coyote's chest, expelling hollow gasps of air. Releasing the hind legs, the trapper rested one foot on the coyote's neck, the other on the chest. The coyote's eyes bulged, the mouth gaped, the tongue hung listlessly along the bloodstained jaw. Periodically stomping near the heart, the trapper maintained his position for 14 minutes. He indicated this was necessary to ensure that the animal was dead. … I thought how ridiculous it was for a 200 pound man to be stomping on an 18 pound coyote as if his very existence depended on the animal's elimination. The coyote, had he been given the opportunity, would not have sought revenge. He would have tried to escape.
Daniel Kelly, wildlife researcher at Turnbull National Wildlife refuge, Washington.
You had a club and bashed the animal's head. It's cruel, it's horrible. People think it's romantic, but it's not. If people who wear fur coats ever saw their dog in a trap like that, they'd never wear fur again.
Raven Wilson, native Canadian and former trapper.
Reflecting on having seen a squirrel caught in a trap:
The entire episode of the squirrel and the trap could not have lasted more than five minutes. Yet that brief moment in time had an impact on me like being hit by a truck. I thought of all those animals I'd trapped in my younger days; all those lives I'd so thoughtlessly snuffed out for a few, lousy dollars. They had meant so little to me then. As if I'd somehow determined that since they were smaller than I or non-human, their lives were worth less than my own simple wants and wishes. ? 'How can we love life so', I thought to myself, 'and yet treat other living things so badly? Why is it so difficult to comprehend that an ever-so-common creature, like the little, furry gray squirrel, just might enjoy and appreciate living as much as I?' I thought about that for a long time.
Thomas Eveland, professional wildlife ecologist and former trapper. 'Jaws of Steel', Thomas Eveland, Fund for Animals 1991. P69-70
I It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the suffering thus endured from fear, from acute pain, maddened by thirst, and by vain attempts to escape."
The trapping of wild animals for their pelts is impossible to justify in terms of conservation or animal welfare.
Dr Nigel Dunstone, mink scientist, Durham University. Biologist (1986) 33 (2) p75