An April 10, 2014 story on the Care2 website by Alicia Graef, “Montana Residents Fight to Stop Cruel Trapping on Public Lands” describes the efforts of the group Trap Free Montana Public Lands to get a ballot initiative, I – 169, on the ballot.
Initiative I-169 would protect public lands, about one-third of all Montana lands, from trapping.
Currently thousands of cruel traps are being set – leghold traps, Conibear traps, and snares, killing at least 45,000 animals every year, and the real total may be much higher. For many wild species, there is no reporting requirement and no limit to the numbers that can be trapped. The traps also pose a danger to people and pets.
No claim can be made that this trapping constitutes “wildlife management” since there is no planning involved and no comprehensive statistics are kept. It benefits only those individuals who are actually trappers, who derive income from this activity.
6,000 Montana residents purchase trapping licenses, bringing the state $65,000 in revenue; while wildlife watchers every year spend a much larger sum, around $4 million. Trapping is detrimental to tourism, and therefore is, on the whole, harmful to the economy of Montana. It benefits no one but a few individuals, to the detriment of others.
Another group, Footloose Montana, made an unsuccessful attempt in 2010 to put an initiative on the ballot; they are now backing 1-169.
Direct popular initiatives being put on the ballot are not an option in every state, and they can be subject to restrictions and regulations.
To read the original story on Care2, click here.
To visit the website of Trap Free Montana Public Lands, click here.
To visit the website of Footloose Montana, click here.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / An American beaver.