Bethel will host a trappers’ weekend in mid-August, billed as “family fun.” What will not be highlighted during that event is trapping’s dark side, which is amply revealed in the National Trappers Association Handbook by Tom Krause (2007).

The actual language of the following excerpts, chosen at random, is too graphic to be published in a family newspaper and therefore is summarized here; those interested in precise details should refer to the handbook.

To kill opossums held fast in traps (pp.60-61), the handbook’s author advises shooting or an alternative method of breaking the animal’s neck. In addition, he also recommends that gray foxes, also held fast in traps, be stunned with a “sharp blow to the head” and then basically crushed by the trapper (page 117).

These excerpts are only a very small sample of what the author — speaking trapper to trapper — advises and in a tone that is detached from the actions he recommends. The amazing thing is the total indifference to the pain and suffering of the captured animals. It’s almost as if instructions were being given to repair a sink or bake a cake

What the handbook unintentionally reveals is a comprehensive catalogue of life-denying “advices” that underscore trapping’s brutal reality. The author even has something to say about photographs, suggesting that images of live animals that appear to be stressed or in pain should be avoided because they might be “negatively viewed” (page 226).

Is this cruelty disguised as “family fun” really what people want to teach their children?

Don Loprieno, Bristol

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