Tell Vermont: Stop Cruel And Inhumane Animal Trapping
Final signature count: 40,429
Sponsor: The Rainforest Site
Help end the use of underwater traps in Vermont and stop the cruel killing!
The product of fur trapping is easy to see, and has long been vilified as one of the more barbaric corners of fashion. It's easy to find objection with animals being killed and skinned for the profit of design houses. But the inhumanity isn't relegated to a hunter's bullet. Where "foothold" or traditional "leg-hold" traps are used, animals can suffer, starve, and even drown over the course of days, all while unable to move .
These traps have been traditionally used by fur trappers, as the mechanism does not harm the majority of the animal's fur. In Vermont, in particular, the usage of these traps is largely unregulated. Animals are commonly found after days of languishing, and often suffering greatly, if not dead .
Otters, some of the most intelligent animals in the northeastern U.S., are being drowned and starved to death through the use of these inhumane traps. Even while more and more communities are standing up against their usage — leg-hold and foothold traps are banned in at least 100 countries around the world  — the state of Vermont refuses to take notice.
Vermont doesn't have a great record when it comes to enforcing humane hunting practices. In fact, the state Fish and Wildlife Department granted a request to extend the otter hunting season in 2017 , granting full permission to use foothold and leg-hold traps. Louis Porter, commissioner of the Fish and Wildlife Department, said an average of 160 otters are killed every year, and as many as 10 more will be trapped during the month-long extension .
The extension was prompted by calls of otter overpopulation, but even in neighboring states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, where otters are also plentiful, there are regulations in place regarding prohibiting inhumane trapping methods.
It's within the jurisdiction of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commission to set higher standards for hunting, and that includes animals being trapped for their fur. At least 75 percent of Vermont residents oppose leg-hold and body gripping traps , and that number is steadily growing with the support of others around the world.
 The Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals (2013) "Types of Traps." Retrieved February 22, 2018 from http://thefurbearers.com/trapping-and-wildlife/types-of-traps.
 Plaid Zebra (2017, July 7), "Dear Vermont: Please stop killing otters for profit." Retrieved February 22, 2018, from http://theplaidzebra.com/dear-vermont-please-stop-killing-otters-for-profit/.
 Sarah V. Schweig (2016, November 4), "This Trap Was Banned For 30 Years, But It's Legal Again." Retrieved February 22, 2018, from https://www.thedodo.com/foothold-traps-new-jersey-raccoons-2079200589.html.
 Rutland Herald (2017, August 9), "Flimsy excuse for otter rule." Retrieved February 22, 2018, from http://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/flimsy-excuse-for-otter-rule/.
 Cyrus Ready-Campbell (2017, August 22), "Lawmakers narrowly OK extension to otter trapping season." Retrieved February 22, 2018, from https://vtdigger.org/2017/08/22/lawmakers-narrowly-ok-extension-otter-trapping-season/.
 Born Free USE (2018), "State Prohibitions on Leghold, Kill-type, and Snare Traps." Retrieved February 22, 2018, from http://www.bornfreeusa.org/b4a4\_traps.php.
 David Kelley (2018, February 18), "Limit leghold trapping." Retrieved February 22, 2018, from https://vtdigger.org/2018/02/18/david-kelley-limit-leghold-trapping/.
Dear Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife,
Vermont is one of the most beautiful states in our country, with magnificent wildlife and natural features. But while the rest of the world may appreciate the state's beauty, it is hard to look past the cruel practices that pass as otter hunting in Vermont year after year.
Leg-hold and foothold traps, as well as underwater pocket traps, have been banned in at least 100 countries around the world, as well as several U.S. states. It's widely recognized that these devices cause great pain and suffering to the animals that are trapped by them, as they often languish for days before a hunter returns to check the traps.
Many of these animals even resort to chewing off their own limbs, or are found dead after losing blood in the process.
It is within your jurisdiction to set humane standards for hunting, and that includes hunting practices when it comes to animals being trapped for their fur. At least 75 percent of Vermont residents oppose leg-hold and body-gripping traps, and that number is steadily growing with the support of others around the world.
I demand that you ban the use of leg-hold, foothold, and underwater pocket traps today. It's not a matter of solving overpopulation. It's not a matter of protecting business interests. It's a matter of common decency when it comes to proper hunting practices, and it's time to make the humane choice.