FROM ALLIANCE FOR ANIMALS: Alert to AFA members and supporters and concerned citizens in Dane County:
If you have the opportunity, please attend and show your support for
limiting publicly-owned property open to trapping.
While we oppose trapping everywhere, we believe this is a step in the
right direction and allows the county to set a precedent that could
be important if and when the state requirement is overturned.
Dane County Park Commission
Date and Time: Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 5:30 pm
Location: Lyman F. Anderson Agriculture & Conservation Center
5201 Fen Oak Drive – Conference A-B
Madison, WI 53718
Wisconsin State Journal article below:
Calling the practice cruel and inhumane, a Dane County supervisor Wednesday night will unveil a proposal to reduce the amount of county-owned land available for trapping.
Sup. Cynda Solberg, District 36, wants to limit trapping to county land bought with the help of state Stewardship funds that make hunting and trapping a requirement as part of the purchase agreement. The proposal, which will be introduced to the Parks Commission on Wednesday night, could remove up to 345 of the county’s 1,871 acres in wildlife areas that are currently open to trapping, according to the county’s most recent statistics.
“If I had my way I would like to see it banned completely,” said Solberg. “But realistically this is the best we can do.”
The plan would require County Board approval.
Solberg said she was the lone dissenter last year when the board approved accepting state Stewardship funds to help pay for a 25-acre addition to McCarthy Park near Cottage Grove. The use of Stewardship money — a state source many local governments tap to expand or buy new land for parks — made McCarthy the first recreational park in the county to allow trapping.
At about the same time, the state Legislature passed a bill that strengthened rules allowing trapping and hunting on public land purchased with Stewardship money.
Solberg said traps “torture” animals and also endanger young children and pets. Although reports of pets killed or children injured in traps over the past few years are rare, she called them accidents waiting to happen.
“The argument is that traps are not in (recreational) areas. But I ask those people, ‘Do you have children? They never stay where they are supposed to,'” Solberg said. “It’s not reasonable to say it will only trap what it’s intended for. It’s like playing with fire. Why wait for something to happen?”
Mark Peters, a district director for the Wisconsin Trappers Association, said the broad trapping rights granted by the state constitution may only be limited by reasonable restrictions.
“I understand that certain areas should not be open, but there are areas that are county-owned that are open right now that are not causing problems for anybody,” he said.
But Solberg said it’s difficult to thoroughly enforce the law requiring trappers to check their traps daily. She added that she has heard too many stories of animals stuck in traps for days waiting for the trappers to show up and kill them.
“We have no idea where these traps really are. It’s impossible to oversee something like that,” Solberg said. “All these rules are great, but I don’t buy it that they can be checked up on.”
Peters said trappers do a good job of policing themselves. “There are always a few people who violate the rules, but, by far, the vast majority of trappers are trying to do it the right way, ethically and staying within the regulations, sometimes way beyond the regulations, to avoid potential problems,” Peters said.
Peters said approved traps will not kill pets or injure children. He added trapping is used today in city and county parks to control wildlife populations that are damaging public lands and creating public health risks.
A differing opinion was offered by Rick Bogle, a spokesman for the animal rights group Alliance for Animals that Solberg said asked her to sponsor the amendment. “Wild populations just aren’t running amok,” said Bogle.
Bogle called Solberg’s amendment a step in the right direction. “A very few of us want to go out and set traps, leave them there for a period of time until they come back and kill the animals trapped in them and make money selling their pelts,” he said. “That tiny fraction has completely been allowed to trump the concerns of a much larger, majority opinion. I don’t think it’s at all fair that the state forces communities to do this. We think the mandate is biased and undemocratic.”