What am I being a big old pussy about today? Trapping.
A young nephew in Missouri is a hunter. He also traps coyotes and bobcats and posts photos on Facebook. Photos of living animals in pain. I unfriended him yesterday in order to block those photos. That sounds pathetic and weak, but I don’t know what else to do.
I grew up around hunting and fishing. I’ve eaten plenty of game and devoured many a trout. I was a lousy hunter myself, but my father raised us on venison and elk. I knew families in Alaska who could not have gotten through the winters without the moose and caribou they hunted. I’m fine with hunting … it’s killing critters just to be killing them that bothers me.
Years ago I lived in northeastern Montana, where local ranchers regard wild animals as enemies and kill them wholesale. My father and I were riding home from a fishing trip late one night, sitting in the back seat of a car driven by a local ranchhand. His headlights picked up a mother raccoon and several kits crossing the highway ahead. Instead of braking, our driver hit the gas and took aim. We thumped over the raccoons, certainly killing the mother and probably one or two of the kits.
My father and I talked about it later. If we’d been closer to home, Dad said, he would have asked the ranchhand to stop and let us out so that we could walk the rest of the way. I felt the same way, and have never forgotten my shock at the senselessness of running over those animals. But that’s typical farming and ranch country behavior, and it happens everywhere, not just in northeastern Montana. Coyotes, foxes, badgers, rabbits, bobcats, crows, hawks, they’re all to be killed on sight. Farmers and ranchers killed all the wolves, mountain lions, and bears years ago. If the law didn’t prohibit it, they’d kill all the eagles too. Hell, locals in Tucson do the same thing, even though there’s no farming or ranching here.
There are valid arguments for culling predator populations when numbers grow too large. If coyotes and bobcats were breeding out of control and attacking citizens in their front yards, snatching babies from their cribs, or even eating all of Farmer Brown’s chickens, I’d say sure, trapping is a necessary evil. My sister in Montana (Montana again!) sets out cage traps for wild animals, mostly raccoons (raccoons again!), who would otherwise eat everything in her vegetable garden. But what exactly is my nephew in Missouri protecting?
Here are two of the recent photos he posted to Facebook. You can click on the thumbnails to see the larger photos on Flickr.
I started following Anonymous (@KYAnonymous) on Twitter after they outed the Steubenville Ohio kids who drugged and gang-raped a 16-year-old girl, and then almost got away with it because they were members of a beloved local high school football team. What Anonymous is doing is dangerous stuff. On the one hand, justice was not done and now, thanks to their intervention, at least some of these assholes might pay a price for what they did. On the other hand, what about those California day care people who were accused of pedophilia several years ago? Their lives were ruined, and they had done nothing. They were victims of a witch hunt, and a witch hunt is what Anonymous has started in Steubenville. They’ve already taken down the high school coach, the kid who bragged about it on YouTube, at least two of the actual rapists, and possibly the local sheriff. They’d better be right. Still, I wish Anonymous had been around a few years ago. I’m thinking of you, former members of the Duke University lacrosse team.