It’s time for Montana to acknowledge that the horrid practice which results in the animal’s leg being crushed and the creature left to lie in agony for days before dying is cruel and barbaric. And yes, such traps also frequently ensnare and torture animals such as dogs as well as endangered species such as bald eagles lynx, despite the idiotic protestations we hear from those who believe the torture of animals is an enjoyable pastime.
I-177 will protect public lands from this practice and make them safer for all people to enjoy, including people who like to take their pet with them to enjoy public lands. You should be able to take your dog cross country skiing with you without worrying about traps. Here is a sad story from Missoula about a man’s dog. Trapping needs to be banned entirely. It is long past time this practice was ended for good. This ballot initiative is a small and reasonable first step.
Consider that the largest individual donor to the Montana Trappers anti I-177 campaign is none other than Greg Gianforte, who has so far given the pro-trapping effort $10,000. He is also a lifetime member of the Montana Trappers Association and claims he ran a trap line with his daughter. (What kid wouldn’t love coming a cross an animal desperately trying to chew its own leg off to escape a trap its been caught in for three days. Can’t somebody nominate this guy for father of the year?)
The pro-trapping effort is also supported by none other than Montana’s white supremacist candidate Taylor Rose, who has made his support for trapping the cover photo on his Facebook Page.
There is significant out-of-state funding being directed to the trappers as well, in spite of shoddy reporting in the Lee Newspapers that reports the exact opposite of the facts. In the most recent Billings Gazette story by Jamee Frasier who writes “Out-of-state funding, primarily against the measure, has drawn scrutiny.” In fact, a simple look at the data shows the exact opposite is true. Perhaps they weren’t aware that campaign finance reports are posted online.
The PAC against I-177 has taken 27% of its funding from out-of-state sources. These out-of-state sources include large groups such as the Ohio Trappers Association and Big Game Forever (based in UT). The I-177 Ballot Initiative Committee has received 5.6% of its funding from out-of-state sources. These monies are from individuals who live in other states. Somewhat embarrassing for Lee is that these data were published in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, one of Montana’s last bastions of investigative journalism, over three weeks ago..
One would expect organizations that include fostering healthy wildlife among their objectives to be in support of I-177 to end trapping on public lands. Unfortunately, it seems some such groups have declined to publicly endorse the initiative while at the same time reportedly telling 1-177 supporters they believe it is time to end trapping on public land.
To be sure, some of them may still be clinging to a 1970s era belief that Montanans think that conservationists and trappers have some kind of symbiotic coalition and if Montanan’s stop turning a blind eye to this gruesome hobby that hunters and anglers will no longer want clean air and water. Nonsense.
Some of these more naive organizations may also be afraid to endorse this common sense initiative because Senator Jennifer Fielder, a trapper, who is married to Paul Fielder, District 1 Director for the Montana Trappers Association and one of the louder voices against the measure.
Senator Jennifer Fielder (R-TEA Sanders County) CEO of American Lands Council, sits on the Montana Senate Committee which controls Montana Fish and Game.