Coloradans seek trap ban initiative

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1995:

DENVER––Colorado People Allied With
Wildlife will on Febuary 1, 1996 begin seeking the
54,000 signatures needed to put an anti-trapping, snaring,
and wildlife poisoning initative on the 1996 state
ballot. A Colorado State University survey commissioned
by the Colorado Division of Wildlife found earlier
this year that 61% of the electorate would favor
such a ban, with 28% opposed and 11% undecided.
Addresss CPAW c/o Robert Angell, 702 S. Corona
St., Denver, CO 80209; 303-722-3966.
“The decision to try a ballot initiative was
made after all other avenues were exhausted,” said
Angell in an October 9 appeal. “In 1990 an anti-trapping
bill was shredded in the state senate natural
resources committee. Last year a bill to appoint
wildlife commissioners in a different manner and to
reorganize and reorient the activities of CDOW met a
similar fate in the state senate agriculture committee.

At the same time, animal activists, at the invitation of
CDOW, were meeting with trappers in ‘stakeholder
meetings’ to draft new furbearer regulations,” after a
CDOW-sponsored study by Dr. James Fitzgerald, of
the University of Northern Colorado, found that 11 of
the 12 current trapping seasons could not be justified
by available biological data. “After seven months of
this,” continued Angell, “CDOW drafted modified
regulations that on the surface curtailed killing by
traps, snares, and poison. In fact, the regulations left
the decision to use these methods up to ranchers and
farmers, as ‘animal damage control.’ On July 13
CDOW passed the new regulations after creating loopholes
that nullified the few positive restrictions.”
“The Humane Society of the U.S. is provid
ing our main support in terms of political advice,”
Angell’s appeal added. “Unfortunately, HSUS,” with
assets of $23 million, “cannot provide major financial
support because of commitments made to other initiative
campaigns long before we existed.”
Accordingly, CPAW solicited dues of
$5,000 each from steering committee members, rejecting
an in-kind offer of office space and equipment use
from Animal Rights Mobilization when ARM! didn’t
have the cash. ARM! is one of two national animal
protection groups based in Colorado. The other is the
American Humane Association, also not as yet part of
CPAW. ARM! volunteer Kristin Gruebmeyer was
reportedly the only trapping foe to attend each of the
stakeholders’ meetings.
On the CPAW steering committee besides
Angell and Wayne Pacelle of HSUS are rancher Don
Christian, southern Colorado coordinator for the 1992
initiative that banned spring bear hunts; Billie Jean
Smith, M.D.; and Russ Thenhaus, another veteran of
the anti-spring bear hunting campaign.
A similar HSUS-backed anti-trapping initiative
effort in Massachusetts is reportedly in trouble due
to lack of volunteer petition-carriers. To participate,
call 617-424-8846, 617-284-9181, or 617-773-7558.

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