REVIEW: Cull of the Wild: The Truth Behind Trapping

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2003:

Cull of the Wild: The Truth Behind Trapping
Animal Protection Institute (POB 22505, Sacramento, CA 95822), 2003.
Video offered on each cassette in both 27-minute and 10-minute versions.
$10.00 each [$7.50 each for 10 or more copies.]

For 12 winters, 1977-1989, I was volunteer assistant to a
now deceased Quebec deputy game warden in a rural township whose
farmers had virtually all posted their land against trapping. I
combined my morning crosscountry runs with patrolling between 50 and
60 miles per week of woodlots, streams, and riverbanks, scouting
for illegal traplines. The region was rich in fox, coyote,
raccoon, muskrat, and sometimes beaver, and pelt prices were at
their 20th century peak. Thus the farms continually attracted
trappers, despite the posting signs. The trappers appeared to
consider their trap losses to my patrols a routine cost of doing
business.
Over the years I became familiar with standard trapping
methods and equipment–and found that the cruelty of trapping was
actually understated by animal rights literature. The late Animal
Welfare Institute founder Christine Stevens, for example, claimed
that cable snares are less cruel than leghold traps, having probably
never seen real-life cable snaring.

Animal advocates finally got to see some of what really
happens on traplines with the 2002 release of Crying Shame, a
five-minute collection of clips from U.S. and Canadian government
tests of standard traps and techniques produced by The Fur-Bearers
(3727 Renfrew St., Vancouver, B.C., Canada V5M 3L7;
<furbearers@banleghold-traps.com>), but Crying Shame, though
suitable for airing on a portable monitor at a protest, is more
intense and relentless in depicting animal suffering than most people
will voluntarily watch, and barely delves into trapping issues
other than cruelty, for example not offering much to refute the
perpetual claim of trappers that furbearing animal populations must
be lethally “managed.”
Cull of the Wild includes much of the same footage, but
breaks it up with informative interviews. Missouri Department of
Conservation furbearer biologist Dave Hamilton appears to make the
same arguments that he used in 1995-1996 to roll back a ban on the
import of trapped fur into the European Union. He is effectively
refuted by Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights founder Ned
Buyuchimici, DVM, who grew up battling the trappers who perpetually
invaded the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, founded by his late parents
in central New Jersey. Other trappers, biologists, Animal
Protection Institute wildlife expert Camilla Fox, and several past
and present Members of Congress add to the discussion.
Apart from being well-edited and relatively easily watched,
Cull of the Wild is the first anti-trapping video I have seen that
adequately discusses the differences among cable snares, Conibear
traps, and leghold traps, both with and without offset jaws and
padding. A quibble is that it repeats the frequent misperception
that leghold traps are the most common type. Actually, both cable
snares, set mainly for coyote and fox, and Conibear traps, set
mainly for muskrat, nutria, beaver, and otter, appear to be used
in much greater profusion–and copper wire snares, not yet discussed
by any anti-trapping video, may be more often used in some regions
than all other trap varieties combined.
Cull of the Wild comes as a two-in-one package, containing
both 27-minute and 10-minute versions. The short version includes
everything that really packs a punch, but the long version should be
required viewing for campaigners, as background they may find
indispensable in debating trappers.

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