With all the debate over animal rights these days, it's time to take a hard look at why trapping is important.
Trapping. Just say the word in a public place and you're likely to gain some sideways glances. In big cities and in small towns alike, there is a staunch divide between trappers and non-trappers, each untrusting of the other. As a kid in the late 80s and early 90s, I remember seeing lots of news about fur and fur trapping. Stories of women in fur coats being ambushed by paint throwing activists in cities around America were fairly regular occurrences on the nightly news. It wasn't until I got older did I become aware of the real disagreements behind the issue.
I'll be the first to admit that I have not been trapping all my life. At 31 years old, I am relatively new to the activity, but have truly enjoyed my experience as a trapper. Trapping offers many benefits to the world to both people and animals alike.
Here is my list of the top five reasons why trapping is important.
Trapping has been an economic activity of humans as far back as history reaches. Today, people still trap as an economic focus or an economic supplement.
I don't depend on trapping to keep the lights on, but people do. If we outlawed trapping we would be taking the rug out from under people's financial security. This is something nobody would want to happen to them and should be respected.
2. Animal Disease Control
Today our animal populations are remarkably different than they were years ago in a very different landscape. They are very densely packed into certain areas, mainly around food sources such as corn or silage.
Catastrophic diseases are more likely to develop in, and spread throughout, a dense population. Another reason why trapping is important is that by reducing the density of animal populations in certain areas we can actually improve the long term stability of the population by decreasing the risk of a pestilent disease.
3. Animal Population Control
Today most animal populations are thriving as much as they ever have. Coyotes, whitetail deer, raccoon, and beaver are all species that have experienced population booms in recent decades. In part, this is due to the lack of top predators.
With the top predators depleted, someone needs to manage the animal populations, and that job falls to us humans. Trappers are an integral part of our nation's animal management strategy that appears to be very successful. Too many animals is not good for humans or animals.
4. We Need Trappers
Trapping requires an immense body of knowledge, and plenty of experience to be done efficiently. Trapping takes years of observation, failure, and experimentation to be mastered.
With that in mind, if we lost trappers who would be available to remove coyotes from a local park, or a wolf who has killed a rancher's calves? Professional trappers in animal damage control are important service providers to both rural and urban citizens alike. These folks come in with the equipment and the know-how to get rid of your pest problem fast.
5. Cultural Value
Finally, the cultural value of trapping winds up as the most important number on this list of why trapping is important because it is the reason many people keep trapping even during the hard times. It is just what they do. It is a family tradition for many, and the identity of many people as well. Young trappers get the opportunity to spend time with parents and grandparents and learn from their elders. Stories and conversation can fill the air when families get together and share their experiences and their love of the outdoor life. Just as sports like baseball and football get people together, trapping is the same for many families across the country.
In the end, trapping is a very beneficial activity that should be allowed, managed, and supported in America. It benefits both people and animals alike, and if we lost trapping and trappers, we would lose a big part of our cultural identity as a nation. With these five things in mind, it is easy to see why trapping is important.