The Canadian Mounties have decided that real muskrat hats are preferable to fake fur, a decision that has animal rights people crying foul.
Two years ago the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - aka the Mounties - succumbed to pressure from animal rights groups who disdain trapping. The Mounties bowed before these extremists and announced that they would be abandoning their traditional winter muskrat hats and would instead adopt synthetic alternatives.
Well, now the Mounties have reversed that decision, declaring that the synthetic alternatives are a poor replacement for real fur.
"Artificial fur did not stand up to exposure to the elements (particularly rain), or provide the same level of warmth in extreme winter conditions," the RCMP said of the field tests they performed.
As a result, the Mounties have just ordered 5,000 new muskrat hats for their officers. This is great news for the Mounties, for Canada, for the trapping lifestyle and tradition, for everyone involved - except for the animal rights folks, who are fiercely criticizing the decision.
You've heard all the half-baked anti-trapping complaints from these groups before, so there's no need to rehash them here and give these non-environmentalists more publicity than they deserve.
Suffice to say, with three muskrat pelts used per hat, the activists are declaring that the Mounties are responsible for 15,000 agonizing muskrat deaths.
Of course that's a gross mischaracterization, if not an outright lie. Modern muskrat trapping is a very efficient endeavor, with traps and methods usually killing the animals quickly and humanely as possible.
Interestingly (for a politician), at least one Conservative Member of the Canadian Parliament, Robert Sopuck, boldly hailed the Mounties decision as a great win for the citizens, history, and traditions of Canada.
"The fur trade heritage is something we should be very proud of," Sopuck said. Sopuck also rightly referenced the fact that Canada was built on the fur trade and that the practice should be upheld and preserved wherever and whenever possible.
"Anything we can do to protect and defend the fur trade, I support," he declared.
Sopuck also cited the importance of the symbolism of the Mounties and their fur hats.
"The RCMP, by wearing muskrat hats, is showing solidarity with the communities they live in," he stated. "It would be a very bad signal to the fur trade for the RCMP to abandon the muskrat hat."
You can be assured that the animal rights groups will not give up their attacks on trapping and hunting and our outdoors way of life. If only there were more politicians of Sopuck's fortitude.
In the meantime, we can celebrate this win. The Canadian Mounties have just given us one more reason to see them as some of the coolest law officers on the planet.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.
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