Letters to the Bend Bulletin

Trap not two feet from the Grasslands Road, 3/13/12

The Bulletin’s Feb. 20 article on traps was of special interest to me because a few weeks ago, our dog got caught in a foot trap that was completely buried in a cow path, not two feet from the Grasslands road. Unbelievably, it is legal to bury a trap!

If we had taken that trail, our granddaughter would have probably gone first and it would have broken her ankle. If I had not been able to figure out how to open the trap, it would have been a disastrous experience, because we were about 3⁄4 of a mile from the truck and it was all uphill.

I have often explored the backcountry alone, but I won’t anymore. I am 76, and there is no way I could have opened the trap with my foot in it. I’m sure I would have never made it to the truck with a trap on one foot.

Oregon has very strict laws against animal abuse. What difference does it make if a pet or a wild animal is suffering for days in excruciating pain, waiting for death at last? Why do we permit trapping anyway?

If your pet or your granddaughter ever steps in a trap, you will agree with me that trapping is barbaric torture. Why should a couple of hundred trappers rob the rest of us of our public land? If you think trapping should be outlawed, you should visit www.trapfreeoregon.org and see what you can do to end this evil.

William Hoff


Keep trapping off public lands, 3/11/12

The front page story on Feb. 20 in The Bulletin, “Caution urged among spate of trapped dogs,” both saddened and enraged me. The accompanying tutorial on how to free your dog from a trap was gruesome and horrifying. Readers are being urged to carry industrial strength wire cutters on them during walks with their dogs on public lands. What’s next?

Trapping is outmoded and barbaric. The fact that the veterinarian had difficulty handling her own dog when it was caught in the trap, due to its extreme pain, is evidence enough that trapping is cruel. The traps must be checked every two days. Imagine the suffering of any creature stuck in a trap. Is wearing a fur coat or having fur trimmings on clothing articles worth inflicting such monstrous, hideous suffering on an animal?

When I read through the instructions on freeing a dog from a trap, I shuddered. Do I have to carry these instructions with me whenever I walk my dog on public lands? I doubt very much I would either have the physical strength or be in a calm enough state of mind to attempt the rather complex maneuvers it takes to free a hysterical, biting, screaming animal from a trap, especially if it was my own dog.

That brings to mind another point. I am constantly reading posts on Craigslist for lost pets, often dogs lost while hiking. How many of these have ended up languishing in a trap somewhere? Do you really think a trapper is going to attempt to free any pet it finds caught in a trap?

The article stated wild animals are often shot with a gun, if they aren’t dead already from cold, predation or loss of blood. Any pet caught in a trap is going to be crazed with pain, making even freeing it very difficult without being bitten. Surely a trapper is going to be upset that his trap was “wasted” with a pet, won’t take a chance on being bitten and is just going to shoot the animal.

Do you really think the trapper is going to try to locate the owner of the pet caught in the trap, or take it to a vet? Nope, it goes in a shallow grave or dump.

Traps don’t just catch the fur bearing animals they are intended for. They also capture birds, small rodents, cats, etc. — all “junk” nuisances to the trapper.

And God forbid the family who is hiking the public lands with children. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision the scene of a small child who steps or stumbles into a trap with its traumatic consequences.

I would love to hear the explanations from the trappers themselves on why they continue this practice. Fur sales are on the decline.

Surely they aren’t catching enough bobcats and lynx to be making this an especially profitable sideline. Once again, trapping is an outmoded and barbaric practice that serves only the vanity of a handful of unenlightened, thoughtless people.

Trappers are fond of saying traps don’t really “hurt” the animal, that the animal is most bothered by being confined and unable to escape. I think the dog owners who experienced this with their pets firsthand would beg to differ.

I don’t want trapping on public lands. I myself will spring and destroy any traps I find while hiking, consequences be damned.

Please think twice before buying fur. Even farm raised fur animals suffer enormously. With all the technology out there, we don’t need fur anymore to stay warm.

— Celeste LaMosse lives in Bend.

Trapping is ‘barbaric,’ 3/29/12

Published: March 29. 2012 4:00AM PST

Remember the incredible story of Aron Ralston, who amputated his arm after being trapped by a boulder for five days? Horrific, right? Well, consider this. Every 21 minutes an animal dies an indescribably horrible death in a trap in Oregon; many of them chew off limbs in an effort to escape.

On average Oregonians kill 25,000 animals every year in this inhumane, barbaric manner. The real number is much higher as this doesn’t include unreported and “non-target” animals killed or the young that die without parents to feed and defend them. Nor does it factor in Oregon’s percentage of the millions killed in traps every year by wildlife services funded by our tax dollars!

This isn’t a hunting issue. Responsible hunters kill their prey quickly and efficiently. It’s about a truly sadistic practice that should be banned outright. Its defendants describe it as sport! In what perverse form or fashion does this qualify as sport? Or the argument that trapping should be preserved because it’s a tradition. What type of twisted logic is that? It was traditional for women not to have the right to vote. It was traditional for African-Americans to be treated as second-class citizens. Arguing for something to be preserved because it’s a traditional practice confirms only one thing — the proponent’s naivete.

It’s said that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the manner in which its animals are treated. What do you think that says about us?

Alistair Paterson


End Oregon trapping, 3/29/12

In regard to the recent Bulletin editorial, “ODFW should warn public about traps with signs,” I was dismayed that the author felt we should preserve “one of the state’s oldest traditions” that began in the early 1800s as “Oregon’s first resource industry.”

The beaver was nearly eradicated by trapping in Oregon. The Old South felt slavery was part of its culture and traditional way of life.

As we became more educated and civilized, old “traditions” were discarded as barbaric and inhumane. Today, despite the booming Chinese market, the majority of Americans would not be caught dead wearing a real fur coat.

If we must kill coyotes or other livestock predators, let’s make sure that their deaths are as swift and painless as possible. Please sign petitions and contact legislators urging them to join our neighbors in California and Washington in banning these cruel traps. Let Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife know your feelings by sending an email to the ODFW Commission at odfw.commission@state.or.us.

What could be more inhumane than continuing to use traps that hold innocent, terrified wildlife in extreme pain and terrible weather conditions until a trapper gets around to checking the trap?

Sally Miller


Abolish Oregon Trapping, 4/11/12

I am responding to the letter, written recently by a non-trapper. Suffice to say, most of his comments are so way off the mark and inaccurate that his mind has been trapped, mindlessly repeating  the line taken by ODFW and trappers. There is no economic justification for trapping, and there is no basis for trapping in this day and age.

The deliberate infliction of cruelty, pain and distress on wild animals by trapping with these medieval devices is so at variance in a modern society. There are myriads of laws protecting other types of animals from cruelty, and the same sort of standards should apply to this barbaric and inhumane practice. Actually photographed, a wolf caught in a steel leg hold trap, attached to a log, causes the animal to run around and around in circles, unable to escape, blood staining the snow, the trapper grinning at his “success”, saying his wolf has only been like that for only 12 hours.

Nobody but a trapper can take delight in looping a snare over the neck of a silver fox, or a red fox, stretching the animal out, paws caught in an inhumane device, then kneeling or stomping on its chest, to crush the life out of it, so the fur, unspoiled, can adorn the neck of someone in Russia or China. These nearly 25000 animals trapped annually are victims of vanity and deserve to live a trap-free life in Oregon. Trapping in Oregon should be abolished.

Dave Eddleston


Trapping is torture, 4/9/12

April 09, 2012

Mr. Prineville, I understand your point of view is basically this: Trapping is good because we’ve always done it and it makes economic good sense. That about it?

Please see Trap Free Oregon and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife websites for information on laws, income and opinions about harm to animals, fur-bearing and otherwise.

Mr. Sisters, you say dogs should be controlled because trappers want freedom to trap wild animals. Unfortunately, our national bird also gets caught in these traps. But you don’t want to change things any more than Mr. Prineville.

Mr. Mitchell, you are afraid of poison and bullets replacing traps so pets and people might still get hurt. Change has got you scared, too, right? For mice, use a cat. For rats, get a rat terrier dog.

Ms. Bend, thank you for telling it like it is. Trapping is torture to animals, wild or domestic, caught in those traps. Many states, including California and Washington and many foreign countries have adopted laws against using steel jawed traps and other devices considered inhumane.

Some say trapping is a living-wage situation. According to the facts presented in the websites above, the average income per trapper is less than $1,000 per year.

I want to meet the person who can live on $1,000 per year.

Bobbi Cowan


Trapping is animal abuse, 4/13/12

In all the debate over trapping, I have read trapper accounts that claim animals caught in traps feel no pain, and that they do not suffer.

Years ago, I was accidentally caught in a huge conibear trap that had been set for beaver in a stream near my home. The trap snapped onto my left wrist and the pain I experienced was excruciating. I had to drive myself to a neighbor’s house for help. Even after the trap was removed, the pain did not stop.

My left hand was paralyzed and it was nine months before I regained complete use. Meanwhile, the pain was unrelenting, and I suffered for several weeks before it began to let up. I sustained severe nerve damage to my wrist, and 15 years later, I can still feel the effects.

I completely understand how the pain would drive a trapped animal to chew off its own leg in an attempt to escape. If anyone other than a licensed trapper willfully inflicted this kind of pain and suffering on an animal, they would go to jail.

Wanting to ban trapping is not just about keeping our pet dogs out of traps, it is about saving thousands of Oregon’s wildlife from suffering pain, and an agonizing death, at the hands of a few people in the name of “sport.” Oregon’s wildlife belongs to all Oregonians, not just to a few to torture and kill for fun and a few dollars’ profit.

In my opinion, trapping is legally sanctioned animal abuse.

Jennifer Kirkpatrick


Traps do torture, 3/24/12

In response to the trapping article that ran in The Bulletin March 6 (“C.O. anti-trap movement takes hold”), Matt Smith is quoted as saying that “trapped animals aren’t tortured.” If the physical trap is not torture enough so much that some animals will chew their legs off to get out, what about the mental anguish of being trapped? What about laying exposed for a predator to attack you when you are helpless to defend yourself, run, or hide? What about exposure to

elements and freezing to death without shelter to protect you? What about the anguish caused by fear when the human shows up to further contain and then finish you off? What about the babies that are left back in nests and burrows which will starve to death when the parents don’t return? You want normal, thinking people to believe trapping is not torture? If you want to continue with your gruesome practices, at least be honest about it. After all, it’s legal and encouraged by a government that is desperate for money. Why is the truth so hard to tell? Animals, both wild and domestic, are killed, maimed, and yes, tortured in traps. Smith continues that trapping is “very scientific.” Why does every trap I have seen, including the one featured in the newspaper article,

look like something straight from a “Gunsmoke” rerun? The year is 2012, Festus stopped patrolling the streets a long time ago, and it’s time for this barbaric “sport” to end.

Gina McCrea


Trapping is barbaric, 4/17/12

This letter is in response to the March 30 My Nickel’s Worth letter, “Trapper speaks out.”

Cliff Cornett says he believes that only feral pets belonging to irresponsible owners can die in traps. However, many traps are designed to kill. We know from recent letters that traps are often located near trails, streams, rivers and other recreational areas. Children, hikers, pets and horses are all vulnerable. Even a no-kill trap can maim or injure a pet or person severely. That has nothing to do with irresponsible ownership.

Regardless of your position on abortion, the issue has no place in a discussion of the morality of animal trapping in Oregon.

It’s true that many outdated areas of interest, like sailing ships, sternwheelers and Fort Astoria, are visited every year. That’s exactly what needs to happen with trapping. It needs to be relegated to museum status so we can look back on this barbaric activity as history.

Yes, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals euthanizes animals that have not been adopted, but PETA uses humane methods. They don’t leave the animal suffering in a trap for hours or days and they certainly don’t consider it sport.

I agree, my dogs won’t recognize a warning sign of “traps in the area.” I will, and I’ll leave the area with my dogs so none of us get killed or injured. I’d prefer to skip the sign part and just see this barbaric torture stopped.

Michael Bobrick, Bend

Trapping a cruel activity,, 4/17/12

I am compelled to respond to a letter from the trapper whose letter was published on March 30.

Although he digresses, his way of thinking is difficult to understand. The revenue derived from this “sport” is minimal and does not justify the means. The act of trapping cannot be justified by the pain and suffering it inflicts.

Recently, an incident has been made public where a group of trappers from Idaho captured a wolf in a leg hold trap, where it sat for four days while struggling to free itself and gnawing at its own foot. While it was trapped, several trappers and onlookers stood within range, taking potshots at the animal as it stood defenseless and maimed. You have to ask yourself, how can pleasure be derived from such an act? Only a human monster can justify this action, let alone find any kind of sport or pleasure in such a heinous act. Any other method of death would be preferable to this.

In general, society as a whole has become more enlightened in how we regard and treat all living creatures on Earth. There is a small percentage out there that seems to have missed the train. There is a movement in this state to abolish trapping once and for all. As support grows, its success is imminent. My advice to those trappers out there: Find another way to get your kicks.

Oakley Taylor, Bend

Trapping is a cruel, inexcusable, outdated sport, 4/27/12

I would like to respond to the letter written by Cliff Cornett about trapping. Dog in the fight? Which fight, the one of dog against steel trap?

Let me get this straight: If my pet gets trapped, you believe it is my fault and I have been irresponsible for letting my pet run feral? Seriously? Feral means that my pet has reverted to and is existing in a non-domesticated state, and I doubt that could actually happen in one afternoon.

Regardless, I pay taxes too, and I have just as much right as you or any trapper to utilize the open public lands and to do so without having to worry about myself or my pet being injured in a trap. Your dog may not read signs, but I can, and that would give me the choice to forgo risking my pets in that area, even though I do have the right to use it!

Here is a quandary for trappers. How about those young children, feral or otherwise, that cannot read a sign, that may go walking into a trap? Any parent would prefer to read a sign and be able to choose a safe place to walk with their child. What if there is no sign and a child is injured by a trap? You can almost hear the legal papers being folded even as I write!

Are pets more cherished than children? As a parent I say no, but did you know that the bond between some people and their pets is as strong as the bond between parent and child? I have references.

When did a barbaric sport become more cherished than child or even pet safety? And how does abortion fit into this discussion?

Is trapping outdated? Yes, even though some call it sport, it is just a practice that is similar to cock fighting, dog fighting or bull fighting, because it causes physical and emotional pain and suffering ultimately resulting in death. It is just not necessary anymore. Have we not established quicker, more effective ways to kill without drawn-out suffering? And sailing ships, sternwheelers and Astoria as justification for sustaining trapping? There’s no comparison. These three examples do not involve killing, maiming and suffering.

As far as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and euthanasia, a 1998 survey of 1,000 shelters revealed that 2.7 million cats and dogs were euthanized that year. That is 2,700 per shelter annually. Making a crude comparison, if that 2,700 was a constant for the last 24 years that would be 65,000 per shelter since 1998. Based on Cornett’s figure, PETA has euthanized 27,000 since 1998, a rate of 1,125 annually. Certainly, the figure I came up with since 1998 could be higher or lower, but to demonize PETA for its euthanasia number is ridiculous, especially as some sort of justification for trapping. There are now 5,000 shelters across the U.S. euthanizing 3-4 million annually and those are not all unadoptable pets!

I worked for several years in a shelter before and during veterinary school. I have been a veterinarian for 28 years. I have had to euthanize many animals along the way — dogs, cats, horses, farm animals and some wild life. No veterinarian ever gets used to it. For every animal I have euthanized, I have looked into their eyes as the life goes out. Does the trapper? If the trapped one is still alive when you get there, how do you do it? How do you kill them? Bullet? Bludgeon? Knife? Broken neck? Whatever the method, do you look into their eyes and see the terror, pain and confusion as they die? I bet not.

I get there may be some people that are trapping now because their family needs food. I would cut them slack, but for people that do it for sport, not a chance.

— Mark B. Parchman, DVM, lives in Bend.

Time for trapping is over, 4/29/12

John Barnum writes that trapping is Oregon’s heritage and, therefore, a viable part of our society. I totally disagree. Yes indeed, our culture has changed. We do not have to trap animals for their fur any longer. We have man-made, superior fabrics to use to stay warm. Some are quite beautiful. I’d be surprised to hear that you eat the lynx, the beaver, etc., that you make suffer so severely. If you do, then just shoot them and get it over with. Tradition is a poor excuse for trapping. We don’t live in log cabins, gather plants and grind ’em for medicine, keep a few slaves around, or kill whales to burn their blubber anymore — all traditions from our past. We have much better inventions now. Do you get my drift?

Simply because we live in an industrial society does not make us have “tunnel vision” when it comes to methods of killing wildlife. There is no need; I repeat, no need to kill animals in such a barbarous, hateful manner. Consider this, what kind of a person enjoys torturing animals for a few bucks? Do you really need this money? Trapping is right “up there” with dog fighting and abortion. Trapping is archaic, obsolete and disgusting in my opinion. There are civilized alternatives. Please, find another hobby for the winter.

Personally, I’d be humiliated to be participating in the torture of animals, but again, that is just my opinion.

Nancy Burford, La Pine

Trapping should be a thing of the past, 4/28/12

I must respond to a letter by someone in support of trapping as part of Oregon’s heritage, stating that is why the beaver adorns our state flag. In the 1800s beavers were over-trapped for their fur, nearly eliminating them. It is only through regulation that there are beavers left in our state at all. It is more important to learn from the past than to continue its practices in the guise of tradition. Slavery is part of our country’s heritage, but fortunately we haven’t continued trapping humans.

That we should allow trapping in order to preserve our heritage is the lie and faulty argument perpetuated by trappers. It is not a lie that animals suffer in these traps, sometimes for days, or that there are very few restrictions on where traps can be placed. At the very least, traps need to be flagged and placed at a safe distance from trails. While it’s convenient for trappers, it is clearly a public safety issue. Education and responsibility isn’t going to make it safe to travel our public trails with traps set on or within reach.

However, we need to evolve and abolish trapping altogether. Traps are not “valuable inanimate tools, like hammers.” A hammer as a killing tool would be more humane. As someone who values life, I don’t need anyone to tell me that killing animals in these cruel, indiscriminate traps is wrong and a tradition that should be put where it belongs — in the past.

Lisa Bagwell, Bend


No place for trapping, 5/1/12

The debate about trapping brings to mind other questions about society’s relationship with animals.

For instance, Oregon has comprehensive, specific laws in place to protect animals from abuse, yet those laws apply only to a select few species of domestic animals. Factory farms are regulated, but farm animals are often kept in filthy, unnatural conditions and are only partially protected under the vague “laws of good animal husbandry.” Then there is the category of wildlife, a group encompassing many thousands of varied and valuable species, who receive compassion and protection from humans only when our abuses reduce their numbers to the brink of extinction.

Even though we have a history of trapping for meat and fur, those motivations are no longer valid. Our ancestors didn’t have the choices we have today, and our collective conscience has now evolved to the point where we can see trapping for what it is: the unnecessary, sadistic torture and killing of animals.

All animals are capable of feeling intense pain and fear. The beautiful creatures that live in our wilderness areas deserve our care and empathy just as much as the kittens and golden retrievers curled up at our feet.

There is no longer any place in an educated, ethical society for the brutal practice of trapping. Readers, I urge you to contact our lawmakers and ask them to make trapping illegal in Oregon. Their contact information is widely available online and in this newspaper. Getting involved does make a difference.

Dianne MacGillivray, Bend

Trapping is thoughtless, inhumane


Trapping wildlife has been rightly criticized in The Bulletin lately for its cruelty, but its defenders, so far, have mainly proffered simplistic nonsense. We are, however, indebted to the correspondent who informed us that dogs would be incapable of understanding posted warning signs. Another comment about people in dire economic straits having to engage in illegal trapping for their survival will have elicited some sympathy, but that by no means justifies trapping as a “sport” or fun activity.

Supporters injected a claim of tradition into the debate, but that is absurd. There are good traditions and others definitely not. When trapping was a way of life in the Northwest it nearly wiped out beavers. Persecution, including murder, of Native Americans in the Northwest was then something of a tradition that eventually extended to include African-Americans and Chinese. Mercifully, such extremes of racial bigotry have mostly been relegated to our national closet of shame, and animal trapping should be next.

In his book, “The Man Who Listened to Horses,” Monty Roberts, aka the Horse Whisperer, tells of how he learned to train horses using intelligence and knowledge and succeeded in having horses accept a rider without recourse to brutality. When Roberts demonstrated this to his father who used cruel traditional methods to break horses and raise children, the father became so enraged at this rejection of his core beliefs that he beat his son mercilessly with a chain. Roberts also told of how his unarmed father disarmed a knife-wielding robber. He was obviously a man capable of remarkable physical courage but paradoxically also one who lacked the moral courage and integrity to admit his cruel ways were wrong and inferior. Unfortunately, the story of how Roberts’ father was locked into traditional authoritarian ways suggests a formidable challenge facing activists seeking a ban on much crueler trapping. Like Roberts’ father, many trappers may be in denial and incapable of admitting to being wrong about their inhumane practices.

Recently, a photograph of a trapper in the Nez Perce National Forest was circulated on the Internet showing him posing and grinning near a trapped wolf restricted to a patch of snow saturated with his blood. Humane viewers of that repugnant scene could only imagine what fear and agony that wolf experienced before his hours of torture were brought to a merciless end. Admiring comments from other trappers accompanied the photograph on the trapping website, trapperman.com, but when it was exposed on an anti-trapping site, the exuberance ended abruptly. The trapping site removed its spread, and some trappers expressed their outrage when their nefarious pastime was exposed to public scrutiny. Threats were leveled at the anti-trapping group, Footloose Montana, according to the website of the Earth Island Institute. Unwittingly, in their anger, some members of the trapping community revealed they did not want inherent sadistic realities of their traditional activities exposed outside their confederacy.

Comments on related blogs suggested that many trapping devices were spread in the same and other areas of the national forest. Some were close to public access roads putting unwary visitors, their children and pets at risk of being caught in a bone-crushing trap. Unlike children conditioned in that locale to accept this despicable tradition, sensitive children could be traumatized by witnessing a tortured animal in a trap. With fear of traps prevailing, informed visitors will be confined to small areas of our supposedly public lands while trappers dominate hundreds of thousands of acres defiled by their barbaric equipment. Oregon should adopt enlightened bans on trapping. Let all visitors, including children, pets and horses, run carefree in open spaces without risk of crippling injury.

So, which do you favor? Enlightened, humane conduct or thoughtless, inhumane behavior?

— Bill Bodden lives in Redmond.