NB trappers want in on rabies program; baiting remains top resource

Trappers in New Brunswick want to be brought into the fold by the government to help control the spread of rabies, primarily in raccoons. Their plan is to live trap (whether that is a box trap or a leg-hold, we don’t know) and inoculate individual animals. But the only benefits of this plan come to trappers who will be paid – not the animals who are at risk or the public who would also be at risk.

One need look no further than Ontario, where leading-edge rabies control programs have nearly eliminated the disease in the main three vector species – fox, raccoon and skunks.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, since their aerial and hand baiting program began in the 1989, the incident rate of rabies has declined an impressive 95 per cent.

“In 2005, 96 new rabies cases were reported in Ontario, down from the average 1,500 cases per year that were being reported between 1958 and 1990,” states an information sheet from the MNR.

This program also allows conservation officers and scientists to pinpoint the high-frequency areas of rabies and distribute vaccine more thoroughly.

Trappers routinely try to insinuate themselves into government programs as the only solution – but science will always triumph, showing better – and more humane – solutions are available.

Photo by Tracy Riddell

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