Trapping season is now underway, or soon will be, across Canada and the United States. Every year, the fur industry desperately tries to validate the role trapping plays in our society with various marketing spins and romanticised (and conveniently selective) notions of North American history.
It’s important to The Fur-Bearers that advocates are armed with the facts to dispute these myths in their efforts to #MakeFurHistory. Here are three common myths from the fur industry that don’t stand up against the facts:
- Only humane traps are used. This is the most contentious topic that comes up when talking about trapping. The term “humane” comes from the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards, a trade agreement that kept the European Union from banning the importation of Canadian furs in the 90s. Despite what the fur industry says, these traps aren’t humane – they’re simply less cruel than their predecessors due to small changes like thin rubber padding on leg-hold traps, swivels on traps to make it harder for animals to break bones, and so on. But make no mistake – trapping any animal against their will and keeping them in place until they die or a trapper returns to kill them is inherently inhumane. Read more about the AIHTS here.
- Trapping is necessary to control wildlife populations. The notion that wildlife populations need to be controlled through lethal means is the first erroneous part of this dubious statement, but that trapping is necessary to do so puts it over the top as simply ridiculous. Despite hundreds of years of experience, the fur industry still can’t prevent the wrong species from activating a trap; they can’t determine which animal of a population will be caught, injured, or killed; and, they can’t explain why ecosystems where trapping doesn’t occur seem to get by just fine on their own.
- Trapping is economically important/trapping isn’t about the money. Depending on which fur industry representative you speak with, trapping is simultaneously economically vital to the well-being of thousands, and not about the money at all. The reality is that trapping doesn’t provide a great deal of income, and the values of fur at auction fluctuated regularly. Last year a Yukon trapper and math teacher had his students figure out how much he made as an active trapper, based on his costs and revenues. The answer? He was making less than one dollar per hour.
Trapping isn’t humane, it doesn’t help the animals, and it’s not economically important – it’s time to #MakeFurHistory.