The City of Belleville is considering its options in beaver co-existence strategies following a traumatic incident this summer in which residents found a beaver struggling for life in a trap.
Of great concern to some on council was the location of the trap – a creek that’s popular with dog walkers, children, and families, only 20 feet from a sidewalk. The Fur-Bearers has offered assistance in training city staff in the use of non-lethal, humane co-existence devices that keep beavers on the landscape and protect infrastructure, as well as development of educational materials and policy.
At a deputation to Council, the Ontario Fur Managers Federation noted that there are no requirements under law to notify residents of nearby trapping. Signs are also not required, and when questioned, the representative of the trappers association indicated that signs can put trappers at risk through loss of property or damaged property by activists.
The Fur-Bearers have long stated that interfering with legal traps does not educate communities in methods of co-existence or stop trapping. Additionally, we communicate regularly that interference with a legal trap is illegal.
However, the question must be asked of communities facing the realities of trapping: is protecting a $15 trap more important than the safety of children and pets?
Even if we ignore the cruel truth about the trade agreement from which trappers get the term ‘humane traps’ there are still critical questions about the risks traps present to families, domestic animals, and non-target species (including endangered species) that can’t be brushed away by fur industry rhetoric.
There is a better way to live with wildlife. And The Fur-Bearers can help communities embrace them.
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