Animal Rights group excluded from New Hampshire wildlife Event following dispute

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NH Trapper Assoc
NH trappers show off pelts of animals caught with leghold traps and then killed for their fur. Trapping is torture, according to the NH Animal Rights League. Courtesy Photo

CONCORD, NH – After over six years of participation, the New Hampshire Animal Rights League (NHARL) was not invited back to this year’s Discover Wild New Hampshire Day, Saturday, April 20, following a decision by the event organizers at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

The exclusion stemmed from a grievance filed by the New Hampshire Trappers Association (NHTA), a group that champions the use of leghold and other body-gripping traps for capturing animals, alleging that at last year’s event a NHARL-affiliated individual from Voices of Wildlife “administered immense criticism for both the activity of trapping and our members.”

`NHARL and other opponents of trapping argue that the practice amounts to torture. Animals caught in traps become frantic, suddenly finding themselves in pain, defenseless, and unable to return to dependent young. Trapped animals have been known to chew off limbs to get free.

What happens to trapped animals next is not often discussed. When the trapper returns, he kills the trapped animal in a manner not to mar the pelt, typically by stepping on the animal’s windpipe or delivering a blunt-force blow to the skull.

Despite public disfavor, the NHTA enjoys prominent placement at Discover Wild New Hampshire Day. Thousands of people pass by the trappers’ exhibit, where the furs of more than a dozen skinned animals (bobcat, red fox, mink, and so on) are on display. Children, who are naturally fascinated by animals, are invited to stroke the soft pelts, but they will not be told the truth about how these animals died.

In contrast, NHARL’s popular exhibits have focused on conservation and the indirect effects of human activity on wildlife, including the harm to animals caused by plastic litter, rodenticides, and lead ammunition.

Joan O’Brien, current president of NHARL, expressed frustration over the exclusion. “It’s ironic that we, who advocate for non-interference in nature and promote true conservation, are excluded.”

As criticism of trapping intensifies, NHARL encourages attendees of Discover Wild NH Day to share their own opposition with event organizers.

In light of NHARL’s exclusion, an expanded anti-trapping protest including new methods of activism will take place across the street from the event (11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH) from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Sat., April 20. Anyone interested in taking a stand against trapping is welcome.

New Hampshire Animal Rights League is one of the oldest animal rights groups in the country, funded solely through donations and grants and operated entirely by unpaid volunteers.


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