(October 21, 2005) – In 1996, a majority (64 percent) of Massachusetts citizens voted to restrict the use of certain traps to capture wildlife for recreation, sparking a controversy that continues today. The state’s Division of Wildlife and Fisheries (MassWildlife) wishes to overturn the measure commonly referred to as “Question One.”
United Animal Nations assisted The Humane Society of The United States, the MSPCA and the Animal Protection Institute to prepare a joint report released this month entitled, “ Human-Beaver Conflicts in Massachusetts: Assessing the Debate Over Question One.”
Among the groups’ findings:
- The traps restricted by Question One inflict unacceptable pain and suffering on animals, and other non-lethal approaches that are more lasting, environmentally responsible and humane are available.
- Reports that the beaver population is “spiraling out of control” are exaggerated. The most comprehensive model published to date found both colony numbers and population size stabilizing after dynamic periods of growth. The bulk of available evidence suggests that beaver populations are largely regulated by natural mortality.
- Recreational trappers do not typically set their traps in the residential and developed areas where people are experiencing conflicts with beavers, but instead trap beavers living in remote areas where they are not causing conflicts with people.
- By failing to support modern techniques and approaches for wildlife conflict resolution, MassWildlife has severely hampered both its own and the public’s ability to manage conflicts with beaver.
Download the entire report here [PDF].