My Turn: Why is Miss N.H. organization still awarding fur coats?

For the Monitor
Published: 3/11/2019 12:10:12 AM

‘It is a new era and Miss America is evolving.” That quote is from the Miss America website. Unfortunately, the Miss New Hampshire chapter is not up to par with that statement.

Every year, for decades, the newly crowned contestant and winner of the Miss New Hampshire pageant accepts a fur coat made from animals trapped by N.H. recreational trappers. Dozens of our state’s precious wild animals are skinned for a coat of vanity.

There are fewer than 500 trappers in New Hampshire, but they do an enormous amount of damage to the wildlife of our state. One trapper last year bragged to the Fish and Game Commission that he killed 35 foxes in a couple of weeks. Trappers are allowed to bludgeon, drown or suffocate the animals they trap.

I have seen some of the worst acts of cruelty inflicted on wild animals done by trappers. They upload videos, take pictures and make comments about the animals they kill for “hobby and tradition.” They do this proudly.

Why would the Miss New Hampshire organization support such cruelty and cater to a demographic of predominantly male trappers?

A few weeks ago I sent a polite email to all of the members of the board of directors for the organization to request a meeting and discuss the issue, but received no reply.

I decided to drop in on the office and there I met with the vice president. I was told that my email did not warrant a response, but then was informed my email had been forwarded to her trapper friends. She then recited the trapper mantra she has been fed, that trapping is humane and necessary. A highlight was when she referred to wild animals as “crops.”

After that meeting I researched that years ago she had been given her own fur coat by N.H. trappers, which was made from skinned N.H. red foxes.

Many high-end fashion designers have gone fur-free and some major cities, including Los Angeles, are banning the sale of fur. The social movement against trapping and fur has gone far beyond a handful of activists waving signs. People have no tolerance for abject, unnecessary cruelty to animals anymore.

The act of animal trapping is violent. The very word “trap” conjures up not joyful feelings but feelings of dread and fear.

It might be that the Miss New Hampshire organization is being kept in the dark ages by the people who have been running it for decades. They are people who still think it is glamorous to wear fur, throwbacks to the black-and-white movie era where the woman is wearing a full dead fox around her shoulders and smoking a long cigarette.

Do the contestants get a say in this or are they forced to accept this coat of torture?

Miss New Hampshire is supposed to emulate independence, compassion and forward thinking, and accepting this fur coat does none of that. Can she compete with the other states that have truly evolved like the Miss America website claims, and that are restricting or banning trapping and the sale of fur?

Strategically and for Miss New Hampshire’s own good, this fur coat tradition needs to end.

A petition has been started to urge the Miss New Hampshire organization to rethink this antiquated tradition. Please go to the Facebook page “NH Citizens Against Recreational Trapping” to find it or do a Google search with “Miss New Hampshire petition” and add your name.

The wild animals of this state thank you.

(Kristina Snyder lives in Chester.)

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