My Turn: Anti-trapping column politicizes virus outbreak

For the Monitor
Published: 3/24/2020 6:00:24 AM

There have been many recent examples of politicization of a crisis regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Kristina Snyder’s column (Monitor Opinion, March 21) is definitely the most outlandish, desperate attempt I’ve yet seen.

The first paragraph sets the tone by explaining why the writer is so upset – yet another bill put forth by the anti-hunting crowd was easily defeated in our Legislature. Snyder seemed surprised that “even Democrats praised Fish and Game.” Does she actually think that every hunter, angler and trapper in the nation is a MAGA-hat-wearing Republican?

What follows is a “sky is falling” list of the dangers of humans coming into contact with wild animals – replete with caricatures of sportsmen and women as brutal oafs wallowing in the blood and body parts of their quarry. Does she think that hunters, anglers and trappers aren’t concerned with their health?

A paper from the American Veterinary Medical Association clearly lays out current best practice in the handling and care of wild game and states up front that it is “by no means intended to discourage people from hunting.” Precautions like wearing rubber gloves while field dressing, always opting for quick kill shots that avoid the abdominal area, proper freezing/refrigeration of meat or fish and thorough cooking make eating wild protein a very low-risk activity. Snyder will dismiss this as “anecdotal evidence,” but as a 53-year-old, lifelong hunter and angler, neither I – nor anyone I’ve ever hunted or fished with – has ever come down with any disease from eating wild fish or game.

Compare that with food produced by corporate agribusiness. A recent report shows that food recalls increased 10% between 2013 and 2018, and that 88% of food recalls are vegetables, not meat or fish. Multiple reasons for the spike were cited, including the fact that regulations aren’t keeping pace with changes in food production. The report even posited that increased food recalls are a good thing, because they show more companies are being proactive about quickly recalling items whenever a potential public health threat is detected.

I’ve been willing to give the animal rights crowd a break lately, because I agree with them on several issues, like the insanity of predator killing contests where people receive cash and other prizes based on how many animals they kill. The conclusion of Snyder’s piece reveals why sportsmen and women must always remain vigilant, however: “In addition to trapping, perhaps we should look at all hunting methods, handling and consumption too.”

This statement reveals the animal rights crowd’s true intentions – contradicting the old saw that “we don’t want to ban all hunting/angling/trapping – we just want to ban certain practices.”

But maybe I’m wrong, maybe they don’t want to ban everything from predator killing contests to kids’ fishing derbies. If that is the case, perhaps they should look for a more representative spokesperson?

(Dan Williams lives in Concord.)




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