Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Montana Trapping Ban Faces Long Odds at Polls

After two attempts, an animal advocacy group has finally succeeded in getting an anti-trapping initiative on the Montana ballot. There are 20 other states with varying trapping prohibitions, but it may take several more tries before such a ban passes in this rural state. The Montana Trap-Free Public Lands Initiative, I-177, qualified for the state ballot in June after supporters gathered signatures from more than 5 percent of Montana's 681,000 registered voters. The initiative would ban recreational and commercial trapping on all public land in the state, although Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks employees could still trap or give approval for citizens to trap problem animals if nonlethal methods are not effective. Nonlethal methods include hazing, eliminating livestock carcass dumps and the use of range riders. I-177 backers, including Montanans for Trap-Free Public Lands spokeswoman Connie Poten, say a driving factor behind the initiative is the number of family pets that get caught in snares and traps while their owners recreate on public land. More than 60 veterinarians have endorsed the initiative. But the Montana Trappers Association continues to push back, dubbing I-177 as "ballot box biology." Trappers argue that pets wouldn't be injured if responsible owners kept them on a leash and -- after more than a decade of fighting -- the two sides are sworn enemies...more

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