PAWS Magazine

 

Issue 46, Summer 2000

 

Initiative to ban traps on November ballot

When Joe reached the river’s edge, he saw a black and gray dog with large panicked eyes looking up at him from the glacier-fed waters. Without hesitation, Joe went into the water.

“I held onto the bank with one hand and felt under the water around the dog’s back legs. That’s when I found the trap,” Joe said. “It was chained to the river bottom.” Joe worked to free Jake by trying to cut the chain. Joe fought the current and the numbing cold… Finally he was able to cut through the chain and bring the shivering dog up onto the bank.

(excerpt from Spring 1998 newsletter for the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce Counties, honoring Officer Joe Hunt’s courageous rescue of a family pet caught in a leghold trap)

Three-thousand citizens, from Bellingham to Spokane, took to the streets with petitions to gather signatures for Initiative 713. As a show of their support for restricting the use of body-gripping animal traps and poisons used for commerce and recreation in Washington, volunteers kept the pressure on for five months, gathering thousands of signatures every week. Thanks to their incredible dedication, the campaign’s initial goal of 235,000 signatures was surpassed and more than a quarter of a million signatures were finally submitted to the Secretary of State’s office on July 5th. With a final count of 261,268 signatures, Initiative 713 is assured a place on the November ballot.

I-713’s successful all-volunteer signature drive reflects the overwhelming support it has received from Washington citizens who acknowledge that steel-jawed leghold traps and other body gripping traps are inhumane and indiscriminate. More than sixty Washington State veterinarians, humane societies, and citizen, animal protection and conservation groups, including Washington Trout and several Audubon chapters, have also endorsed I-713.

Body-gripping traps cause agonizing suffering and death to thousands of targeted wild animals and non-target species such as family pets, song birds and endangered species every year. Trappers themselves admit to catching as many as ten non-target species for every target animal trapped. Their web sites even proudly display photos of non-target species inadvertently caught in traps. Trapped animals can suffer from severe injuries for hours and even days. Some animals will resort to chewing off their own legs in order to escape the terror of the vise-grip.

Contrary to opponents’ claims, I-713 does not ban all trapping. It prohibits the use of cruel traps for commercial and recreational purposes only. Exceptions allow the use of certain body-gripping traps to protect human safety, private property, livestock, or threatened and endangered species or for wildlife research.

ALL-OUT VOLUNTEER EFFORT NEEDED FOR FINAL STRETCH

Now that I-713 is on the ballot, it’s imperative to get the “VOTE YES!” message out to Washington citizens. This is a critical juncture for the campaign and volunteers are needed more than ever. I-713 opponents are well-financed and must be countered with a media blitz prior to the election in November. Volunteers are needed to help educate voters about I-713’s common sense and practical restrictions on traps and poisons through letters to the editor, emails lists and mailings. Volunteers are also needed to host house parties and help with fundraising for paid TV and radio ads.

If you are interested in getting involved , please contact:

Yes! on I-713
Protect Pets and Wildlife
5200 University Way NE #201
Seattle, WA 98105
Phone: (206)526-0949 Fax: (206)526-0989
Email: bantraps@seanet.com


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