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For those Rocky Mountain Elk officials who declare that opposition to trapping is unscientific, uneducated and simply emotional, let’s consider Charles Darwin. We can all agree he was one heck of a scientist.

Darwin might even have more science credentials than RMEF’s CEO, former NASCAR promoter David Allen, and RMEF spokesman Mark Holyoak, former local TV anchor.

Here’s what Darwin wrote in his 1863 essay, “Trapping Agony:”

It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the suffering thus endured from fear, from acute pain, maddened by thirst, and by vain attempts to escape. Bull baiting and cock fighting have rightly been put down by law….Some who reflect upon this subject for the first time will wonder how such cruelty can have been permitted to continue in these days of civilization; and no doubt if men of education saw with their own eyes what takes place under their sanction, the system would have been put an end to long ago. We shall be told that setting steel traps is the only way to preserve game, but we cannot believe that Englishmen when their attention is once drawn to the case, will let even this motive weigh against so fearful an amount of cruelty.

England is one of 88 countries that have banned steel leg-hold traps because of their inherent cruelty.

In Montana those who oppose trapping are accused of hate speech. But the sport of trapping shows a hatred and contempt for wildlife – regal animals that live by their wits and courage. When was the last time a trapper chewed through flesh, bone, sinew and muscle just to live his life? One out of four animals caught in a trap chews its leg off to escape the pain. Trapping manifests an indifference to suffering–a lack of moral values and humaneness essential for any civil society.

Connie Poten, Missoula

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