CONTACT ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE TO STOP THE FAST-TRACKED BEAVER TRAPPING BILL!
You've done a superb job in contacting your senators. Legislators' offices report strong constituent opposition to killing more beavers and to notoriously cruel 'body-gripping' traps.
On top of that, we had a very successful lobby day on Monday, 8/19, at the State House in Trenton. We reached out to many legislators and aides, talked about the bill and gave them our powerful flier. Additionally, we had a table with graphic images of animals caught in body-gripping traps.
However, as long as the powerful South Jersey political machine - Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Political Boss Donald Norcross - dominates the Legislature, we must be vigilant.
Given that the machine has placed the beaver trapping bill - or fur interests - on the fast-track, Senate President Sweeney may defy colleague opposition and pressure the Senate Environment Committee to vote the bill out of committee and to the Senate floor for a vote. While the "anything you want" iron is hot, the Division of Fish and Wildlife is working secretly to circumvent our state's landmark law banning leghold traps and to "get the bobcat off the endangered species list" for trappers.
OUR MESSAGE TO THE SENATE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IS SIMPLE: THIS IS WHERE IT STOPS. IT IS TIME FOR THE NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE TO AGAIN REPRESENT THE HUMANE VALUES OF THE MAJORITY, NOT 77 BEAVER TRAPPERS.
ACTION: Please phone or email each member of the Environment Committee today. Ask each to oppose the Sweeney-Space cruel trapping bill (S2665-A3944) and to sponsor and support legislation prohibiting cruel body-gripping traps and snares. (more info on the bill is below my signature) CONTACT Senate Environment Committee Members
Bob Smith, Chair; 732-752-0770
Linda Greenstein, Vice-Chair; 609-395-9911
Christopher Bateman; 908-526-3600
Jennifer Beck; 732-933-159
Jim Whelan; 609-383-1388
Mired in apparent ethical conflicts, A3944 (Space-R24) - S2665 (Sweeney-D3) has flown through the Assembly. The bill removes the 200 permit statutory limit for trapping beavers.
It is already permissible to kill 1,000 beavers, or half of New Jersey's entire beaver population each year (Worth a Dam).
The number of trappers who trap beaver in New Jersey is 77. The Assembly sponsor's family has long been involved in raw furs and trapping. The Division of Fish and Wildlife's "furbearer biologist" is a member of a trapping club. His "irons in the fire" include providing trappers with more beaver and "reviewing" illegal leghold traps.
With 90 pounds of pressure per square inch, the metal jaws of body-gripping Conibear trap crush a beaver's head, jaw, abdomen, pelvis, neck, spine, or other body part. Two powerful torsion springs create the trap's scissorlike action. More than 40 percent of trap victims die a protracted, agonizing death. Less than 15 percent die comparatively quickly.
Body-gripping traps and drowning sets used for beaver are inhumane and should be banned throughout New Jersey. Semi-aquatic animals have slower heart rates (bradycardia), and therefore can dive, and struggle in excruciatingly painful "drowning" traps for prolonged periods. The North American beaver can dive for up to 15 minutes.
The beaver is a keystone species essential to forest health. Beaver ponds provide create habitat for an array of plants and animals, reduce erosion and downstream flooding, and recharge aquifers.
On occasion, the beaver's vital ecological role can conflict with human development. Fortunately, and as recommended by a wide variety of experts, non-lethal solutions are relatively inexpensive and effective. Trapping or shooting is neither humane nor effective.
**Photo courtesy of the Animal Welfare Institute, Washington, DC. Beaver in a Conibear or body-gripping trap.