Last week, a bald eagle was found in a leghold trap by hunters in Salem, N.H. and rescued by local police.
“I was on on call and spoke to the hunter,” Sgt. Mike Wagner told ABC News. “But I didn’t believe it was an eagle. In my 41 years on Earth I’ve never seen a bald eagle in the wild.”
Rescuers covered the eagle, who was wearing an identification band, with a blanket while getting the trap open. Fortunately, the only injury they found was a cut on its leg and it flew off after being freed.
Officials believe the eagle was lured to the trap by the remains of a skinned beaver and raised concerns about the location of the trap, which was reportedly set near a populated street. However, Fish and Game officials concluded that the trapper hadn’t violated any gaming laws.
Luckily for the eagle in question it was an endangered species and not an a target animal that anyone wanted to see dead or felt the need to torture, it was found by people who cared enough to help and report the incident and it was found before it fell victim to predation and before it resorted to self-mutilation in an attempt to free itself. Who knows how many hours it would have been left there to suffer had it not been discovered. Unfortunately, other target and non-target animals who are caught in traps are not so lucky.
Last Friday, protesters from the New Hampshire Animal Rights League (NHARL) picketed the state’s Fish and Game Commission to acknowledge Fur Free Friday, a day devoted to educating the public about the cruelty behind the fur trade.
Fish and Game was chosen because of its policies that allow the use of leghold traps, Conibear traps and drowning snares and because the commission is the one making money off of the licenses it sells.
“Besides the pain endured by an animal tearing at his flesh and bones in order to escape from his trap, the cruelty of the trapper’s killing methods should not be overlooked. Fish and Game violates its own New Hampshire cruelty statute by choosing not to regulate the methods by which a trapper kills his victim – be it drowning, bludgeoning, or suffocating- all methods considered inhumane by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) under its euthanasia guidelines,” according to the group.
The last attempt to ban the sale, possession and transport of “raw skins or unskinned carcasses” in the state, which would have essentially put an end to trapping, failed in 2010.
The NHARL and other groups are encouraging people to protect wildlife and shop compassionately by not buying anything with fur or fur trim.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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