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18
Mar

Oppose Sunday Hunting and Cruel Traps

Ask your legislators to oppose Sunday Hunting!

The mission of the MSPCA is protect animals, relieve their suffering, advance their health and welfare, prevent cruelty, and work for a just and compassionate society. Most of the time, we advocate for bills to advance animal protection and promote animal welfare. However, there are times we have to play defense. A number of bills are filed each session that the MSPCA opposes that would negatively impact the animals of Massachusetts, and this session is no different.

Sunday Hunting

The ban on Sunday hunting in Massachusetts has been law for more than 300 years. For wildlife and nature photographers, mountain bikers, hikers, horseback riders, trail runners, bird-watchers, and families and their companion animals, Sunday provides an invaluable one-day respite during hunting seasons to enjoy the safety and serenity of the state’s natural resources. However, more than five bills have been filed this legislative session would eliminate in whole or part the statewide ban on Sunday hunting. Sunday hunting bills prioritize a small minority over an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts residents who do not hunt, and who enjoy non-consumptive uses of nature and wildlife. 86% of Massachusetts residents want to maintain the ban on Sunday hunting while hunters represent just 1% of the Massachusetts population.

In addition to the suffering that can accompany expanded hunting in Massachusetts, human conflicts and accidents can happen. Massachusetts is the third-most densely populated state. While the Sunday hunting ban may have started as a “blue law,” there are different yet important reasons to keep it, including more hunting happening in the populated suburbs. We don’t have more conflicts precisely because of this one day when people can enjoy the outdoors without hunting activity. We need to keep it that way.

Trapping

In 1996, Massachusetts residents took to the ballot and overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Wildlife Protection Act that restricted the use of cruel body-gripping Conibear and leghold (sometimes called foot-hold) traps used to capture fur-bearing animals, such as beaver and coyote. A number of bills have been filed that remove or weaken current restrictions on these traps this legislative session.

The MSPCA has advocated against cruel traps for decades, not only because trapping is inhumane, but also because these types of traps are indiscriminate. Conibear traps remain unchanged; non-target animals rarely survive encounters with the traps. So-called “improvements” to leghold traps and snares are very limited; hard plastic on steel jaws and “stops” on the cables do not make these indiscriminate devices humane. No amount of trap finagling can prevent an otter or mink from swimming through a Conibear trap set for a beaver, or a dog getting caught in a leghold trap set for a coyote.

The MSPCA encourages animal advocates to contact their state senator and state representative and ask them to oppose legislation that weakens or removes the current hunting and trapping restrictions. If you are unsure who your state legislators are, you can visit www.wheredoivotema.com to find out.

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