In Vermont it is currently legal to kill Otters in the most horrific way possible. The logic behind the otter culling is that the otters are “over populated”. However, the real reasoning behind the culling of the otters is linked to the worth of their pelts and the fisherman, who want to get rid of the predators that cut into their fish profits.
Trappers use leg holds, body grips, and foot holds to trap, which are typically used to catch wild animals. What is not as well known is that it can take trappers days to find the otter trapped inside. Another popular trap is a pocket trap. A pocket trap traps the otter under the river and the otter drowns as it tries to escape.
This practice is legal in Vermont (and other states) during a specified hunting season, October to February. But trappers are now attempting to pressure the Vermont department of Fish and Wildlife to expand trapping season into March- a month where many otters are pregnant.
The problem with the cruel practice of trapping to exterminate otters is that it is wholly unnecessary. While trappers would lead you to believe that otters are over populated, according to the President of Protect our Wildlife (POW), Brenna Galdenzi, “There’s no need to kill otters, they’re killed mostly for their fur and some are considered to be a nuisance.” Meaning some otters are taking away from the profits of fishermen.
The trappers want to extend trapping season like they did with beaver trapping season, as it is inconvenient for them to modify traps to reduce accidental trapping of otters during the off season. Also, legally, all otters caught in the off season have to be handed over to the VFW.
The extension of beaver trapping season is in and of itself a controversial decree as beavers are fundamental to the preservation of the Wetlands. The trappers and the government are doing a grave disservice to the future inhabitants of Vermont, as well as Vermont’s Wetlands. In an era with mounting climate control issues, and as we get closer to a mass extinction, it is difficult to imagine why we are considering expanding the otter trapping season when we shouldn’t be killing them at all. Not too long ago, in the 1970s, river otters were close to extinction and had gone extinct in eleven states due to the destruction of their habitats by corporations. River otters had to be painstakingly and carefully reintroduced to these eleven states where they know prosper. So, why are we trying to drive them to endangerment once again?
The people of Vermont do not agree with these cruel trapping practices, and about 75 per cent of Vermonters would like to ban cruel trapping practices all together. One of the reasons for the outcry against these inhumane practices is that every year unintended animals like cats and dogs get trapped instead of the intended target.
If you live in Vermont it is imperative that you let your voice be heard by your local government. Contact local legislators here.
If you are not a resident but feel strongly about the cruel trapping of otters and other animals you can email [email protected] and make your voice heard.