New Jersey: Oppose Cruel Trapping of Beavers

Date: 
Thursday, March 12, 2015

Oppose Cruel Trapping of Beavers in New Jersey - Photo by Lindsey KrauseDear Humanitarian in New Jersey,

A bill (S2492) that threatens beavers and other wildlife by removing a limit on the issuance of beaver trapping permits is expected to come up for a vote before the full New Jersey Senate as early as this Monday. At present, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife may issue 200 permits annually, and each permit allows for the killing of eight beavers. Consequently, under existing law, up to 1,600 beavers may be trapped and killed every year in New Jersey. Yet state legislators, with little explanation, propose to allow the unlimited killing of beavers.

Unfortunately, earlier this week the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee voted to advance this harmful and unnecessary bill that would completely eliminate the state's current annual cap on the number of beaver trapping licenses.

During Monday's committee hearing, it quickly became apparent that the politicians who support this massive beaver kill are working aggressively behind the scenes to push this bill through the legislature as rapidly as possible and with minimal attention to the public's input. Indeed, many committee members entirely ignored those testifying against the legislation. Ultimately, due to political arm-twisting, several senators who had committed to opposing this harmful bill changed their vote, choosing to favor an estimated 170 beaver trappers in New Jersey over millions of the state's residents who oppose the lethal trapping of beavers.

There is no question that this bill, if enacted, will cause increased suffering among New Jersey's wildlife, as the methods commonly used to kill beavers in the state are extremely inhumane. Conibear body-crushing traps and drowning sets with snares cause excruciating pain and protracted death. These non-selective traps also threaten non-target wildlife species and are used despite the availability of effective, humane beaver management tools. AWI has long supported the use of non-lethal methods to address wildlife-human conflicts, including conflicts attributable to beavers.

Oppose Cruel Trapping of Beavers in New Jersey

What You Can Do:
With your help, we've been able to stop this bill before. Now we need to make sure that New Jersey senators vote against this measure that would directly harm beavers and other wildlife species. Unfortunately, this bill only needs a simple majority (21 out of 40 state senators) to pass. Time is of the essence, so please contact your state senator and encourage him or her to oppose S2492.

You can send your email through AWI's Compassion Index by clicking here, where you will find language to include in your email.

Suggested talking points:

  • New Jersey's legislature should be working to eliminate cruel trapping practices rather than expanding their use.
  • The beaver is a keystone species that plays a critical role in ecosystem health, and removing this species can adversely affect many others. Beaver dams create valuable wetland habitat, improve water quality, and control erosion.
  • The traps used to kill beavers in New Jersey are inhumane and non-selective; beavers and other animals captured in these devices are crushed or drowned, and often experience prolonged suffering before death.
  • According to the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, there are only an estimated 170 beaver trappers in the state, so this legislation would benefit a tiny special interest group at the expense of millions who oppose lethal trapping.
  • Humane, effective alternatives to trapping and killing are available for beaver management if and when conflicts arise.
     

Please be sure to share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to contact their state senators as well.

As always, thank you very much for your help!

Sincerely,

Cathy Liss
President

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