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 with Rob Miskosky

Seldom We Agree

My brother Dale and I were enjoying a cold beer in my trapline cabin. The door was open, the warm January sun was shining in, and we were enjoying ourselves. Dale had driven up from BC to spend a few days following me around on the trapline—he’d been there once before but only for an afternoon when trapping season wasn’t open. This time, however, trapping season was in full swing. We were in-between trap checks so there were only a few chores that required attention; it was a day mostly to relax and catch up.

Suddenly, I heard something rustling above my head. Looking up, I was aghast to see a small black-capped chickadee struggling in the sticky fly glue strip that was suspended from the ceiling of my cabin. I had placed it there to catch unwanted flies, not small birds, but sure enough, there he was, struggling in the sticky glue. For some reason the bird had flown into the cabin. Now what?

Standing on a chair, I slowly removed the fly strip from the ceiling and then carefully took the strip with the attached bird out into the sun where we could see much better what needed to be done to free the small bird. Both of its wings were caught in the sticky glue, as was its feet, back, and head—it was a disaster! I slowly tried to peel one of the frantic bird’s wings from the strip but short of pulling out all of its feathers, it was hopeless. I tried several times to remove the bird from the sticky fly strip to no avail. Dale and I both wracked our brains on how to remove the bird from the glue. There was nothing in the cabin we deemed would help. We hoped the colder outside air would reduce the glue’s stickiness, but it wasn’t enough to free the bird; it was doomed! Letting it struggle to exhaustion before dying wasn’t an option, all we could do was kill the bird.

We both felt really bad for the small chickadee—it had ruined what had been an enjoyable afternoon. To date, I still don’t understand what would possess the small bird to enter the cabin. Looking from the outside to the door and then to the inside, it was quite dark, so unlike a bird flying into a window, it made no sense.

Needless to say, I quit using fly glue strips—I didn’t want to have that ever happen again, it was cruel, and I felt bad for the bird.

Those of you that read this column know the disdain I have for animal-rights groups; you know, PETA et al. Being a trapper, me and my many colleagues have been the target of many campaigns against trapping. We’ve been slandered as killers, torturers, you name it we’ve been called it by the animal-rights crowd, so I ridicule them and their campaigns at every chance. And their campaigns are quite easy to make fun of—for the most part, they are quite ridiculous.

But a PETA campaign against rodent glue traps caught my attention and reminded me of that small bird I had caught in that fly glue trap. Now, a rodent glue trap is much different from a fly glue strip, as is a fly from a rodent, but the glue trap’s intention is the same. According to PETA, “One of the cruelest methods of killing animals in existence today. A glue trap is a small board made of cardboard, fiberboard, or plastic that’s coated with a sticky adhesive. It can ensnare any small animal who wanders across or lands on its surface.”

And, “Animals trapped in the glue panic and struggle, which causes them to become even more helplessly stuck.”

Trappers do as much as they can to ensure animals they catch are caught as humanely as possible. We are taught humane trapping methods from the very first class we take, prior to becoming licenced. In fact, I don’t know of a single trapper that isn’t sickened to see an animal suffer once caught. Our traps and methods are designed to avoid exactly that, animal suffering.

So, to disagree with PETA in this instance would go against everything I believe in, glue traps are indeed, “One of the cruelest methods of killing animals in existence today.” And it amazes me that glue traps are legally sold in many retail outlets across North America, including right here in Alberta. Why?

According to PETA, “Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, two states and one territory in Australia, and four Indian states have banned glue traps. And hundreds of companies and other entities have prohibited their sale or use, including Target, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart Canada, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Public Storage, and more than 100 airports.” Why airports would be selling glue traps is beyond me, but I’ll have to take their word for it.

I would offer that Canada needs to put an end to the use of rodent glue traps.  

Seldom we agree; but in this case, I find it hard not to agree with PETA. ■

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