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Many people have argued against I-177, claiming that trapping is a Montana tradition worth keeping. It may no longer be a Montana tradition, let alone an American one. Trapping once provided warm clothing for our harsh climates, but no longer. Aside from the potential for animals to needlessly suffer, trapping kills animals not for their meat, but solely for their fur (a major difference from hunting).

Most furs in North America are purchased by North American Fur Auctions (a Canadian company), and shipped to buyers mainly in China and Russia, whose affluent wear the furs as both fashion and wealth statements. Layers of middlemen make a profit along the way, very little of which goes to the trapper.

Arguments have been made regarding trapping as a needed population control. They fail to mention rodent populations and diseases (Hanta virus for example) that may already be well out of control as a direct result of the over 60,000 predators trapped per year that feed mainly on these prey. I-177 will continue to allow trapping on private lands, allowing ranchers to balance populations as they see fit.

It’s time we let this tradition stay in our past. Vote yes on I-177.

Rebecca Barkley


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