The candlelight vigil for Andrew is ongoing even as I write this. I have just finished delivering remarks and post them here. Hopefully I’ll have a poem written in Andrew’s honor to post in a day or so.
Remarks from Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, Hills. 15
For The Candlelight Vigil for Andrew, a dog killed Dec. 5, 2012 in a trap in Auburn
December 5, 2013
Thank you. I am honored to be here for this candlelight vigil to mark the one year anniversary of Andrew in a trap in Auburn. I am equally honored to be part of a movement to once and for all ban steel-jawed and Conibear traps in New Hampshire.
To borrow a few words from Abraham Lincoln uttered 150 years ago this time, it is altogether fitting and proper that we be here on a dreary, drizzly dark afternoon because you can imagine these type of conditions exist as thousands of animals in New Hampshire suffer unspeakably cruel deaths in these traps every year.
We appear here to remember this lovely dog killed in a trap, but sadly Andrew was just one of so many animals, all which feeling, which meet a similar fate each and every year.
Here are the officials numbers from New Hampshire Fish and Game.
For the “trapper harvest season 2012-13”—quite a euphemism isn’t it—“trapper harvest season”?—
245 fisher cats, presumably none of the baseball playing variety
137 gray fox
And 261 red fox
Thousands and thousands of animals, just like Andrew, killed in these terrible devices and sadly not just last year but each and every year.
Even sadder is that most are tortured for no good reason. Don’t get me wrong; I’m neither a vegan or a vegetarian; I indeed believe that mankind has the right to eat animals. However, that’s where I draw the line. We have a right to eat animals, but not to torture them before we eat them and not to torture them for the sake of using their furs for expensive coats.
There was a time in our history when trapping was a legitimate enterprise. In fact, much of the settlement of North America was trapping-based. Mankind needed animal pelts to stay warm, but those times are long gone. There is no profit in trapping any more, and the sheer sport of killing furry creatures can no longer stand against the suffering involved.
To everything there is a season; there is a time. There was a time for equal rights for women, for African Americans and other minorities; for gay people. Some may think it outrageous but I trust more people will join me in asserting that the time has come to provide animals like Andrew with a modicum of dignity and protection. The time has come to ban these hideous traps once and for all, and I thank you for being a part of this effort.
I wish to close by reading a few words from Cleveland Amory. He was the TV Guide critic back in the 60s when I was growing up in Vermont, but he was also in the vanguard of the struggle for animal rights. His 1971 book” Man Kind?” remains relevant today. The passion reverberates through the years.
"For half a century little was done about trapping or for that matter any other wildlife cruelty. In 1925, however, a man named Edward Breck entered the field. A romantic adventurer who had been a spy in two wars and later a historian and diplomat, he witnessed, on a chance visit to Nova Scotia, the lingering death of a black bear held for days between the spiked jaws of a 40 pound trap. Never would Breck forget either the moans or the last agony of that animal.
Shortly after his trip back to his home in Washington, D.C., he founded the National Anti-Steel Trap League. At first the very idea of attempting to alleviate suffering in the wild brought Breck and his League only ridicule. And at first indeed his and his league’s chief weapon seemed to have been poetry. One poem ran as follows:
All night long, gnaw and gnaw,
Come with me, lady, see what I saw.
Only a beaver suffering pain.
God! Take that sound out of my brain.
A thing of the wilds—who cares how it dies?
God! Take that sight out of my eyes.
The common steel-trap (like the one which killed Andrew) as it has been used in the capturing of animals is one of , if not the most, cruel devices that has ever been invented. Not one half enough has ever been said against it. Anyone who has seen animals with their teeth broken, cut, bleeding, dying of starvation, thirst and exposure, has wished for a means of overcoming it.”
Alas, Cleveland Amory is no longer with us, but we have the means to end the suffering with a bill introduced here in New Hampshire this coming year. I appreciate your support.