Why would an issue in Montana cause someone in Lebanon Junction, Ky., to suffer sleepless nights and a heavy heart? Let me explain.
Once I had a wolf in my house. It wasn't a wild wolf, it was a tame wolf recovering after I splinted a nasty fracture of his forearm, but it was a wolf nonetheless. Though stoic, as many wild animals are, I knew him well, and could tell he was in pain. He was snappy, and trying to stay immobile—and this was after his shattered leg had been splinted. There is nothing about pain and fear that require higher levels of thinking.
I find myself thinking about this wolf often during this, the first trapping season after the reintroduced wolves have been deemed recovered. I am, quite honestly, appalled that anyone would willingly inflict the kind of pain I saw in that wolf on any creature for any reason. Of course, a trapped wolf is also frantic, distraught and desperate, as well as in pain. I think. I don't actually know.
I try very hard to understand the reasoning for leghold traps. I am guessing it is something to do with self-sufficiency values, respect for a way of life and living off the land. I am a smallholder farmer myself, and have had livestock killed by predators—chickens, goats, geese, turkeys. I don't like it one bit, so I get that.
So I'm writing a letter to the folk in Montana: I don't get it, help me understand. Why are you allowing leghold trapping? I'd actually like to hear. I'd really like to get it stopped, but maybe there's something I don't know.
Lebanon Junction, Ky.