PETA Protests Use of Leg Traps in Rapid City, South Dakota

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals held a press conference in Rapid City, South Dakota, in January to protest the use of leg traps in national parks.

PETA chose Rapid City because in the summer of 2004 a number of dogs were injured by leg traps in Badlands National Park. The traps were set to capture coyotes.

Badlands National Park Superintendent William Supernaugh says that his agency regrets that dogs were caught in the traps, but that the traps are necessary to hold down the coyote population.

The Rapid City Journal reported that,

Supernaugh said those injuries mainly were the result of the Park Service’s failure to check traps quickly. He blamed shift change among personnel and an unclear policy on how often those traps should be checked. Those procedures have been tightened, Supernaugh said.

But he said banning all uses of leg traps in the Badlands would cripple the park’s program to monitor the range and health of coyotes. He said that program was crucial to the successful reintroduction of swift foxes and black-footed ferrets to the Badlands.

Coyotes prey on swift foxes, so park personnel introduced them to areas outside known coyote territories, which are determined through radio collars attached to trapped animals.

Canine distemper, Supernaugh said, could wipe out the fragile ferret population.

PETA disagrees, with Stephanie Boyles saying in a press release on the issue,

These traps are so barbaric that they have been banned in 88 countries. It is shameful that in the 21st century, a federal agency would use such primitive, cruel devices. We urge [Interior] Secretary Norton to call for a ban.


Group Calls News Conference to Reveal Shocking Photos of Dogs Caught in Leghold Traps in Badlands National Park. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, January 24, 2005.

PETA protests Badlands trapping. Bill Harlan, Rapid City Journal, January 26, 2005.

Colorado Bans Feeding of Fox and Coyotes in Urban Areas

On January 8, the Colorado Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to prohibit the feeding of fox and coyotes in urban areas of the state.

Mike King, regulations manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, told The Rocky Mountain News,

We have prohibited feeding coyotes and fox in any area where shooting a gun is not allowed. . . .We want people to stop feeding wildlife, especially animals that could be dangerous.

According to the Rocky Mountain News, the rules change follows a 2002 incident in which a woman was bitten by a coyote that a restaurant kept leaving out food for.

Violators of the ban will be fined $68 for each offense.


Request now a rule: Don’t feed the wildlife. Gary Gerhardt, Rocky Mountain News, January 9, 2004.

South Dakota Proposes Allowing Aerial Hunting on Public Lands

In March the South Dakota state Game, Fish and Parks Commission will consider a regulatory change to allow aerial hunters to hunt foxes and coyotes on public land. Current regulations allow hunting over private land, but forbid it over public land and water.

If approved, the change would open up an additional million acres for aerial hunting of foxes and coyotes.

Not everyone who hunts coyotes is happy about the proposed rules change. Coyote hunter Jerry Pier told the Rapid City Journal that he was afraid aerial hunters would accidentally shoot hunters on the ground, as well as fears that aerial hunters might be too efficient, leaving few coyotes for hunters on the ground to shoot.

Those favoring the change, however, argue that it’s already extremely difficult for aerial hunters to distinguish between public and private land, and that the change is needed to keep coyote numbers in check.

Doug Hansen, Game, Fish and Parks Wildlife Director for Pierre, South Dakota, told the Rapid City Journal,

It’s kind of a classic conflict between interests. If you’re out there as a predator hunter, I can see how interference from an airplane and gunner would affect your interests. On the other hand, if you’re a producer losing sheep to coyotes and public land is a safe haven for coyotes, your interests are a whole lot different.


Aerial hunting rules may be changed. Associated Press, January 8, 2004.

S.D. aerial hunting law concerns coyote hunters. Kevin Woster, Rapid City Journal, January 15, 2004.

Wisconsin Legislator Introduces Bill to Allow Training of Hounds with Bobcats, Coyotes and Foxes

Wisconsin state Rep. Scott Suder drew the wrath of animal rights activists for introducing a bill that would allow hunting dogs to be trained with captive bobcats, coyotes, and foxes. Currently Wisconsin allows hound owners to train their dogs with live captive rabbits, raccoons, and black bears.

Cynthia Lott of the Alliance for Animals told The Capital Times that the proposal was little more than a canned hunt bill,

This legislation is almost like ‘canned hunting’ under the pretense of dog training. It’s really inhumane.

She was joined in that opinion by retired chief of special operations for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Tom Solin, who wrote a letter saying,

Allowing the use of captive coyote, fox and bobcats to train hound dogs is brutal and far below the high standards we set in Wisconsin to ensure captive wild animals are treated humanely.

For his part, Suder told The Capital Times that this bill simply restored rights that hound owners possessed until the legislature passed the Captive Wildlife Bill in 2002. Suder told The Capital Times,

There was a mistake in the bill. The ability to train with those types of animals was left out. I am trying to restore it. I am not expanding.

State Rep. DuWayne Johnsrud, who was involved in the development of Wisconsin’s Captive Wildlife Bill, says that is not true, and since he chairs the committee through which Suder’s bill would have to pass before being considered by the legislature, it is unlikely to receive serious attention anytime soon.

The full text of Suder’s proposed legislation can be read here.


‘Canned hunting’ bill vexes opponents. Anita Weir, The Capital Times (Wisconsin), April 4, 2003.

HSUS Pals Burlington Coat Factory Targeted by Activists

Several months ago the Humane Society of the United States discovered that some Fur-trimmed coats being
sold by Burlington Coat Factory contained fur from dogs. The story was
widely reported in the national media and BCF agreed to not only stop
importing coats containing fur from dogs but also donated $100,000 to
HSUS to help that organization track and campaign against the import of
fur from dogs into the United States.

As I pointed out, the BCF actions
were the result of embracing what Adrian Morrison calls the “muddled middle.”
If using dog fur is wrong, certainly using mink or other animal fur, not
to mention leather, is wrong. By acting in such an unprincipled way, BCF
was only inviting further harassment from animal rights activists who
won’t be satisfied until no animal products are used in the production
of garments.

In fact, animal rights activists
now appear to be aggressively targeting BCF.

The Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade and Last Chance for Animals sent a letter to BCF demanding that
they stop selling coats with fur of any sort by March 26. The two groups have designated Sunday, May 30th as a National
Day of Action Against Burlington Coat Factory. As the two groups put their
complaint in a recent press release, “Burlington Coat Factory has
so far refused to stop selling fur and fur trim, despite the big expose
where they were busted with dog fur. Somehow this company fails to see
the similarities between canines (foxes and coyotes) and canines (dogs).
Therefore they still sell fur from foxes, coyotes, raccoons and who knows
what else.”

In a separate press release, the two
groups reiterated that, “The only way BCF can avoid the protests is to voluntarily
give up selling fur by May 30, or agree to a phase-out plan.”


BCF demo next Sunday. Coaliation to Abolish the Fur Trade, Press Release, February 21, 1999.

National day of action against Burlington. Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade, Press Release, April 9, 1999.

Burlington Coat Factory rejects peace overtures of anti-fur coalition; protests set. Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade, Press Release, March 29, 1999.