The horrors of fur trapping were eloquently brought to life in an ancient book, The Pilgrims of the Wild by Grey Owl, the famous Scottish-Iroquois half-breed of Canada: “The sight of frozen, twisted forms, contorted in shapes of agony, and the spectacle of submissive, despairing beasts being knocked senseless with an axe handle, and then hung up in a noose to choke out any remaining spark of life while the set was being made ready for a fresh victim, moved Anahareo (his wife) to deep compassion. I remember particularly a lynx that after the strike screamed out like a woman, and, not vet dead, tried to crawl to her in the anguish of its last extremity.”
In another place Grey Owl writes: “I remember once… hearing a sound like the moaning of a child. There are humane traps that catch the animals alive, as in the case of the raccoon here. These are used by state and federal agencies but are more expensive and bulky than the mass-produced steel traps, and thus are little used by the trappers. A humane trap on a new principle awaits material for production. Even the fur of the eoyole holds favor with the fur trade, and this wily animal is widely trapped for its often-exaggerated attacks on domestic livestock. I found a beaver suspended in this manner in a spring pole trap, a female, and heavy with pain and in a dying condition. My attempts at resuscitation were without avail, and finally after three she passed into the discard.”Imagine your hand crushed in a carpenter’s vise and held there for hours, days, a week. Add to this the fact that wild animals have far keener senses than yours, and suffer more, not less. Then multiply this agony by thirty million, and you get some idea of the enormous cruelty that is going on each winter throughout this continent, and at the very hour you read this. The State of Louisiana alone boasts of an annual “crop” of six million muskrats from its wide marshes, all trapped cruelly, and not with the “drowning-sets” used by trappers along small streams, which mitigate and shorten the suffering. Additional, are the many thousands of other furbearers trapped in Louisiana. Of all the furbearers the red fox-with its variations, the black, the silver, the cross-is said to be most sensitive, as it is the most intelligent. It often dies in the trap of burst ventricles of the heart-as Christ died on the cross.