Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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With personalties, minds and emotions

Beavers are sentient beings

"We're not the only beings on the planet with personalities, minds and emotions. and we are part of, not separate from the rest of the animal kingdom." _ Jane Goodall,
Jackson Hole News&Guide, Sept 14, 2022

Two weeks before that, this was reported about a new super-high-end retail business opening in Jackson: “A scorching branding iron seared a beaver fur hat, priced at $895, bouncing sweet-smelling smoke…”

I doubt if the beaver would find it that “sweet-smelling,” and I doubt if the two ladies branding those hats know anything about how beaver are drowned (yes – they use “drowning-blocks” to hold the trapped beaver underwater while it drowns), in order to make use of their pelts, or how the rest of the animals is simply discarded as waste. We have to do better.

Beavers are sentient beings just like ourselves and from the same branch of the evolutionary life tree. They nurture and love their young just as we do. They socialize with others and mate for life just as we do; they work, play, find food, and are the quintessential dam-builders of the ecosystem. This all comes with the full gamut of essential emotions of fear (while being held underwater to drown), grief in bereavement, and so on. And yet we drown them most cruelly and destroy their families for fashionable hats in ritzy resorts like Aspen, Vail, and, now, Jackson. We’re in the dizzy high-fashion realms of those who covet elephant ivory, rhino horn, shark fins, exotic bird feathers, gorilla feet, and on and on.

When I moved to Jackson with my family 20 years ago from Vail, where I had also lived for 20 years, it was a hard thing to admit – like Vail is some kind of a four-letter word. “Plastic Fantastic,” “overdeveloped” (which is why I left), “only for the rich and corporations,” and so on.

Since when did Jackson aspire to be like Vail? The wearing of animal furs and parts is just one more thing that brings us right to that level.

T. Hamis Tear
Jackson, WY
Jackson Hole News and Guide
Letter to the Editor
September 9, 2022

Photo by: @SavannahRoseWildlife, Jackson, WY

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Photography has the power to shift our understanding of our wild Wyoming to build a healthy and thriving ecosystem that benefits the lives of everyone. Thank you to @SavannahRoseWildlife for graciously sharing high-quality images of this remarkable beaver/eco-engineer.

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