anti-trapping protest draws crowd
By Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
March 19, 2007
A group of about 20 people protesting leghold traps - most
of them middle-school students - stood outside the
Legislature Building on South Carson Street Sunday.
Waving signs that said, "Stop Wildlife Trapping,"
"What is Your Skin Worth," "Animals Shouldn't
be Rugs," and "You Moved into Their Home,"
the group hollered happily each time a driver honked in
The protest was begun by 13-year-old Sarah Shadden, a
student at Carson Middle School, after she saw a photo of a
bobcat caught in a leghold trap.
"The photo really upset me so I decided to take
action," she said.
George W. Gussak, of
Carson City, took this photo on Feb. 5, 2007 just off Kings
Canyon Road, in the hills overlooking the development and
farmland along the west side. This is the photo that led
Sarah Shadden to organize a protest against leghold traps.
Sarah, who said she doesn't
wear fur or leather and rarely eats meat, called on people
to join her protest in a letter to the editor published in
the Appeal on Friday.
Hali Winston, of Carson City, didn't want to protest, but
she did come down to congratulate Sarah for her activism.
"We should all get off our butts," Winston said.
"When I saw the photo, I made a call to see how this
could happen, but I didn't do anything."
The protest lasted from 11 am. to 4 p.m., with the kids
bringing a picnic lunch. They had to move the demonstration
from the grounds of the Legislature Building to the sidewalk
because they didn't have a permit.
Legislative Police Officer Frank Bachman suggested the
students contact the committee on Natural Resources to give
them pointers on how best to hold a demonstration.
The dozen or so students were joined by a few parents, a
teacher and several Reno activists.
"People's consciousness of animals is changing,"
said Trish Swain, a member of trailsafe.org, that wants
trappers to keep their traps off of land used by people.
"People have a much different awareness of what is
humane. More are saying, 'What is the animal feeling?'"
Though her group has not decided whether to push for a total
ban on trapping or just force trappers to move their traps
farther into the wild areas, Cassie Holmes, 14, of Carson
City, knew what she cared about.
"I think it's wrong because, like, how can anyone do
that to an animal just to wear its fur?" Cassie said.
"They can leave it there for, like, 96 hours and it
could starve to death or die of thirst. That's so cruel,
it's like someone killing you for your skin."
Robert Dodds, 13, of Carson City, said the issue was
different from whether nor not to eat meat.
"Life is not about fur," he said. "We can
live without fur."
Jim Curran, an officer with the National Trappers
Association, said legal trapping is important not only for
commercial reasons, but to control the wildlife population,
which kills domestic animals.
"The harvest (of fur-bearing mammals) is part of
wildlife management," he said. "It keeps
populations under control, keeps disease down and keeps
predation on domestic livestock and pets down. There are as
many domestic animals killed by coyotes and bobcats as there
are coyotes and bobcats killed by trappers."
He also said that urban sprawl adds to conflicts between
wild animals and people, which leads to an increased call
for trapping predators and animals such as raccoons or
"There are more and more people living where the wild
animals live, and trapping and hunting are two ways to keep
populations in check and under management," he said.
"No one likes to see a cow be butchered or a deer be
shot or a bobcat harvested. But whether it's a bobcat or a
coyote or a cow or a chicken, it's part of life."
He said that despite several thousand trappers working in
the state, there have been few conflicts.
Sarah, however said she plans to continue her efforts by
lobbying legislators to pass legislation that would ban
"I want them to pass a bill and that's why I came out
here today," she said.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@
nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.