The city of Bath needs to take a second look at what it’s planning to do to wildlife in order to protect humans, as officials have already unanimously decided to partner with the Department of Agriculture to set traps before the end of the month.

Will this work? “The USDA cannot guarantee this is going to reduce rabies,” said Peter Owen, Bath’s city manager. What will it cost? Nearly $27, 000 in taxpayer funds. Is the method scientific? We’re told that “the traps will not be lethal or harm the animal, but every wild animal caught in the traps will be euthanized.” Let’s try to grasp the logic here. It’s like telling a patient who appears to be sick that he can be helped, but first we have to kill him and lots of other people too — people who may be perfectly healthy. If the current plan is followed, not just foxes but every wild animal caught in the traps will be killed. We’re containing the disease by destroying all who might get it.

And what about trapping? A trap, after all, doesn’t discriminate. It could be a raccoon, a bobcat, an eagle, a fox or your pet dog — not to mention that the could be held for hours in freezing weather until a trapper comes along and executes it on the spot.

Is this really the best solution we can devise to protect humans as well as animals?

There’s at least one other option possibly more. If we can set out traps, why can’t we set out oral rabies vaccination pellets? They’re science-based, non-violent, potentially effective, and far more humane than an indiscriminate assault on wildlife.

Don Loprieno

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