I strongly oppose the city of Bath’s recent decision, in concert with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to indiscriminately trap and kill up to 400 wild foxes, whether or not they show signs of illness, in a misguided attempt to address concerns about rabies. It is not clear whether Bath would use dangerous, inhumane leg-hold traps, or what lethal methods are envisioned. It is clear that the “plan,” which was developed without adequate public notice or opportunity to comment, would result in hundreds of animal deaths, without convincing evidence that it would do anything to address the rabies issue.

Bath should explore, in concert with wildlife veterinary experts, rabies vaccination options using vaccinated bait. Such programs have been implemented with success in other areas of Maine and elsewhere.

Bath should also reconsider its partnering with USDA, whose infamous “Wildlife Services” program is responsible for annually killing millions of wild animals – many endangered – at taxpayer expense. The program is also responsible for the deaths of countless pets, many human injuries, and grave environmental harm through the intentional release of poisons like cyanide.

Killing every fox the city can catch is an extreme, inhumane, environmentally destructive sledgehammer of a scheme, concocted without adequate public notice, OR evidence that it would effectively address that city’s rabies issue.

Rather than charge ahead with this destructive scheme, Bath should consult its citizens and liaise with experienced wildlife biologists specializing in rabies control and prevention to formulate a more targeted, sensible, and humane plan.

Janet Lynch

Pownal

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