July 6, 2020

Animal Rights Group Files Suit Against Minnesota DNR

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The Animal Protection Institute has filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources claiming that the state is violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing trapping that is killing wildlife listed on the ESA list.

According to a story filed by Bob Kelleher of Minnesota Public Radio, Camilla Fox, a spokesperson for the API, claims to have documented proof that trapping has resulted in the death of 24 bald eagles over a 15-year period of time.

Fox says her group has accumulated documentation that at least 24 bald eagles have been trapped in Minnesota over a 15-year period. At least half died. She says more recent documents show that rare Canada lynx have been caught.

“Between 2002 and 2005, at least 13 Canada lynx have been incidentally trapped in snares and traps set for other species,” says Fox. “And generally these types of traps are set for fox, coyote, bobcat, fisher, martin.”

These are all predators, she says, that are found in the same areas where Canada lynx may live and hunt.

The suit is asking that the MDNR look at ways of changing how trapping is done so as not to harm these animals. No suggestions were given as part of the suit.

Gary Meis, president of the Minnesota Trappers Association doesn’t buy into the so-called documented proof that Fox claims to have.

“I know of no cases myself,” Meis says. “I hear rumors. But I have never seen it or witnessed it myself.”

Meis wonders how serious a problem it can be if it’s that rare. And he says trapping is not the way most endangered animals die.

“I could bet my bank account against theirs, that there’s more endangered animals that are hit by cars, trains, etc., than are caught by traps,” says Meis.

And Meis wonders whether the Animal Protection Institute’s motive is to protect endangered animals.

“Well, they have an agenda, just like all organizations have an agenda,” Meis says. “It’s my personal opinion that they’d just like to put an end to trapping. Their opinion is that they have a legal opening under the Endangered Species Act to go about doing that. And we disagree wholeheartedly.”

Tom Remington

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