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#1 Old 06-14-2010, 09:44 AM
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About a week ago, I gave permission for the USDA to come onto my property for the purpose of trapping, vaccinating and releasing raccoons and skunks in an effort to reduce the spread of rabies in this area. There have been at least a few cases of reported rabies in fairly close proximity to where I live so it's definitely a cause for concern. Before I authorized it, I called their local office and was assured that no animals would be harmed in the process and that they would immediately be released back onto my property.



Today, I met with the person who would be placing the traps and administering vaccines to any skunks and raccoons he managed to trap. During our conversation, he told me that any trapped skunks are taken away and 'tested' for rabies. I was appalled to learn that in this day and age there's STILL no reliable animal test for this disease besides killing them and taking brain samples. Imagine if this held true for humans that contracted it.



Anyway, I want to get as many raccoons as possible vaccinated because I think rabies is a terrible disease and if it's easily prevented by just giving these animals an oral vaccine then I'm all for it. The skunk 'testing' though is a whole 'nother issue. I'm really conflicted about what to do and I'm angry that I was lied to when I called to discuss this very thing.



On the one hand, I want to cooperate and do my bit to help prevent this horrible disease from spreading to other animals and humans but, by the same token, I certainly don't want to see skunks getting killed as a matter of course with no evidence any of them even had rabies. The problem is though that skunks can incubate a particular strain of rabies for over a year and they're resistant to the type of oral vaccine that's effective in raccoons. I made the trapper guy show me where the traps on my property and the adjoining woods were set and figured I'd just release any skunks I see trapped myself before they could get taken away for slaughter. Does that sound reasonable? Or should I just withdraw from this program altogether?

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#2 Old 06-14-2010, 09:47 AM
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I'd withdraw. It stinks that they lied to you. You aren't going to be able to get close enough to the skunks to release them yourself.
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#3 Old 06-14-2010, 09:50 AM
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can you insisit that the animals taken from your property cannot be "tested" because they agreed that none will be hurt? Maybe if they take your threat of leaving the program seriously they will try to accomodate you, that would be a huge vegan win!
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#4 Old 06-14-2010, 10:12 AM
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If you let them go though, are you not risking letting them spread rabies? Sucks that they have to kill them though

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#5 Old 06-14-2010, 10:23 AM
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Maybe a dumb qustion, but I'll ask it anyway: Can you give them permission to treat only the raccoons and not the skunks? I'm pretty sure they would have to use different traps for the two species because they are so dissimilar in size.

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#6 Old 06-14-2010, 10:34 AM
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It's weird to me that they're vaccinating at all, I thought most wild animals were resistant to the rabies vaccine.
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#7 Old 06-14-2010, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah&me' date='14 June 2010 - 11:50 AM' timestamp='1276530642' post='2657841 View Post


can you insisit that the animals taken from your property cannot be "tested" because they agreed that none will be hurt? Maybe if they take your threat of leaving the program seriously they will try to accomodate you, that would be a huge vegan win!





Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom' date='14 June 2010 - 12:23 PM' timestamp='1276532584' post='2657865 View Post


Maybe a dumb qustion, but I'll ask it anyway: Can you give them permission to treat only the raccoons and not the skunks? I'm pretty sure they would have to use different traps for the two species because they are so dissimilar in size.



Well I just called the district supervisor to ask that. I told him that I, as well as several of my neighbors who got the same misinformation initially about not harming animals, would probably withdraw from the program if they summarily carted off trapped skunks to be executed and 'tested'. He said he got another call about this also, probably from a neighbor of mine, and that he was calling his supervisor to see if they would agree to this compromise. I told him it was the only way they were getting my permission to keep the traps on my land or be able to cross my property to get to the woods behind my house. We'll see what happens.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Kellye' date='14 June 2010 - 12:34 PM' timestamp='1276533279' post='2657873 View Post


It's weird to me that they're vaccinating at all, I thought most wild animals were resistant to the rabies vaccine.



Actually the vaccine is extremely effective with raccoons which is why I initially thought that participating in the program would be a good idea. Unfortunately skunks don't respond to it the same way.

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#8 Old 06-14-2010, 12:07 PM
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Victory! I got a call back from the USDA Supervisor who apologized for the initial misunderstanding and agreed that he would direct the trapper to only vaccinate and release any skunk caught on my entire street! He even told me I could accompany the trapper on his rounds to ensure that no skunk was harmed! Woo Hoo...doing a little victory dance

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#9 Old 06-14-2010, 01:02 PM
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Awesome!
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#10 Old 06-14-2010, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchabbey' date='14 June 2010 - 12:21 PM' timestamp='1276536076' post='2657905 View Post


Well I just called the district supervisor to ask that. I told him that I, as well as several of my neighbors who got the same misinformation initially about not harming animals, would probably withdraw from the program if they summarily carted off trapped skunks to be executed and 'tested'. He said he got another call about this also, probably from a neighbor of mine, and that he was calling his supervisor to see if they would agree to this compromise. I told him it was the only way they were getting my permission to keep the traps on my land or be able to cross my property to get to the woods behind my house. We'll see what happens.









Actually the vaccine is extremely effective with raccoons which is why I initially thought that participating in the program would be a good idea. Unfortunately skunks don't respond to it the same way.



GO YOU!
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#11 Old 06-14-2010, 03:10 PM
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Do you know how often they check the traps once they've been set?



Trapping wild animals is extremely traumatizing to them. Often people will leave them sitting there far too long.



And that's great that you called in order to spare the skunks.

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#12 Old 06-14-2010, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Irizary' date='14 June 2010 - 05:10 PM' timestamp='1276549826' post='2658021 View Post


Do you know how often they check the traps once they've been set?



Trapping wild animals is extremely traumatizing to them. Often people will leave them sitting there far too long.



And that's great that you called in order to spare the skunks.





They check them once a day. I would figure the animals mostly get trapped in the late evening/night and the trapper is scheduled to be here around 9:00 am so they wouldn't be in there all that long. I'm definitely going to monitor the traps also (probably every few hours) and if I see any animal that looks really distressed I'll release him/her myself.

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#13 Old 06-14-2010, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchabbey' date='14 June 2010 - 02:07 PM' timestamp='1276538846' post='2657935 View Post


Victory! I got a call back from the USDA Supervisor who apologized for the initial misunderstanding and agreed that he would direct the trapper to only vaccinate and release any skunk caught on my entire street! He even told me I could accompany the trapper on his rounds to ensure that no skunk was harmed! Woo Hoo...doing a little victory dance



Wow! Great news Dutch! <3 you!
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#14 Old 06-14-2010, 04:46 PM
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Be careful if you are going to release any animal. They may attack just out of stress.



It's good that they are cooperating wtih you. I personally, after all I've been reading about the USDA lately, would not trust them.

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#15 Old 06-14-2010, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floridaisa' date='14 June 2010 - 03:46 PM' timestamp='1276555605' post='2658088 View Post


Be careful if you are going to release any animal. They may attack just out of stress.



My experience is that they will usually cower at the back of the trap until you walk away, then dart out, or just dart out. I don't think attacking is common at all.

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#16 Old 06-14-2010, 06:06 PM
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Thats great that you stuck up for the skunks.



Are they marking the ones they catch so they don't vaccinate them more than once? Although I'd imagine they are probably smart enough not to go into the trap twice.

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