September 23, 2019

Letter: Essex Beavers Received Stay, Not Commutation

To the Editor:

I write to clarify an important element of the story reported in this publication’s December 5 feature, “Essex Conservation Commission to Hold Off Lethal Trapping of Beavers,” which seems to have triggered local jubilation.

While I have Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman’s personal assurance that he, concerned citizens, and the Essex conservation commission are now “all on the same page” and that the commissioners have pledged to examine non-lethal beaver management alternatives, only on-the-record rescission of the commission’s earlier trap/drown decision guarantees that no physical harm will come to the beavers.  The conservation commission has the full authority to act as it deems appropriate, and it has left open the Final Solution.

Talk is cheap, and if the public heat abates I have no confidence — based on its legacy — that the conservation commission can be trusted to act diligently in the public interest, and with the utmost transparency.  Beavers were trapped and drowned by closed-door decision several years ago.  In the commission’s meeting on December 4, the vice commissioner asserted, for example, that death by drowning is “instantaneous” — a statement that is patently false, ignorant, and dismissive of a legitimate animal welfare concern.

The overarching ethical issue is that beavers, which today’s science recognizes as beneficial cornerstone species of the ecosystem, are simply behaving naturally in a preserve that taxpayers established to safeguard flora and fauna from mankind’s destruction.

I urge your readers to monitor this issue closely and to continue pressing for definitive, on-the-record rescission of the conservation commission’s November 6 trap/kill decision.

Sincerely,

Scott R. Konrad
Essex  

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