Antis planning protest at Miss N.H. Pagent
(Reprinted from above link)
DERRY -- Animal rights activists are planning to protest the Miss New Hampshire pageant at Pinkerton Academy on Saturday for its tradition of awarding the winner a fur coat made from the skins of trapped New Hampshire wildlife.
Protest organizer Kristina Snyder with the NH Citizens Against Recreational Trapping group said she expects about 30 people or more to join her in protesting outside the Stockbridge Theatre.
“This tradition, it just really needs to end,” Snyder said.
She said this is the first major protest of the pageant in over 15 years for the pageant's connections to the NH Trappers Association, a 26-year sponsor. Snyder also started an online petition at thepetitionsite.com to demand the Miss New Hampshire organization stop accepting fur coats. The petition has gathered about 124,000 signatures, mostly from out of state.
Snyder said about 800 signatures are from New Hampshire. Helping her with the protest is the Twin States Animal Liberation Outreach group and the New Hampshire Animal Rights League.
She said it’s a bad look for the state and the winner who goes on to represent the state in the national Miss America competition.
“It’s not saying very much for New Hampshire in being very evolved in animal activism or animal welfare issues,” Snyder said.
Snyder argues the practice of trapping is inherently inhumane and some of the trappers do it for personal entertainment.
But Dwight Pennell, president of the NH Trappers Association, begs to differ.
“There’s nothing recreational about it, because it’s hard work,” Pennell said.
He said the practice is heavily regulated and monitored by New Hampshire Fish and Game, and it is done in a manner that is humane and helps manage wildlife populations.
“Mother Nature is a lot more cruel than the trappers ever are,” Pennell said.
For instance, he said trappers are required to log their catches and locations with Fish and Game, which is converted into data that wildlife biologists use to propose adjusted catch limits each season, based on population estimates, Pennell said. Trappers are also required to check traps every 24 hours and get written landowner permission each year, he said.
Pennell said the sponsorship agreement with the Miss New Hampshire organization grants the NH Trappers Association four tickets to the event, an ad in the event program, and up to three appearances by the winner each year.
Usually, Miss New Hampshire appears at annual fundraisers, such as the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation banquet, and the NH Trappers Association banquet, to pick winning raffle tickets. Pennell said the winners are given a choice by the Miss New Hampshire organization to opt out of the fur coat, but none have done so yet.
“It’s very well received,” Pennell said.
The coats are made with donated furs from across the state. This year’s coat was made with gray fox fur, and the coat for next year is already being made with gray fox fur and red fox trim, Pennell said.
Picture: Holly Blanchard makes her first speech as Miss New Hampshire 2015, wearing a coat gifted to her by the New Hampshire Trappers Association, on May 2, 2015.