"Trapping Should Be Illegal-Then And Now"


Trapping is a very important issue, which is connected to
many other larger issues. For instance, trapping lies at the
heart of the First Nation\'s distinct society issue. Before I talk
about the present, however, I would like to discuss whether
trapping should have been illegal when Canada was first being
settled in the 17th and 18th centuries.
When the first explorers came to the new world, it was
regarded as a huge slab of worthless rock standing between Europe
and the riches of the Orient. The only reason these explorers
even explored this continent was the hope of finding the North-
West passage, a route to the Orient. Fortunately, while searching
for this North-West passage, some of these explorers stumbled
onto a virtual magnet for settlement: The Fur Trade. When people
heard how pelts of all kinds could be obtained so easily and sold
for so much, the idea of not settling in the new world was
ridiculous. Suddenly settlers came to this "slab of worthless
rock" and tried to set up permanent living there. Even after a
few failed attempts the draw of the fur trade was responsible for
the settlement we call New France.
After the first steps toward a permanent colony in the new
world were made, the next steps came in leaps and bounds. The
French government was sending everyone they could to settle in
New France. Courieurs de Bois, began coming to the colony to trap
furs and sell them back in France. France granted land to poor
people that were willing to risk the great voyage. The colony
flourished, and grew.
It was the fur trade that was mostly responsible for this
colony. However, some think that by this point the colony was
large enough to illegalize fur trapping and still remain a
profitable colony for France. However, there is one major reason
that fur trading should have been allowed: Relations with the
Indians.
Relations with the Indians were shaky, at best. Some Indians
befriended the French, and some befriended the English. Some just
gave their furs to the highest bidder. The relationship with the
Indians was more than just a trade agreement. The wars of the
Indians were the wars of the French. Now, imagine what would
happen if one day, an Indian came to a Frenchman and offered him
a pelt. The Frenchman tells the Indian that not only will he not
buy it, but no Frenchman in New France will. Not only that,
trapping furs in the forests belonging to the French was not
allowed. The relationships with the Indians which had taken so
long to establish would be shattered in days. The Indians would
probably recognize the French as their enemies. Now not only the
enemies of the Indian "friends" of the French would attack them,
but also their "friends". Settlers would again become afraid to
come to New France because of the fierce Indian attacks. The
French colony in New France would cease to exist. Therefore, I
think trapping should have been legal then. Now that I have
talked about fur trapping then, I\'ll talk about it now.
Unfortunately, it is much more complicated now. Animal rights
activists have told us that it is wrong to kill an animal for its
fur. I strongly agree with this opinion, especially since man-
made fur is so accessible. Unfortunately, there are people who
feel they deserve real fur if they can pay for it. Although I
disagree with them, you cannot just deny them the fur, because
one way or another they will arrange to get it. Even so, trapping
(for fur) should be illegal. If you want real fur, you should not
kill wild animals. You should go to a farm where animals are
raised for their fur.
The problem of people wanting real fur is small compared to
other problems for and against the fur trade. For instance, if we
illegalize trapping, the First Nation\'s way of life would be
totally disrupted. Not letting the First Nation trap is like
taking away a large profession from us, for instance law. What
would all the lawyers do if suddenly practising law was illegal?
The First Nations, I believe, should be allowed to continue
trapping as long as it is under limits. However, I believe that,
after all, their ancestors had such a successful relationship
with the land that trapping within limits should not be a
problem. Another problem that would arise if trapping is
illegalized is that it is said that too many predators (wolves,
etc.) would roam the forests and be dangerous to farms with
livestock on