Not Funny

As you probably know, I live in Waltham. And Waltham has a street called “Beaver Street” and one called, “Trapelo Road“. Waltham is in eastern Massachusetts, which is densely populated, and was once mostly marshland. This marshland was created by beavers damming up rivers and streams. Beaver trappers would set up traps off the main road, and warn people about the traps saying there was a “trap below”, thus Trapelo Road. Beavers are also featured on the MIT class ring, as the animal that engineers. So beavers have certainly played a role in the history of the area.

Well, a few years ago, animal rights activists conspired to get more of their own onto the state fish and game board, whatever it’s called. They did this by means of a referendum question. The question did two things: 1) removed any requirements that one had to be a hunter to serve on the board (there were a certain number of board seats reserved for hunters) and 2) to ban “cruel traps” in Massachusetts. Ads run by the animal rightists featured sob stories of pet owners with three legged dogs and the like. Hunters were caught unawares, and ran virtually no ads to compete or to explain what the animal rightists were really after.

So the measure passed.

It should be no surprise that the beaver population has exploded in Massachusetts in recent years. The first damage this wrought was property damage. While it’s unclear to me what happens under the wetlands act when beavers dam up a river and it floods your house, but it can’t be good. And given that so many of us (myself included) live on land that was drained long ago to support human habitation, this is not a small problem. It’s also not a small problem for commercial developers. For example, you may not be aware that there’s a small stream that runs alongside the Burlington Mall. Beavers now inhabit that stream, and are proceeding to dam it. Nothing can be done, and in a few years, that whole parking lot for the mall will be flooded, if not the mall itself. For those not familiar with the Boston area, the Burlington Mall is one of the largest in Metro-Boston.

And if all the property damage caused by the bill weren’t enough to convince you that this is no laughing matter, there’s this:

NewsCenter 5′s Liz Brunner reported Thursday that researchers are making an interesting connection between mosquitoes and beavers.

“(Beavers) dam up water. They flood septic systems and wells, and it can cause major conflict with people,” wildlife biologist Chrissie Henner said.

Researchers want to find out if beavers are contributing to another problem — mosquitoes. Officials are monitoring 14 beaver lodges around the state. [...]

Mosquitoes prefer warm, shallow water, like the kind beavers create when they build. Januszewski is looking for any connection between temperature and increased mosquito breeding.

That’s right, West Nile Virus. What’s next, malaria? People forget that one of the major ways that we in the West removed the scourge of malaria from our midst was to eliminate still bodies of water, by means of creating enclosed sewage systems, and by trapping the goddamned beavers. People so easily forget. Malaria was a real problem even around here up until the early 20th century.

As I said, this situation is very not funny.

Can we please go back to trapping the beavers? Really, it’d be cheaper to buy prosthetics for injured pets, than to sustain the property and health damage that this silly prohibition brings.


5 Responses to “Not Funny”

  Jay Solo Says:

Yeah, this has been in the news off and on the past couple years or so. People have lost large chunks of land to brand new “wetland” that they have been prevented from doing anything about. Not good.

  matt Says:

animal rights activists don’t care. They have no logic beyond love of animals. And when I say “no logic” I mean that. I was president of the board of a local humane society, because they needed a jerk (read: crazy right-winger) to make some business decisions. They were in the process of putting an HVAC system in to the shelter. There were a couple problems.

1. We didn’t have the money.
2. They only wanted to A/C the areas where the dogs & cats were, not the offices for the humans.
3. Because of the disease, we needed also to ventilate a 750 sq. ft. room every ten minutes. Change the air every ten minutes and try to maintain cool air.

Raise your hand if you keep your windows open while the air is on.

So I stepped in and said

1. We don’t have the money to support the continuing costs of the project, much less A/Cing a room that will never get cool.
2. If the project moves forward, us humans are important too.

I had a board member…a BOARD MEMBER tell me that we were doing the project no matter what the cost-if the shelter closed because we couldn’t afford at least the animals would have air as we ran it into the ground.

That is what you are dealing with.

  Jen Says:

I seem to recall that Plum Island has a legend of all the plum trees being uprooted due to settlers bringing in pigs to root for truffles. And that is why it is eroding, because the pigs also uprooted all the vegetation. Would that law mean you can’t have pig roasts anymore? Will they relocate all the pigs in MA to Plum Island now?

Can you shoot beavers with SuperSoakers or is that against the law too? How about putting fireworks in their dams? Or a stuffed gorilla that sings annoying songs (I saw someone get one of these at a Christmas party once)? That would drive them away. Oh wait, I know, DENTISTS. With pliers. If I were a beaver, that would scare me.

  susan Says:

Try to look at the whole picture. Yes, Waltham is a developed place. Maybe you think the beavers should just “go somewhere else.” Or maybe you think there should be so many beavers. But beavers are actually the key to creating unique ecosystems that many animals depend on. And there no longer is space for animals to move on. If everyone didn’t want their own 5,000 square foot house and an acre of land, there might be some room for the rest of the animal planet…

  Boston Common Says:
Beaver damns
Rob is not happy with beavers – and discusses the connection between beavers and Waltham’s Trapelo Road – and possibly West Nile Virus….


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