This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.
Olympia’s moles are breathing a bit easier today. The state has stopped using illegal traps to kill them on grounds around the Capitol and the governor’s mansion.
The use of “body-gripping” traps for any animal were outlawed 10 years ago by voter-approved Initiative 713. But somehow – even after emotional campaigns for and against the measure – the state didn’t get the memo that it should discontinue using the traps.
The Department of General Administration is the agency that’s been using up to 10 spring-loaded traps in late winter to reduce the Capitol grounds’ destructive mole population before the critters start breeding. Ironically, the GA is located right across the street from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is charged with enforcing the trap ban.
Although Fish & Wildlife says no private citizens have been fined for using the same kind of illegal traps, some commercial exterminators have been cited – usually after a competitor has complained. The GA will be treated like any other first-time offender – with a warning.
The fact that even an agency of state government sees a need for the traps to effectively control moles shows how absurd it is to use a voter initiative to make wildlife policy. Read more »