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Second U.S. city bans rodent glue traps: Ojai takes a stand

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Ojai, a picturesque city nestled in a valley in Ventura County, California, has made history by becoming the second city in the United States to ban the use of rodent glue traps. The decision came after a unanimous vote by the Ojai City Council, with Mayor Betsy Stix leading the charge to end the use of these cruel devices.

The ban comes after a presentation by Jakob Shaw, special projects manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who highlighted the gruesome consequences of using glue traps. Animals trapped in these devices suffer slow and painful deaths from starvation, dehydration, asphyxiation, and blood loss. Some even resort to chewing off their own limbs in a desperate attempt to escape. The suffering caused by these traps is simply unbearable, and Mayor Stix echoed the sentiment that the cruelty needs to stop.

According to Shaw, glue traps not only ensnare rodents but also trap a variety of other wildlife, including birds, bats, chipmunks, lizards, opossums, rabbits, and even flying squirrels. The ban on glue traps is a step towards protecting all the amazing animals that call Ojai home.

Brian Popovich, management analyst for the city manager’s office, emphasized the city’s commitment to animal welfare. Ojai has a history of supporting initiatives that promote the well-being of animals, including a recent ordinance declaring that elephants have the right to liberty. The ban on glue traps is another step in the right direction towards creating a more compassionate community.

In addition to the ethical concerns surrounding glue traps, Popovich also pointed to the health risks associated with these devices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned against using glue traps, as they can increase the risk of disease transmission. More humane alternatives, such as snap traps, live traps, and electric traps, are available to effectively control rodent populations without causing unnecessary suffering.

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Shaw emphasized that glue traps are responsible for more suffering than any other wildlife control product on the market. These indiscriminate killing devices not only harm rodents but also pose a threat to a wide range of wildlife species. The ban on glue traps is a crucial step towards protecting the diverse ecosystems that exist in and around Ojai.

The decision to ban glue traps in Ojai was met with overwhelming support from the community, with residents voicing their approval during the city council meeting. While some questioned whether banning glue traps would lead to worse alternatives, the consensus was clear: the cruelty inflicted by these devices is unacceptable, and more humane solutions must be sought.

The Ojai ban on glue traps will take effect within 30 days, marking a significant victory for animal welfare in the city. By taking a stand against the use of these inhumane devices, Ojai has set an example for other cities to follow in the fight against animal cruelty.

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Chats and reflections on the present moment.

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Lydia Polgreen

Credit…Will Heath/NBC, via Getty Images

It is a rare thing in our rapidly secularizing country to be confronted with piety and devotion in popular culture. So it was a surprise, and a balm, to watch a man who prays daily and talks openly about his devout faith storm a bastion of earthly godlessness: “Saturday Night Live.”

I am referring, of course, to the comedian Ramy Youssef, who hosted the show on what he described in his opening monologue as “an incredibly spiritual weekend,” noting Ramadan, Easter and the arrival of a new Beyoncé album.

“I’m doing the Ramadan one,” he quipped, to peals of laughter, unspooling a very funny bit about how loving Muslims are. Youssef has mined his experience as a believer among the profane in gentle standup specials and a namesake sitcom. His entire monologue glowed with a welcoming warmth — Muslims, he seemed to say: We’re just like you.

In a country that is supposedly obsessed with diversity and inclusion, it is remarkable how rare it is to hear from a practicing Muslim in America.

Surveys by the Institute for Policy and Understanding, a nonpartisan research organization focused on Muslim Americans, have consistently found that Muslims are the most likely group to report religious discrimination in the United States. According to a Pew survey conducted in 2021, 78 percent of Americans said that there was either a lot or some discrimination against Muslims in our society. Muslims are no more likely to commit crimes than members of any other group, but crimes in which Muslims are suspects get outsized media coverage, research has shown.

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It is no surprise, then, that Islamophobia is perhaps the most tolerated form of religious prejudice. Right now, Senate Republicans appear to have persuaded several Senate Democrats to vote against a Muslim judicial nominee after smearing him, with no evidence at all, as an antisemite.

Many of the skits that toyed with religion on “S.N.L.” on Saturday were funny — Ozempic for Ramadan! Genius. But part of me winced through them as well, because I saw in Youssef something that other members of minority groups have had to do to “earn” their place in the safety of the mainstream: the performance of normalcy, of being nonthreatening and sweet, the requirement to prove that your community belongs in America just like everyone else’s.

I loved Youssef’s monologue, in which he bravely pleaded, “Please, free the people of Palestine. And please, free the hostages. All of the hostages.”

“I am out of ideas,” Youssef declared toward the end of his monologue. “All I have is prayers.”

To which this nonbeliever can only say: Same, Ramy. Same.

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