This coming Saturday, May 1, marks another year that the Miss N.H. Scholarship Program Inc. will be giving the winner a fur coat.

Notice in the organization’s name that they’re emphasizing this pageant as a scholarship program rather than a beauty contest. And yet they are providing a fur coat to the winner, which is an outdated beauty and status symbol that has nothing to do with scholarship. But this coat has everything to do with cruelty toward innocent animals.

This coat is made from the fur of animals trapped here in New Hampshire. These are red and gray fox, whose populations are being decimated by uncontrolled trapping. Over a dozen animals are sacrificed to make just one coat. They are important predators on our New Hampshire landscape and are more important alive to keep our natural systems in balance than they are in becoming a useless fur coat that will only be worn a few times.

There is ample scientific evidence, generated by the N.H. Fish and Game Department’s own biologists, showing that these fox populations have been declining at a precipitous rate over the past decade, and yet the N.H. Fish and Game commissioners don’t see their way to curbing this slaughter. At their meeting just last week they voted to maintain the existing high rates of killing of these over-trapped foxes.

The Miss N.H. contestants aren’t demanding a fur coat for a prize because fur coats aren’t on the minds of young women today. Even Saks Fifth Avenue department store just announced that it will no longer sell fur. It’s the executives of the Miss N.H. program and the N.H. Trappers Association who are promoting this prize. It is time to stop this awful tradition.