It’s time to ban these medieval animal torture devices

If ever there was a device that is the very definition of animal cruelty it’s leghold and other body gripping traps. Each year, both targeted and not targeted animals get their limbs caught in these indiscriminate body-gripping traps from which they struggle to escape by tugging or chewing off a leg or paw. Beavers caught in Conibear traps suffer from crushed bones while they drown.

What’s the need for these traps, where animals suffer from crushed bones and ripped tendons before death? How deploring this exists in a state that is known for its progressive values. It’s time to outlaw these medieval-era torture tools and support bipartisan bill, HR 6014, before the state legislature.

The number of trappers purchasing state licenses represents a fraction of the population at just 500 and a nominal amount of revenue for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The United States isn’t even a major market for fur pelts. Most are sold to Canada, Russia and Chinese markets.

With the popularity of fur-wearing and designing in steep decline and prices for pelts dropping, it’s time to outlaw the traps, which enable stealing the skins of animals whose lives shouldn’t be reduced to a trashy fashion whim.

Trapping is cruel to 11 species of fur-bearing wildlife such as foxes, beavers, river otters, muskrats and other animals who are baited and targeted. It’s a danger to non-hunted animals that also get caught in the traps, including birds and domestic animals.

Connecticut residents have reported pets as well as birds getting caught in the devices. According to data obtained from DEEP through a Freedom of Information Act request, five dogs, five cats, a barred owl, snapping turtle, mallard duck, English sparrow and a rabbit and bobcats were caught in the traps between 2016-2018. And these figures are just a small sampling, as trappers aren’t required to report non-targeted animals that get caught and are injured or killed in their traps.

The American Veterinary Medical Association reported that capture of non-target animals can range up to 60 percent of total catches, and that endangered animals such as flightless birds can record high levels of trap injuries. It opposes the use of leghold traps.

The U.S. National Animal Care and Control Association also strongly oppose the use of traps that capture and snare wildlife by the legs. It’s time for state officials to act.

Fran Silverman is the communications director for Friends of Animals, based in Darien.

 

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