COMMITTEE for RESPONSIBLE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT
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Information from the National Trappers Association http://www.nationaltrappers.com/
1. HSUS Statement: Body-gripping traps (steel-jawed leghold traps, snares, and Conibear traps) cause severe distress, fear, and pain to both wildlife and pets. Body-gripping traps slam closed on and grip tightly an animal's leg or other body part. As a result, animals can suffer lacerations, broken bones, and joint dislocation. As the animal struggles to get free, he/she sometimes chews off a leg to escape or breaks teeth by biting the metal trap.
Factual Rebuttal: The correct terminology and classification of trap types includes 3 different categories. The first category is 'live-capture restraining devices' that allow the release or harvest of trapped animals. Leghold traps are included in this category. The second category is 'killing' devices that result in a near instantaneous death for trapped animals. This category includes Conibears and other brands of body-gripping traps. The third category includes traps that can function either as 'live-capture restraining devices' or 'killing' devices dependent on how and where they are set. Snares are included in this category.
Since Conibears and other body gripping "killer' traps are designed to provide a near instantaneous death via force applied directly below the base of the skull, the likelihood of extraneous injury, and/or self mutilation is extremely low. When snares are used as a 'live- capture restraining device they function in a similar manner to a dog collar and leash. Therefore, the likelihood of extraneous damage and/or self mutilation is also extremely low. Highly structured and replicated studies have repeatedly shown that leghold traps are the only efficient, practical, selective, humane, and environmentally benign 'live-capture restraining device' currently available for many furbearer species.
By design, capture devices used to reintroduce extirpated species or augment Threatened and Endangered populations have to ensure minimal damage probabilities to target animals. Leghold traps have been used almost exclusively to capture and re-establish red wolves, gray wolves, mexican wolves, lynx, and river otter.
2. HSUS Statement: Trapped animals can suffer from thirst and starvation; they may die as a result of exposure to the elements or predation.
Rebuttal: DNR regulation stipulates that traps set in uplands and non-tidal
wetlands must be checked once per calender day. This frequency prevents or severely limits
the probability of these occurrences. Any person that would violate this regulation would
also violate trap prohibition regulations.
Factual Rebuttal: DNR regulation stipulates that traps set in uplands and non-tidal wetlands must be checked once per calender day. This frequency prevents or severely limits the probability of these occurrences. Any person that would violate this regulation would also violate trap prohibition regulations.
The fundamental economic realities of commercial trapping also discourages these occurrences. The margin of profit in commercial trapping is relatively small. Every consecutive day that an animal is in a trap, that trap is non-functional and cannot capture additional animals. In effect, if a trapper allowed this to occur they would be jeopardizing potential revenue.
3. HSUS Statement: Animals still alive when the trapper checks the trapline are killed by bludgeoning or stomping or, less often, by strangulation or shooting.
4. HSUS Statement: The steel-jawed leghold trap has been declared "inhumane" by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the World Veterinary Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association.
5. HSUS Statement: Body-gripping traps are indiscriminate. They victimize any animal unfortunate enough to trigger them. Animals caught include protected species such as eagles, kit foxes, fishers, and wolverines, as well as family pets. The majority of smaller animals (birds, rabbits, squirrels, etc.) unintentionally caught in traps die or must be destroyed because of serious, disabling injuries.
pose no realistic threat to human safety. An exhaustive investigation of trapping
incidents in the
6. HSUS Statement: Commercial trapping is not a "wildlife management tool". There are no bag limits and no limits on the number of traps that can be set. Trapping activity is driven by the price of pelts, not by the need to manage wildlife populations. Some fur-bearers (coyotes for instance) have natural fertility and breeding controls when not disturbed by humans, while others (such as muskrats) experience natural boom-and-bust cycles
Factual Rebuttal: The professional wildlife conservation community universally endorses traps and trapping as critical and essential wildlife management tools. The Wildlife Society and the International Association Of Fish and Wildlife Agencies are the largest international organizations representing professional wildlife conservation employees and governmental wildlife agencies. Both organizations have issued policy statements that strongly support the role commercial trapping plays in achieving wildlife management objectives.
Harvest season length, bag limits, permissible size and types of traps, and total number of traps permissible per trapper, are all considered during the development of management strategies for individual species. Population growth characteristics of some species require strict harvest regulations that include bag limits and limiting the number of traps per individual. Conversely, harvest and population characteristics of other species require liberal regulations to meet prescribed furbearer management objectives.
All wildlife populations possess inherent bio-feedback mechanisms that eventually limit population densities. Most species can exhibit classic 'boom and bust cycles'. The reproductive capabilities of coyotes, muskrats and many other furbearers allow non-regulated populations to increase at exponential rates until they approach and/or surpass the carrying capacity of their respective ecosystems (boom). When this occurs, competition for limited resources compromises the health of the entire population. At that time, the weakened condition of these animals allow density-dependent mortality factors such as starvation, disease, and social strife, to decimate entire populations (bust). Oftentimes, the health of the entire ecosystem including all aligned wildlife species and the public are also negatively impacted by these inflated furbearer populations.
Regulated commercial trapping manages populations by moderating the extremes of 'boom and bust' cycles. This results in stable populations of healthy animals that are in balance with the biological carrying capacity of their ecosystems and the cultural carrying capacity accepted by the general public.
7. HSUS Statement: Trapping is not useful in fighting wildlife diseases. Scientists, public health officials, and government agencies are on record stating that trapping is an ineffective and costly method of controlling rabies and other diseases.
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