Caught in the Trap: LA Bans Snare and Body Gripping Traps

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF Executive Director on September 11, 2014

Legally Brief

Every year, millions of animals like coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, bobcats, and beavers are caught by trappers in the U.S. The most popular trap—the barbaric steel jaw leghold trap—uses metal jaws to grasp an animal by the leg. Most animals caught in these devices die slowly and painfully from shock, blood loss, hypothermia, or starvation. Many try to chew their own legs off to escape. That’s one reason why, earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously banned anyone from using any trap “that maims or causes the inhumane death or suffering of any animal” such as those that grip or snare wild animals or use poisons as bait. One council member wrote that all traps “can be inhumane through negligent care or use, but snares, body-crushing and body-gripping traps are inherently inhumane.” Banning these traps reduces the suffering of wild animals and also protects other animals from getting caught in such traps accidentally.

California Ban on Steel Jaw Traps

bobcat-cc-seth-carlson-article-image-feature

California voters banned many of these same devices in 1998 through Proposition 4, a statewide ballot initiative that banned traps and other cruel practices used by the fur trade along with dangerous poisons that hurt animals and the environment. Violation of these laws indeed can result in criminal charges. However those prohibitions did not apply to government employees who still are allowed to use other body-gripping traps, such as conibear traps and snares, and are only prevented from using steel jaw leghold traps. California is one of nine U.S. states and more than 85 countries that ban or severely restrict the use of steel jaw leghold traps, which have been declared inhumane by the World Veterinary Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the National Animal Control Association.

A New Way Forward

trap-cc-minnesota-historical-society-article-image-feature

Many animals are trapped as part of a federal predator control program known as Wildlife Services. The agency spends more than 100 million dollars annually to trap, snare, shoot and poison more than a million wild animals. Targeted animals, like coyotes, bobcats, bears, raccoons, and beavers, and animals killed unintentionally, like moose, deer, great-blue herons, endangered condors, bald eagles, and even family pets are killed mostly on public lands and at taxpayer expense. One Wildlife Services trapper reports his records showing that for every one target animal his traps caught, two additional non-target animals were captured—nearly all of whom had to be killed due to their injuries from traps.

My dog once had the misfortune of being caught in a steel jaw leghold trap set out for wolves in Alaska’s Chugach National Forest. I’ll never forget his cries of pain, fear, and helplessness. Fortunately, I was able to release him with relatively minor injuries. Most non-targeted animals caught in traps are not so lucky.

Research shows that nonlethal methods (like range riders, guard dogs, proper fencing) are more effective than trapping, snaring, and poisoning. That’s why ALDF is working with other animal and conservation organizations to assure that our wild neighbors are afforded the respect and protection they deserve. California has made significant moves to protect its wildlife and the Los Angeles ban demonstrates that there are more humane and effective ways to coexist with our wild neighbors.


51 thoughts on “Caught in the Trap: LA Bans Snare and Body Gripping Traps

  1. lisa purdy says:

    Stop this cruelty.

  2. Patricia Fitzgerald says:

    No trapping!!!!!

  3. Ban all barbaric torture traps.

  4. Verna Tjemsland says:

    Please be humane and stop this cruel practice. There is absolutely NO need for death traps. We all must be good stewards of our great planet, not cruel and in humane.

  5. Lauren Barrows says:

    Please stop this horrific cruelty to wild animals. Thank you.

  6. s stock says:

    Stop the killing!

  7. Marcia Henderson says:

    Please stop this horrific way of trapping animals..there are humane methods

  8. Stephen miller says:

    I feel that anyone condoning the use of such traps should be made to step on one first themselves, then tell us its ok to use on poor defenceless animals.
    Stop the use of these torturous devices and perhaps when each of you reaches the end of your tales, you won’t end up tortured for eternity in whichever Hell it is you believe in.

  9. Amy says:

    It is important to move away from cruel traps and look towards a humane future.

  10. Judy Kirkman says:

    I’ll just add this to the previous comments: Imagine this happening to YOU.

  11. Radiant Rivers says:

    This is one of those things that are too horrific to contemplate at all- so people tune out and turn away. But, let’s WAKE UP, PEOPLE. These people who work for the federal gov’t, supposedly, are being funded by our tax dollars, and so WE are essentially saying that its OK for these horrific, barbaric, insanely cruel, acts to occur! Its NOT OK. “Wildlife Services”, whoever they are, needs to be prosecuted for animal cruelty, and for breaking state laws. Question: WHO/What is the entity that supposedly monitors and evaluates “Wildlife Services”?

  12. Tami Phelps says:

    These traps are cruel, inhumane, and indiscriminately harm wildlife and domestic animals. They should be banned.

  13. Paula Martin says:

    Please stop this inhumane act.

  14. gary martin says:

    trappers are heartless evil bastards.

  15. Terry L. Tinker says:

    I asking, pleading with you to stop the use of these brutal and barbaric traps. Why is our own government trapping our wild heritage to begin with?

  16. Sharoncocciolone says:

    Please ban these torturous traps. When will people start respecting life?

  17. Moacir Piccolo says:

    Malditas armadilhas e malditos canalhas que as usam!

  18. Deborah Tosh says:

    Trapping is cruel, inhumane & unnecessary. It should have been outlawed a long time ago!!!!

  19. Bobbie Wendelken says:

    In 2006, researchers from New South Wales University and Griffith University confirmed what many psychologists already suspected: animal cruelty is closely linked with “lack of empathy” and “callous disregard” in children. IN other words, Children can’t relate to adults yet, so we teach them empathy and compassion through animals. These traits are commonly associated with psychopaths, and animal cruelty is a better predictor of these traits than problematic parenting. When animals are abused, people are at risk.

    For decades, law-enforcement officers and psychiatrists have noted a consistent pattern: Violent criminals “start out” by tormenting, maiming and killing companion animals, wild animals or farm animals. The FBI has recognized the link since the 1970s, when agents analyzed in detail the life histories of various imprisoned serial killers, searching for patterns. When animals are abused, people are at risk.

  20. Veronica says:

    I hate any blood sports that includes trapping poisoning ariel shooting gassing or any cruel barbaric these horrendous hunters use it makes me so angry and upset why cant yu ban those employers from trapping our wolves!

  21. I support this petition. Plz get rid of these cruel, trapes.

  22. isha says:

    These traps do not belong in todays world.
    BAN them instantly, please.

  23. lorraine says:

    Please stop !!
    How would you feel ..if YOUR DOG..had his leg in these traps?

  24. Miles says:

    I would do anything for this to stop.

  25. Chris says:

    BARBARIC

  26. Lauren Smith says:

    Cruel & barbaric should be banned everywhere!!!

  27. Maureen Allen says:

    Two, related, issues here: clamping down on traps brings credit and appreciation to California decision-makers and the animal advocates who educate and inform them. Second: why is “Wildlife Services” still in business? America has enough government agencies–Federal, state and local–to exterminate every non-human life form on the planet. Not to mention angry hordes of hunters, poachers, ranchers and farmers, all locked and loaded. OUr notoriously “influenced” Ag Dept should be the focus of an Inspector General investigation of its funding and performance, with special emphasis on Wildlife Services.

  28. Michele Poole says:

    These traps are cruel, inhumane, and indiscriminately harm wildlife and domestic animals. They should be banned.

  29. Paula Ilona says:

    Stop this horrible animals cruekty

    1. Paula Ilona says:

      Stop this horrible animals cruelty !!!

  30. Joanna Damianou says:

    We must protect all tha animals from this horrible pain! People with emotional intelligence should stand by them.

  31. John Kokteau says:

    End the barbaric use of trap torture devices on wildlife and other animals.

  32. jill flowers says:

    Ban them , they are sooooo cruel

  33. cheryl says:

    you sick people not just the traps ARE INHUMANE CRUEL UTTERLY SCREAMS OF PAIN BEGGING TO BE RELEASED YOU ARE BARBARIANS HAVE NO VALUES DOMESTIC ANIMALS ARE TOO BEING CAUGHT YOU SHOULD BE CAUGHT IN ONE TRAP 1 TIME AND LEFT THERE LIKE PAIN SO THEN YOU ARE -REAL LIFE- NOT A HYPOCRYTE WITH ITS SHODDY ACT ,I THINK SOME OF YOU ARE AND YOU CANNOT DENY THE HARM YOU INFLICT UPON THE HELPLESS WILDLIFE LOOK AT THE PHOTO LOOK AT IT POST IT ON YOUR WALL AND LIVE WITH IT YOU WON’T NOT FOR LONG THERE ISN’T A JUST 1 PROCESS ACT ,PRE- MEDITATED TOTALLY,IN AN ACT OF PAIN,YOU HAVE THAT RIGHT?”maureen “comment can/could hold water’NOT A LIMB,BODY PART,

  34. William Myhill says:

    What actions is ALDF taking or could take to end the use of cruel federal trapping practices?

  35. Trapping is INHUMANE!! STOP IT!! There are other ways to do it you lazy assholes!! Stop torturing animals- they feel pain too!!!! Jackasses!!

  36. Anne Haggerty says:

    California government employees must be made to end the use of these barbaric traps.

  37. Shelley Rockamore says:

    Its a barbaric and cowardly thing to do. Shame on you,
    how low you have become.

  38. Kelly Brown says:

    Wildlife Services (sounds like such a nice name doesn’t it? ) Is a rogue organization. No one ever checks-up on them to make sure that they’re following their own rules. They function on their own and have no one to answer to. Personally, I’d like to see them go!

  39. Margret Wrennstad says:

    Trapping is barbaric!

  40. That was so cruel! They also have lives. In fact these kinds of animals are the once that we should protect.

  41. Rennie Miller says:

    When I find traps I smash them.

  42. anamelia perez says:

    Stop cruelty

  43. Dawn Dowling says:

    Animal traps are cruel , I do not support them

  44. rizwana shaheen says:

    no traps any kind please

  45. Is about time this cruelty gets in to the history books.

  46. Monika Shead says:

    This is too cruel. I am totally against this practice and wish it was banned. Please, please stop this horrible practice.

  47. Luca says:

    Stop with the cruelty on animals and people

  48. Sylvia Barca says:

    Please stop this horrific barbaric practice! I’m sure you wouldn’t like it done to you! Damn it why do humans play GOD!!!

Be a Partner in Protection!

Donate monthly to help animals.

or make a one-time gift »

ALDF's Online Store

Help fund our lifesaving work!

shop

Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.


Join Us

Follow ALDF on these networks:

Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.