Millions of wild animals, including bobcats, coyotes, foxes, lynx, raccoons, and wolves, suffer and die in traps each year, mainly in the US, Canada and Russia, although trapping does occur in other countries too on a smaller scale.

Traps, including steel-jaw leghold traps, body-gripping traps, and wire neck snares, are inhumane devices that inflict great pain and suffering. The traps are designed to crush animals in a vice like grip rather than kill them - meaning they can’t fend off predators. Some animals will chew off their trapped limb to escape. Trappers refer to this as ‘ring-off’. Some may die from blood loss or shock but most animals will be trapped for days before the trapper returns to kill them. They are usually beaten or stamped to death to avoid damaging the fur. Both the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association have declared the steel-jaw leghold trap to be inhumane.

The three commonly used traps

Traps are indiscriminate, catching the first animal to step on them. Countless dogs and cats, deer, birds and other animals—including threatened and endangered animals—are also injured and killed each year by the traps. The trappers call these unfortunate animals ‘trash’.

A 2011 investigation from Born Free and Respect for Animals which shows horrific cruelty by trappers – both legal and illegal. The footage shows the brutal drowning of a raccoon and the chest crushing of a fox:

Pets and Traps

Traps, be it steel-jawed leghold traps, conibear traps, or snares, are inherently indiscriminate. Each year, traps in the United States injure and kill millions of "nontarget" animals—domestic dogs and cats, rabbits, deer, songbirds, raptors, livestock, and even endangered species. Referred to as "trash" animals, nontarget wildlife often are simply thrown away. Injuries from leghold traps are often so severe that the injured limb of a trapped companion animal must be amputated. Conibear traps, however, kill many of their unintended victims.

"Companion animals have been trapped along the edges of railroad tracks, running and hiking trails, streams, airport fences, and campgrounds. They’ve been caught under porches, in backyards, agricultural fields, and the middle of cities. They are caught on private property and on public lands, including national forests and municipal parks." Andrea Cimino, The Humane Society of the United States

Trappers are rarely prosecuted when a pet is caught by a trap. Trapping is a largely unregulated activity, and where restrictions do apply, they are poorly enforced. In most cases, trappers do not leave identification on their traps, so trappers cannot be traced or fined for neglecting their traps.

For a complete list of non-target trapping incidents please view Born Free USA's updated list.

Find out more:

Fur Free Alliance Fact sheet

Fur Bearer Defenders Fact Sheet

Respect for Animals Fact Sheet

Born Free's Ban Cruel Traps Campaign

For information in other languages, please visit the website of the anti-fur organisation in your own country and for additional footage and photos please visit Photos and Videos

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