Blumenauer Introduces Legislation to Reduce Unsafe, Inhumane Trapping

September 8, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) introduced the Limiting Inhumane Federal Trapping (LIFT) for Public Safety Act, legislation to reign in unsafe and inhumane trapping on public lands and by public officials.

Countless pets and wild animals are injured and killed each year in body-gripping traps such as leg and foothold, Conibear, and snare traps. Despite the existence of viable non-lethal alternatives, body-gripping traps are used by federal agencies, state and local governments, private entities, and individual trappers to catch creatures for their fur, keep animals away from livestock and crops, and even for recreational purposes. Unfortunately, these traps often subject captured animals to excruciating pain for hours or even days, before they eventually die from dehydration, injuries, or predation, or when the trapper eventually finds them. Additionally, these traps are indiscriminate in their victims, and while intended for certain species or “problem animals,” they may capture – and even kill – companion animals if hidden along popular trails or waterways. Humans also risk being inadvertently caught in poorly placed traps, or attack from distressed captured animals they try to free.

“We’ve seen too many concerning examples of wild animals suffering and pets falling victim to body-gripping traps. It’s disgusting such inhumane traps are so widely used,” said Representative Blumenauer. “With many effective non-lethal methods that can be used in place of these cruel traps, the federal government should not and cannot continue to endorse their use.”

Wildlife Services, a federal agency notorious for its secrecy and use of inhumane animal management techniques, is responsible for the death or capture of thousands of animals per year in cruel body-gripping traps, often used as a first resort. Wildlife Services also advises and enters into contracts and cooperative agreements with state and local governments, as well as with private entities, to kill animals using these traps. Other federal agencies, too, allow or use body-gripping traps to control animal species – too often without attempting or requiring more humane and non-lethal control options first. 

The LIFT for Public Safety Act acknowledges the inhumane nature of body-gripping traps and takes a two-pronged approach to severely restricting use of these traps to protect public safety and reduce animal suffering:

  • First, the bill prohibits officials and contractors of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior – including Wildlife Services and agencies like the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish & Wildlife Service – from using or recommending the use of these inhumane traps. 
  • Second, it prohibits use of these traps on land managed by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior, such as National Forests, Bureau of Land Management land, and National Wildlife Refuges. 

The legislation contains limited exceptions for certain lands, the protection of endangered species, and the control of invasive species, while promoting transparency and requiring use and documentation of non-lethal methods first.  

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