Urge Congress to End Cruel Trapping on National Wildlife Refuges


None needed at this time.


We anticipate reintroduction of this bill in the 115th Congress.

Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act - Photo by Javier Sanchez

Update: On January 20, 2016, Senator Booker spoke again before his colleagues on the Environment and Public Works  Committee, urging his fellow senators to take action to reduce the risks and suffering associated with cruel body-gripping traps. This is the second time in the 114th Congress that the problem of indiscriminate trapping on public lands has come up for a hearing.

Update: On May 6, 2015, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee discussed the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). This is the first time in decades that a congressional hearing has considered prohibiting the use of cruel and indiscriminate body-gripping traps on our nation’s public lands. The Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, long championed by AWI, was the only animal-friendly bill under consideration at the EPW hearing.

Watch Senator Cory Booker’s remarks on trapping here (statement starts at 30:08) http://www.senate.gov/isvp/?type=live&comm=epw&filename=epw050615

Dear Humanitarian,

The Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act has been introduced in both the US House of Representatives and the Senate by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). This bill—H.R. 2016/S. 1081—would prohibit the use of body-gripping traps within the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS).

Body-gripping traps—such as strangling snares, Conibear traps, and steel-jaw leghold traps—are inhumane and inherently nonselective. These archaic traps indiscriminately injure and kill countless nontarget animals, including raptors, rabbits, endangered and threatened species, and household pets.

Jawed traps slam closed with bone-crushing force on any animal that trips the device, while strangling snares tighten around the neck or body of their victims until death finally ends the torture. Steel-jaw leghold traps are among the most notorious trapping devices. Almost 90 countries have banned their use, but—astonishingly—these and other cruel traps are still allowed in the United States on federal lands intended to protect and conserve our nation's wildlife. Put simply, this cruelty should not be permitted in any place that is called a "refuge."

The NWRS encompasses the most comprehensive and diverse collection of fish and wildlife habitats in the world, and provides a home for more than 380 endangered species. National wildlife refuges are intended to be safe havens for wildlife, but in over half of the 563 national wildlife refuges, trapping is allowed. Millions of Americans visit refuges each year to hike on trails and observe a wide range of wildlife species in their natural habitats. Visitors should be able to enjoy these areas without fear that they or their pets may stumble upon a body-gripping trap or encounter an injured animal languishing in these gruesome devices.

A national Decision Research public opinion poll showed that 79 percent of Americans believe trapping on national wildlife refuges should be prohibited, while 88 percent believe wildlife and habitat preservation should be the highest priority of the refuge system.

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