Sierra Club Condemns Body-Gripping Traps

A bald eagle caught and injured by a leghold trap. Body-gripping traps can inflict extreme suffering on targeted and non-targeted animals alike. Photo by Minnesota Raptor CenterOn May 19, 2012, the Sierra Club national board of directors adopted a new “Policy on Trapping of Wildlife.” The policy is perhaps the strongest statement issued to date by the 110-year-old organization in condemnation of inhumane activities targeting wildlife. The new policy states, “Use of body-gripping devices—including leghold traps, snares, and Conibear traps—are indiscriminate to age, sex and species and typically result in injury, pain, suffering, and/or death of target and non-target animals.  The Sierra Club considers body-gripping, restraining and killing traps and snares to be ecologically indiscriminate and unnecessarily inhumane and therefore opposes their use.”

“This is the first time a major national environmental organization has adopted a strong policy against body-gripping traps,” said AWI’s wildlife consultant, Camilla Fox, who served on the task force that developed this policy over the course of 18 months. “The policy provides clear guidance for state and regional Sierra Club chapters and groups to advocate for wildlife based on the best science and practical ethics.”

Fox credited Pulitzer Prize-winning Sacramento Bee journalist, Tom Knudsen, with helping to raise Sierra Club board awareness of leghold trapping with a multi-part investigative report on the USDA Wildlife Services predator control program, published in the Bee the week preceding the board vote.