New Report Reveals US Lags Behind Other Countries in Restricting Use of Cruel Traps

This young coyote, caught in a leghold trap for atleast two days, tried to gnaw his leg off. Photo by Critter Care Wildlife SocietyWashington, DC—Steel-jaw leghold traps, widely criticized for being indiscriminate and inhumane, are presently prohibited or significantly restricted in the majority of countries around the world.  According to research released today by the Library of Congress, more than 100 countries prohibit or impose stringent limits on the use of these and other body-gripping traps. Most ban their use outright. Many also prohibit the import, sale, and/or possession of such traps.

“We welcome this important new research, because it provides clear evidence that the United States is far behind the rest of the world when it comes to legal restrictions on these cruel and nonselective traps,” said Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute.

The research, conducted by the Library of Congress’ Global Legal Research Directorate, identifies each of the countries, along with a short description of the intent of the law, as well as a citation identifying the specific legislation. The report reveals, for example, that Portugal bans steel-jaw leghold traps because they are nonselective, Ireland’s prohibition has been in place since 1880, and Kenya outlaws these traps under its Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act because they inflict “unnecessary suffering.” While the report provides significant data, some countries were not listed because their policies and regulations could not be verified.

“The researchers have provided Congress with authoritative documentation to substantiate the compelling need for trapping legislation, such as the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act and the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act,” said Liss. “This need is ever more apparent as the United States becomes increasingly associated with a dwindling number of countries that sanction the horrific animal suffering caused by these barbaric traps.”

The report, “Laws on Leghold Traps Around the World,” can be accessed at http://www.loc.gov/law/help/leg-hold-traps/index.php.

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Amey Owen, amey@awionline.org, (202) 446-2128