Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) commends House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Congressional Animal Protection Caucus Co-Chair Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) for reintroducing the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act today. This bill would prohibit the possession or use of body-gripping traps—which endanger wildlife, people, and pets—within the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). It includes a limited exemption allowing federal personnel to use traps for wildlife management purposes only after they have documented a lack of success using nonlethal methods.
“We thank Chairman Nadler and Representative Blumenauer for their commitment to ending the use of cruel traps in our country’s refuges,” said AWI President Cathy Liss. “Body-gripping traps, such as strangling snares, Conibear traps, and steel-jaw leghold traps, are inhumane and indiscriminate. Public lands belong to all of us, not just the select few who wish to trap, and Americans should be able to enjoy our outdoor spaces without fear of their pets or themselves stepping into a bone-crushing device.”
“When Americans visit their local National Wildlife Refuges, most expect to view wildlife without the fear that they or their pets will fall victim to a dangerous trap,” said Nadler. “However, over half of our nation’s 568 refuges still permit trapping—putting humans, companion animals, and endangered species at risk of severe injury. It’s clear that these traps have no place on protected lands and my legislation with Rep. Blumenauer will ensure all of our refuges are free from this inhumane practice.”
“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, especially in places meant to be a refuge from animals and people alike,” said Blumenauer. “My legislation with Chairman Nadler will prohibit the use of these traps on public lands. With many effective non-lethal methods that can be used in their place, the federal government cannot continue to endorse this cruel practice.”
A national 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. However, cruel body-gripping traps are currently allowed on nearly half of the nation’s 566 refuges.
The stated mission of the NWRS is to conserve land and water for the sake of “biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health.” These spaces are intended as sanctuaries where wildlife can thrive and all Americans can enjoy the great outdoors. Allowing the use of inhumane and dangerous traps is a clear violation of the NWRS’s mission. The Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act would ensure that management of these protected lands upholds the express purpose of their preservation.
To learn more about this issue, please visit awionline.org/content/refuge-cruel-trapping-act.
Margie Fishman, (202) 446-2128, [email protected]
The Animal Welfare Institute (awionline.org) is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and other important animal protection news.