Victims of Vanity: The Cruelty of Fur Trapping in the United States
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In early 2011 Born Free USA and Respect for Animals conducted a landmark investigation inside the world of fur trapping. We uncovered for the first time in more than a decade the shocking cruelty and brutality involved in the trapping of wild animals for the fur trade:
Trapping is barbaric
Our investigation proves that despite industry claims to the contrary, leghold traps and snares cause serious injuries and extreme suffering to trapped animals. We also revealed that archaic killing methods such as suffocation, drowning and chest crushing are widely used today — methods that in fact would be considered cruelty to animals (a felony offense in some states) if inflicted intentionally upon domestic cats or dogs.
Non-targeted animals die
The investigation also demonstrates that despite years of research, there have been no significant advances in reducing "collateral damage." In other words, non-target animals still are captured in traps set for other species. No animal is safe from these diabolical devices — dogs, cats, squirrels, bears, hawks and even threatened and endangered species can become victims of vanity. (Find hundreds of examples of non-targeted animals being caught in traps and read about our Trapping Victims Fund.)
Laws often are ignored
Our investigator documented that what few trapping regulations do exist are regularly flouted by trappers: They openly use illegal snares to capture animals, they leave traps out after the close of the trapping season, and they capture animals out of season.
There's little oversight
The whole operation of trapping is built on a very weak foundation of trust, as there are no authorities present when traps are set or an animal is killed, and most states don't even require trappers to report the number of animals they kill. (Born Free USA has assigned each of the 50 states an academic letter grade for its trapping policies in our unprecedented State Trapping Report Card.)
Born Free USA is using this groundbreaking investigation to shed light on a horrific, highly unregulated, inhumane and dangerous industry. Consumers, retailers and policy makers are all equally responsible for ending this barbaric and unnecessary cruelty by refusing to buy or sell fur and by pushing for and passing stronger regulations and prohibitions on the trapping of animals for their fur.
Next: Our Findings »