Purpose: This bill would ban the interstate commerce and transport of leghold traps as well as fur derived from animals caught using these devices.
Status: Referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
Action: SUPPORT. Please contact your Congressperson and urge him/her to support H.R. 1691. Tell your Representative that leghold traps — including "padded" leghold traps — are cruel and antiquated devices that can cause tremendous pain and suffering to animals. Leghold traps are inherently indiscriminate and will trap any unsuspecting animal that steps foot into the trap jaws, including companion animals, threatened and endangered species, and birds. More than 85 countries have banned leghold traps and eight states have either banned or restricted them. It's time the U.S. joins the rest of the civilized world by banning the leghold trap.
Talking Points for your letter:
- H.R. 1691 is legislation designed to end the needless maiming and suffering inflicted on animals through the use of leghold traps. H.R. 1691 would bar the import, export, and shipment in interstate commerce of conventional steel-jawed traps; in addition, articles of fur derived from animals that were trapped in such devices also would be banned.
- The leghold trap is designed to catch an animal by the foot or leg when the animal steps onto a pan-tension device that triggers the jaws to slam shut onto the animal's body. Most animals react to the instant pain by frantically pulling against the trap in a desperate attempt to free themselves, enduring fractures, ripped tendons, edema, blood loss, amputations, tooth and mouth damage (from chewing and biting at the trap), and predation by other animals. Some animals will even chew or twist their limbs off to free themselves, so common that trappers have termed this occurrence as "wring-off," which for them means the loss of a marketable pelt. To the animal left crippled on three legs, "wring-off" means certain death from starvation, gangrene, or attack from other predators.
- On land, leghold traps are set for coyote, bobcat, fox, raccoon, skunk, and other furbearing animals. Aquatic leghold traps are most often set for muskrat, otter, mink, and beaver. However, leghold traps are inherently indiscriminate and will trap any unsuspecting animal that steps foot into the trap jaws, including companion animals, threatened and endangered species, and even humans.
- There also is a clear mandate from the American populace regarding leghold traps. Polling data indicate that a solid majority of Americans opposes the use of leghold traps. And only the tiniest minority of Americans even engages in trapping. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, today less than 1% of Americans traps animals for fur. Trapping license sales have dropped dramatically during the last 2 decades, with less than 150,000 licenses sold nationwide last year. The time has come to enact legislation consistent with America's views on this matter.
- More than 85 countries have banned leghold traps and eight states have either banned or restricted them. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the National Animal Control Association, and the World Veterinary Organization all have declared leghold traps to be "inhumane." It's time the U.S. joins the rest of the civilized world by banning the leghold trap.