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For Immediate Release: 07/27/11

Congresswoman Takes Action to End use of Body-Gripping Traps in National Wildlife Refuge System

Born Free USA, Leader in Wildlife Conservation, Applauds Legislation to Ban Traps that Kill Wildlife and Put Non-Targeted Animals and Humans at Risk

Born Free USA, a national leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, congratulates Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) for introducing legislation to ban the use of body-gripping traps within federally protected wildlife refuges.

H.R. 2657, the 2011 Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, aims to restore the original intent of the National Wildlife Refuge System to create havens for wildlife that are safe and free from unnatural intrusion. The bill would also protect people and domestic companion animals incidentally caught by the brutal traps.

“The use of steel jaw leg-hold traps and other barbaric mechanisms has no place in national wildlife refuges or other public lands,” Lowey said. “Body-gripping traps are cruel and inhumane, and it is time to end this brutal practice once and for all.”

Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, said, “As highlighted by Born Free USA’s 2011 trapping investigation and our database of non-targeted incidents, trapping is a highly unregulated, inhumane and dangerous practice that dates back to the early 1600s and has hardly changed since. It remains barbaric and many people are not even aware that this is going on in our national refuges.”

The groundbreaking undercover investigation inside the world of recreational and professional wildlife trapping is the first known undercover investigation of trapping in the United States. Born Free’s investigation reveals shocking cruelty and brutality including: the prolonged drowning of a raccoon by a trapper with a stick, the chest-crushing suffocating of foxes, the capture and killing of non-targeted animals such as a domestic cat, and the use of illegal snare traps.

More than half of the nation’s refuge lands currently allow the use of body-gripping traps, causing torture to countless animals struggling to free themselves of immense pain and suffering once caught. Aside from the severe injuries they cause, these traps are not species-specific and pose serious hazards to non-targeted wildlife, including threatened and endangered species and companion animals such as family cats and dogs. Born Free USA estimates that Conibear traps capture two non-targeted animals for every one target animal captured.

The bill is a strong step forward toward meeting the expectations of the majority of citizens who, upon visiting national wildlife refuges, anticipate viewing wildlife in abundance, without the fear of stepping into a trap, or witnessing the suffering of a trapped animal.

“The National Wildlife Refuge system should carry out its stated mission — to protect wildlife and their habitat and to offer people an opportunity to enjoy nature,” Roberts said. “Trapping has no place in the American National Wildlife Refuge System. Born Free USA commends Congresswoman Lowey for introducing the 2011 Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act and for her long-time commitment to ending this barbaric practice.”

Born Free USA’s work for wildlife is generously supported by the Wendy P. McCaw Foundation.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to some 500 primates, many of whom were rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos and private possession. Born Free brings to the United States the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will Travers, now chief executive officer of both organizations.

More at www.bornfreeusa.org; on twitter at http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Media contact: Rodi Rosensweig, publicrelations@bornfreeusa.org, (203) 270-8929.

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