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For Immediate Release: 10/04/11

Pennsylvania Game Commission Ignores Urgent Call from Born Free USA for Action to Protect Wildlife

The Pennsylvania Game Commission, the state’s wildlife management agency, made a unanimous decision in Harrisburg Oct. 4 to disregard a petition brought forth by Born Free USA, a national leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, to amend Pennsylvania’s furbearer trapping regulations.

Born Free USA is pushing for action in direct response to the findings of its landmark undercover trapping investigation conducted in Pennsylvania. The shocking information, released in March 2011, shed light on barbaric, often illegal trapping methods that would be deemed as felony cruelty offenses in 47 states if perpetrated upon a cat or dog.

Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, said, “The commission’s decision to disregard our petition for common-sense regulatory change is disappointing on many levels. It denies concerns of Pennsylvania citizens who continue to express outcry after viewing our investigation and who hold an undeniable right to promote the conservation and protection of their state’s furbearing animals. It also disregards the agency’s duty to enforce existent regulations, and it calls into question the willingness of the commission to adequately address a highly inhumane and dangerous practice that has existed unchanged for hundreds of years.”

The petition asks the commission to prohibit the use of body-gripping and Conibear traps on public land, and to prohibit the use of cable restraints (“snares”) altogether. It also asks that Pennsylvania trappers employ an efficient and less-cruel method of killing trapped animals such as that already required by the state’s licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators; report the number and type of non-targeted animals caught by traps (often cats and dogs); and check their traps at least once every 24 hours.

Born Free USA receives hundreds of calls from families who have seen animals (including their own pets) suffer in the jaws of a trap, and keeps a database of such reported instances at www.bornfreeusa.org/database. “Given the documented violations of trapping regulations and cruelty, our request to the commission was reasonable and should have been granted,” Roberts added.

Born Free USA’s Pennsylvania trapping investigation captured video footage that revealed 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. Find our report at www.bornfreeusa.org/victimsofvanity.

Born Free USA (BFUSA) is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, BFUSA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and destructive international wildlife trade. BFUSA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos and private possession. BFUSA brings to America 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, now CEO of both organizations. BFUSA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

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

Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, (203) 270-8929; rodicompany@earthlink.net.

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