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For Immediate Release: 12/03/13

Born Free USA and The Humane Society of the United States Endorse Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act

Bill would prohibit body-gripping traps on National Wildlife Refuges

Washington, D.C. -- Born Free USA and The Humane Society of the United States, global leaders in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, applaud U.S. Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) for re-introducing the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act (H.R. 3513), and urge the bill’s swift passage. H.R. 3513 would ban all body-gripping traps — snare, Conibear, and steel-jaw leghold — from being used or possessed on National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs). This humane legislation addresses the inherent cruelty of body-gripping traps and seeks to ensure that all NWRs are safe havens for wildlife.

"The brutality of these barbaric traps is shocking. The animals caught in them suffer an agonizing, prolonged death," said Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA. "These animals often remain trapped for days before starving or dying from exposure and massive pain. It is inexcusable to subject any animal to such a fate on lands intended for their preservation."

Trapped animals can suffer severe physical injury, psychological trauma, thirst, hypothermia, and predation. Some animals chew off their own limbs to escape, only to die days later. The suffering caused by trapping is not limited to target animals, and this bill would also address the tragic "collateral damage" that can occur. Domestic pets, endangered species, and humans often become ensnared in traps, resulting in horrific injury or death. Animals and people should have freedom to enjoy these refuges without that danger.

"National Wildlife Refuges should be places of refuge for animals and the public, and the commercial trapping of animals for their fur pelts is inconsistent with that goal," said Michael Markarian, Chief Program and Policy Officer for The Humane Society of the United States. "These traps are cruel and indiscriminate, killing or maiming any animal who steps into their path, including endangered species and family pets."

A staggering 54 percent of the refuges within the National Wildlife Refuge System allow trapping on refuge grounds. H.R. 3513 will help ensure that wild animals will not be exploited on the only lands in the U.S. set aside specifically for their protection. Born Free USA and The Humane Society of the United States urge other members of Congress to follow Representative Lowey’s lead in supporting this compassionate bill.

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 brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation" -- the vision of the U.K.-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 CEO of both organizations. Born Free’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, at Twitter twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and one Facebook facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We're there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- on the Web at humanesociety.org.

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

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