Safe Trails
Danger: Trapping Ahead

Does trapping control wildlife disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the World Health Organization, as well as numerous other scientific, public health and veterinary organizations, there is no scientific evidence that trapping controls the spread of disease such as rabies. In 1973, the NAS subcommittee on rabies concluded:

"Persistent trapping or poisoning campaigns as a means to rabies control should be abolished. There is no evidence that these costly and politically attractive programs reduce either wildlife reservoirs or rabies incidence. The money can be better spent on research, vaccination, compensation to stockmen for losses, and education and warning systems."

In fact, researchers have discovered that trapping may actually exacerbate the spread of disease. By removing mature, immune animals, trappers reduce competition for habitat and make room for newcomers who may not be immune or may even be carriers of disease.

In addition, animals infected with rabies do not eat in the latter stages of the disease and thus do not respond to baited traps. Hence, traps set will more often capture healthy animals rather than infected animals.

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