The Weekly Beaver
Leg Traps; Are They Doing More Harm Than Good?
Leg traps have been controversial for a long time. The way they work is when the animal triggers it, it traps their leg or foot leaving the animal to sit in pain for hours or days or to break teeth and bones in order to gnaw off their leg or foot. They are left unprotected from the elements, unable to eat, and are easy targets for predators.
Why would hunters use these traps?
Trappers say that leg traps are selective but the truth is that they are not. Aquatic traps that are under water are made to drown non-aquatic animals, but for some animals it can take 20 minutes to drown. Leg or foot traps will trap any animal or human that sets it off, even if it is not the trapper's intended target. Sometimes young children or babies get caught in these traps and the strong metal jaws can seriously injure the child.
Are Leg Traps Legal?
Leg traps are inhumane, excruciating, and unfair for all animals that are unlucky enough to get trapped in them. They sit in panic and pain awaiting an animal to come along and kill them, die of starvation, or for someone to come and club, choke, or stomp them to death because they don't shoot them in order to preserve the pelt. Why are these horrible traps legal, well in Washington, Massachusetts, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey they are not.
Are There Better Options?
One alternative could be live or box traps. Usually these traps are intended to trap an animal in order to release an animal unscathed, but they could be used to trap animals and in the time that they are waiting to be found they are not in pain. Of course they will be sitting awaiting their death but it would be harder for animals to prey on them and they will not be able to escape. If a trapper catches the wrong the animal then they can simply let it go and the animal will be fine. Also they will not harm children. Another alternative that is not as expensive as box traps could be snares. Snares are not great but they are better than leg traps. The animals will be killed quicker and will not have to suffer as much. Of course you run the risk of another animal getting caught in the trap that you did not intend or an animal could come and eat the trapped animal.
Leg traps are inhumane and unfair for all animals. They are unsafe for humans as well. There are far more cons than pros. Leg traps are the product of an era long passed. In this age and time we have devices that can let you see and speak to someone miles away, we have vaccines for polio but we can't let go of a trap that makes animals suffer in agony for days on end being forced to chew off their own limbs. Can you imagine that, if you had to chew off your own foot to escape death? It is almost savage. We like to think of our species as developed and humane but something as cruel as this, it makes you think, are we really? Can we really call ourselves fair and civilized? I don't know.