Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ban use of leg-hold traps

Tom Pomeroy's letter (Nov. 18) vividly described the suffering experienced by an animal caught in a steel leg-hold trap. But that suffering is not limited to accidentally snared pets—leg-hold traps treat their intended wild victims just as viciously. Since Idaho law requires trappers to check their traps only once every 72 hours, any animal caught might endure that suffering for days before the trapper arrives to club it or stomp it to death. A study in a national wildlife refuge in Alabama over a four-year period found that about a quarter of trapped animals chewed off their own limbs to escape from the traps.

Due to their nonselectivity, leg-hold traps are not only cruel but wasteful. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that in one coyote-trapping campaign, only 138 of 1,199 animals trapped were actually coyotes. The others included golden eagles, antelope and small animals and birds.

And all this suffering for what? Simply to provide fur trim to the fashion industry. Faux fur can do the job just as well.

According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, about 20,000 animals are caught annually in leg-hold traps throughout the state. That is a magnitude of suffering that should be stopped. Recreational use of leg-hold traps should be banned.

Isabelle Moore

Sun Valley

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