Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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7 Proposals That Could Save Animals From Cruel Traps

The traps are set near hiking trails, on public land, even in wildlife refuges.

Their purpose: to capture bobcats and other wild animals whose pelts are exported to China, Russia, Canada and other countries.

Steel-jaw traps, though, don’t simply catch animals, as a recent Reveal investigation showed. They often hurt them, sometimes severely. They also injure and kill scores of species by mistake, from mountain lions to bald eagles and family pets.

As the carnage grows, trap reform efforts are stirring in Congress, which has not held hearings on trapping in more than 30 years, and more than a half-dozen states.

“These bone-crushing devices are inherently indiscriminate and inhumane,” Collin Wolff, a New Mexico veterinarian, wrote in a letter to Congress last month. “There have been an exasperatingly large number of reports of trap-related injuries to non-target animals, including cats, dogs, and humans.”

He added: “All too commonly these injuries occur on public lands.”

Defenders say that traps are no more cruel than nature and that opposition to them is limited.

“That’s a small portion of the people,” said Larry Gogert, a trapper in Nevada. “It’s big-city people or Hollywood people. It’s not the rural people. Almost all of them say trapping is fine.”

Here’s a rundown of the current proposals and ideas that could reduce the suffering:

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