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Steel-Jaw Traps Are Alive and Mutilating

Written by PETA | March 10, 2011

If you think cruel steel-jaw traps used to snare animals are a thing of the past, think again. Animal protection group Born Free USA just released the results of its undercover investigation of professional and recreational wildlife trapping in the U.S. The horrific video footage shows how animals trapped for their fur suffer, sometimes for days, before dying.

A bobcat is caught in a leghold trap in New Mexico.
© Born Free USA / Respect for Animals


The trapper kills the red fox by crushing the fox’s chest and lungs with his foot in Pennsylvania in January 2011. The fox is restrained by a catch pole. © Born Free USA / Respect for Animals


Collateral damage: A non-targeted skunk’s front leg is caught in a leghold trap in New Mexico.
© Born Free USA / Respect for Animals

The widely used steel-jaw traps crush animals’ limbs and are so painful that animals sometimes mutilate their own bodies in an attempt to free themselves. Another trap, the Conibear, crushes animals’ necks and chests, taking three to eight minutes to suffocate them. Animals caught in traps that are set underwater take up to nine agonizing minutes to drown. And the target animals aren’t the only ones who get caught in these traps. Born Free USA estimates that one in three victims are other animals, including many homeless or lost dogs and cats.

Born Free’s executive vice president, Adam Roberts, says, “Commercial fur trapping dates back to the 1600s and has hardly changed. It remains barbaric and most people are not even aware that this is going on in most of the U.S.” Even though more than 80 countries and some U.S. states have banned steel-jaw traps, they are still legal in most of the country. What are we waiting for?

The only way not to support the fur-trapping industry is to refuse to buy any item containing fur. Please sign PETA’s Pledge to Be Fur-Free today. And if you’ve ever even considered wearing animal fur, this video is for you.

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • sharon says:

    Why all animals can’t have their own living rights? Why must to be torture before they die? PLease stop this tradegy.

  • Jane Murphy says:

    How can people sleep at night after hurting / killing a poor defenseless animal? I would love to see one of them caught in their own trap. That would be poetic justice.

  • Amanda Mansfield says:

    This world has shown how barbaric the human race really is not only do they trap animals and break their legs they put them through unbearable pain doing this. They also skin them alive it’s heart breaking, I’ve never seen any thing so cruel, no wonder we have earth quakes and hurricanes, I’m glad because this is mother nature starting to get her own back on the discussing human race will this cruelty never stop this is 2011 WAKE UP.

  • emily stevenson says:

    there never seems to be an end to the utter cruelty that the human race can inflict. it makes me so disappointed in people. i always shout and roar about these sick, twisted individuals, but iv reached a point where i feel so defeated. it seems that no matter how many mistreated, neglected rescue animals i care for and re-home, no matter how much volunteer work i do, petitions i sign, campaigning i aid, its just an uphill battle. im so sad for the wonderful creatures in this world. x

  • Tamara says:

    who can we contact to urge them to end this?

  • Shawna says:

    People make me sick. I wish there was some way we could get back at these cruel tormentors, get them to feel just a fraction of what they inflict on innocent creatures. I’m ashamed of my own race.

  • gazmedic says:

    And we’re supposed to be a civilisation?? None of these animals are this barbaric!

  • Jen says:

    I hope they have a special kind of hell for that sick pig that is killing that fox and for the people that set these traps!!!!!!

  • Linda says:

    Never ending cruelty. It will never stop..

  • Rick says:


  • kath says:

    can’t bring myself to watch the video, just seeing the pics tore my heart out! that beautiful fox. and i used to take care of a bobcat when i took care of a small collection of exotics. just too sickening….

  • BELLE says:


  • Claudia says:

    I HATE PEOPLE !!!! poor animals :(:(

  • bri bri says:

    What is wrong with society today they are living breathing creatures just like us! Those people doing that deserve to be in a trap and see how they like it! Call it murder when its people right?!? Yeah well its the same dam thing your taking somethings life animals have families to so all the people and mostly men should stick there dick in a leg hold trap and sit there for as long as the animal next to him that he caught! Bastards go to hell!!!!!!!!

  • vonnie says:

    may i just add that satistically these inhumane predators who have no reservation in killing or maiming other animal’s go onto kill humans. These scum need to be stopped. Being a member of ALF i totally support your actions and reward your efforts to make people aware of the situation we are facing in regard to cruelty and disregard.

  • Becky says:

    so hard to see these. Look at their frightened eyes..the poor fox I can’t fathom how someone can brush it like it is nothing! We have many coyotes in our area and they are more afraid of me then I am of them! they run the other direction when they see me so why! so I have such a hard to understand this cruelty!

  • heather says:

    The devil’s most junior apprentices cut their teeth on animal cruelty.

  • Joanna ostolaza says:

    Merecen castigos ejemplares,como la pena de muerte a los cazadores y los beneficiados de esta primitiva y atroz practica.

  • Tania Eades says:

    For these so called human beings, who are the worst species on the planet, to rot in the very depths of hell would be too kind. Just to think that these monster’s causing so much pain to innocent creatures, is someones’s son, brother, father or husband!

  • Michele says:

    Trappers are cowards!!! Stop this madness already!!!

  • Jen says:

    Really makes me sick…nothing should have to get put through this ever, except maybe those who set the traps to begin with!!!

  • Julie says:

    Trapping should be outlawed. What those animals go through is horrible. One of my cat that I adopted was caught in one of these traps and had to have her leg amputated. Thankfully someone had found her and brought her to the humane society. That was over 5 years ago. Now she is a happy 3 legged kitty and I hope she does not have any memories of that horrible experience.

  • Heather says:

    outraged with this, I am just totally at a loss as to why some “humans” are like this. It needs to stop, what can we do, what can I do?

  • the truth says:

    It’s so sad to mislead innocent people who know nothing about trapping. In all states it is ILLEGAL to not check your traps at least once every 24 hours. Ethical trappers check theirs no less than twice a day. most trappers dispatch their animals with one quick and painless blow to the head- killing instantaneously. Muscle spasms occur immediately after because there is no brain activity to tell the muscles what to do, to the untrained individual it appears to indicate life and feelings which is not the case. If one knows that a trapper is not checking the trap line daily they should call the authorities. DO NOT TRY TO FREE THE WILD ANIMAL! this can get you a set of rabies shots when you cannot find the animal after it has scratched or bit you. The second reason you do not try to release it is because it is a crime for you to mess with someone else’s trap. You will go to prison. Also, do not equate non jawed leghold traps with jawed ones (illegal in most states). Contrary to most beliefs- NO animal will chew off their leg to get out of a trap. If you find a trap with a leg piece in it, it means that a coyote,lion or other predator found it and ate it.

  • Sue says:

    what are we still living in the 1800s?????why are people..mostly dam bloodthirsty???

  • Jessica says:

    Whoever is there taking the pictures? What are you doing? Why don’t you help the animals instead of just taping them for ten minutes as they suffocate?

  • Jacquelyn Berkman says:

    Please stop this cruel and inhumane behavior towards animals!!!!!!!!!!

  • Diane LoBono says:

    heartbreaking for these animals, criminals get better treatment!!! sick!

  • Jane Cleveland says:

    Come judgement day I hope they burn in hell for all eternity!!!

  • Berit Hagen says:

    Please stop this. Please. Is there a petition to sign? Spred it at facebook, pleace, so I can sign and invite my friends to sign…

  • Kim O'Kieffe says:

    This is beyond barbaric! What more can I say?

  • lena says:

    stop these steel jam trap!

  • K.G.Stikkelorum says:

    Just an utter tragedy all around. And for what? Senseless, vicious, and appalling, what else can I say? I gotta say, sometimes it makes me ashamed to be a part of the human race, knowing that there are some out there that would participate in this sort of behavior and seemingly have no qualms about it. I just don’t know about humanity anymore…

  • steel jaw traps says:

    I just watched some of the video on trapping I cant beleive people are that evil. Made me sick to my stomach couldnt watch it all how can we stop this?? Its totally inhuman,and just plain mean.

  • Jeannette says:

    Totally disgusting, these perverted people should be punish. We must do all we can to have the laws change.

  • maureen rice says:

    God!how these animals suffer.

  • RAT KING says:


  • amy says:


  • Irene Leggett says:

    Totally and utterly disgusting. How these people can sleep at night is beyond me. They all seem to get some sort of perverted pleasure out of this wanton, barbaric and horrific treatment of the animals that have been caught. Heartless men with nothing else but big egos.

  • Mike says:

    Just an utter tragedy all around. And for what? Senseless, vicious, and appalling, what else can I say? I gotta say, sometimes it makes me ashamed to be a part of the human race, knowing that there are some out there that would participate in this sort of behavior and seemingly have no qualms about it. I just don’t know about humanity anymore…

  • Erin says:

    PLEASE stop these steel jam trap on these animals too

  • Janey says:

    To all those who want to do something here is a link by Born Free for individual action:

  • Janey says:

    How are these devices still legal? Is there any initiative or movement anywhere to have them removed on the basic grounds of the cruelty they cause? This particularly sickens me because animals suffer so horribly and no one acknowledges how backward and wrong it all these traps are. What kind of society tolerates such an abomination?

  • Betty Almand says:

    Steel jaw traps should be outlawed, and any other cruelty to animals should be outlawed as well.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Just to alert PETA, there is a catalog entitled “Sportsman’s Guide” which periodically offers these steel traps for sale. Now, the copy in the catalog will tell you that these are for “decorative purposes only” but I assure you they are functional and are used for their intended purpose.

  • lara says:

    this is disgusting full stop must be outlawed, how dare we inflict pain like this.

  • kathy says:

    Please do something to change the laws.

  • Sharon F. says:

    Put this video on trucks and drive through Beverly Hills or wherever there are clusters of people who think that it’s okay to wear fur. Oh, and instead of music, there should be a loudspeaker blaring the poor animals’ screams of agony.

  • Laurence Burris says:

    We have to stop these idiots from using these cruel traps.

  • Texas Angel says:

    Anyone know what this status is on the State of Texas concerning these awful traps? I would very much like to know if I need to contact my state representatives!