The federal government established the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1903 to protect countless animals in refuges across the U.S. Yet in nearly half of the 568 refuges, public trapping—usually for nothing more than a trophy—is allowed. Vile body-gripping traps like strangling snares and Conibear traps and even steel-jaw leghold traps, banned in more than 100 countries and in multiple U.S. states, are used. Terrified victims ensnared in these traps frequently aren’t killed outright and instead spend hours or even days suffering as they frantically try to escape. Animals even attempt to chew their own limbs off in a bid for freedom, until they finally succumb to exhaustion, exposure, frostbite, or shock or are shot and killed. And wildlife aren’t the only victims. Every year, millions of people and their animal companions visit public national refuges, and indiscriminate traps put them all in danger.
Thankfully, legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act of 2021, HR 4716, which would ban the recreational and commercial use of body-gripping traps on these protected public lands. (Trapping would remain legal for federal agencies in controlling an invasive species or protecting endangered animals, but only if nonlethal means had already proved ineffective.) However, we need your help to ensure that this important legislation advances. Locate (please click here) and urge your U.S. representative to sign on as a cosponsor of HR 4716.