From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1993:

“The American Veterinary
Medical Association considers the steel-
jaw leghold trap to be inhumane,” accord-
ing to a single-sentence policy statement
issued in mid-July, culminating years of lob-
bying by George Clements of the
Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing
Animals. The AVMA had long been reluc-
tant to oppose trapping because many mem-
bers wish to avoid being associated with ani-
mal rights militancy. At that, the words
“steel-jaw” were reportedly added under
pressure from the National Trappers
Association, which feared that the statement
might otherwise be taken to include padded
leghold traps and foot snares. This could
have been devastating to the fur industry
push to get padded leghold traps, snares,

Conibear traps, and even drowning sets
using steel-jawed leghold traps certified as
“humane” by the International Standards
Association. An ISO technical committee is
drafting trapping standards which must be
met by all nations wishing to export furs to
members of the European Economic
Community after 1995. The committee is
already stacked in favor of the fur trade,
with representatives from Argentina,
Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, New
Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom,
and the U.S.––all but two of them either
major fur importing or exporting nations.
The U.S. delegation is headed by trapper
Tom Krausse.
The July 15 issue of Fur Age
Weekly boasted that Fur Harvesters Auction
trapper Mark Downey of North Bay,
Ontario, recently captured a stray dog for
animal control officer Brenda Dodds of the
North Bay District Humane Society, using a
padded leghold trap. Downey “only” caught
three raccoons and a crow by accident before
getting the dog, the item continued. Thus
even a purported expert trapper working
under supervision of a humane officer caught
non-target animals at a ratio of 4-1. (The
economic clout of trapping in North Bay is
such that the policies and practices of the
NBDHS bear little resemblance to those of
virtually all other humane societies.)
“Most non-native trappers trap
as a hobby,” New Brunswick furbearer
biologist Rod Cumberland admitted in a
recent letter to a fellow trapper. “You must
understand the mentality of the Europeans to
understand why we use the native argu-
ment…New Brunswick has definitely not for-
gotten about non-native trappers. They trap
95% of our animals. The reason you hear the
native side so much is that it is the most
effective argument to keep us all trapping.”
British Columbia now allows
trappers to use “electronic or recorded calls
for wolves, foxes, and coyotes.” Some
trappers will use store-bought calls; others
may torment rabbits and other prey species to
record their own. ( The ANIMAL PEOPLE
editor witnessed a similar technique in
Quebec, where some trappers wired kittens
to traps as live bait. One of our office cats
apparently escaped from such a trapper as a
U.S. ranched mink pelt produc-
tion fell 11% last year, the National
Agricultural Statistics Service said July 11,
to 2.89 million, sold for $71.8 million. The
cash volume was almost the same as in 1991,
after adjustment for inflation, but the aver-
age pelt price rose from $21.90 to $24.80,
reflecting a steep drop in production world-
wide rather than any real increase in demand.
Louisiana trappers skinned only
100,000 nutria in 1992, down from a high
of 3.2 million a year during the boom years
of the fur trade during the 1980s. Eager to
boost nutria trapping, the state Department
of Wildlife and Fisheries is now trying to
promote nutria-based cuisine. Since nutria
look much like pet guinea pigs, the effort
isn’t likely to go far.
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