What “humane trap” standards share with military intelligence

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1994:

The International Standards
Organization technical panel appointed to
define the “humane” trapping standards that
must be met by nations exporting furs into the
European Community met in Ottawa in mid-
February to ratify proposals that World
Society for the Protection of Animals cam-
paigns director Wim de Kok fears “will possi-
bly circumvent the hardfought regulation that
prohibits the use of the leghold trap in the EC
and the import of fur from countries that do
not have such a ban. Under the new General
Agreement on Trade and Tariffs,” de Kok
continued, “the ISO is the regulating body on
standardization. Many countries may be
forced to accept low animal welfare standards
or to allow the import of fur from countries
that do not ban leghold traps. Under the ISO
standards, traps which drown their victims
would be considered humane,” although no
major veterinary organization or humane
group considers drowning a humane method
of either euthanizing or slaughtering animals.

Further, de Kok charged, “Stress
on trapped animals will not be considered in
the assessment of suffering. A trap that takes
three minutes to kill would be allowed. This
is strikingly different than laws applied to
other animals. The ISO has made cruelty the
Agreed the Nordic Animal Welfare
Council, representing humane groups in three
of the nations with representatives on the ISO
panel, “We find totally unacceptable that this
committee intends to classify as ‘humane’
traps that make animals undergo painful death
struggles, fracture their bones and cause
other injuries, or kill them by drowning…We
condemn the use of ‘humane’ in the title of
these standards and urge that it be removed.”
The ISO committee included repre-
sentatives from Canada, the U.S., Argentina,
Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the
United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium,
Germany, Russia, and New Zealand. Only
the United Kingdom and Belgium are not
among the world’s top fur-exporting nations.
The committee was consequently “dominated
by representatives of the fur and trapping
industries,” de Kok explained. “Veterinari-
ans and humane societies were not properly
involved, and were under-represented. In
some countries, humane societies were
actively barred from obtaining any informa-
tion relating to the ISO activities.”
The ISO panel chair, longtime
Canadian trapping apologist Neal Jotham,
warned members that the documents they
used to develop their definitions “should not
be reproduced in the media or the magazines
or newsletters etc. of individual organizations.
It is also not constructive to debate the pros
and cons of various elements of the standard
outside your national standards group.”
ANIMAL PEOPLE was nonethe-
less able to obtain many of the documents
from a variey of second-hand sources during
the few days between receipt of de Kok’s
statements and deadline. As expected, the
Canadian and U.S. delegations defended the
status quo, while the United Kingdom
Scientific and Veterinary Working Group
argued that “humane trap” is in effect an oxy-
moron. But the most telling objections to the
new standards may have come from trap
maker Calvin Kania, who sought more strin-
gent requirements in the belief that his traps
would meet them while most others wouldn’t.
Warned Kania, “Consumers will
not buy wild fur garments that have been
taken with the steel-jawed leghold trap, or
any inhumane trap. The public will not toler-
ate the continued use of the leghold trap, nor
any substandard inhumane trap that would be
classified as transitional. If the members of
this committee think that the present draft
standards will be acceptable to the public,
they are only kidding themselves.”
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