The wildlife of New Jersey needs our help now! The New Jersey Fish and Game Council (NJFGC) just decided to allow the use of inhumane leghold traps, even though they were already banned in 1984! Gov. Christie and the NJ Legislature have the power to ban them again, so we need to speak up and call on them to veto the use of leghold traps as fast as possible, since many of these animals are being trapped inhumanely for their fur right now.
The traps are designed to clamp onto an animal’s leg when it reaches in for food. Once snared, the animal suffers terrible agony until it dies from blood loss or infection, or is killed by the trapper days later. Proponents say the new leghold design is “humane” because, unlike older traps which snare birds, deer, and other animals, these ones require some degree of dexterity, so they’re limited to raccoons and opossums. Just because the traps snare fewer animals, does not mean these animals suffer less. It’s the wrong use of the word “humane.”
Since the 1984 ban, trappers have used box traps, which don’t harm the animal. But trappers argue that box traps are too cumbersome and uncomfortable. Imagine how uncomfortable it is to be ensnared in steel jaws for days on end. Leghold traps have the clamping force to break bones and, historically, animals have been known to chew off their limbs to attempt escape.
The Humane Society spent nearly 20 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars convincing the NJ Legislature to ban the cruel traps in 1984. State officials acknowledged then that they were inhumane, but they now seem to have forgotten.
These traps are just as barbaric as they were three decades ago. The NJFGC’s decision spits in the face of progress, and if we don’t make some noise, they will get away with it. Please join me in asking Gov. Christie and the NJ Legislature to overrule NJFGC’s wrongheaded decision and protect NJ’s wildlife from needless suffering.