This week is National Wildlife Refuge Week, a time to celebrate these wild and beautiful public lands. The stated mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) is to conserve land and water for the sake of “biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health.” These spaces are intended as sanctuaries where wildlife can thrive and all Americans can enjoy our great outdoors. Shockingly, however, more than half of all refuges allow the use of inhumane and dangerous traps. This is a clear violation of the NWRS’ mission and is a threat to the safety of wildlife, humans, and pets.
The Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, sponsored by Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) in the House and just reintroduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate, would prohibit the possession or use of body-gripping traps within the NWRS. This bill would ensure that management of these protected lands aligns with the intent behind their preservation.
Body-gripping traps—such as snares, Conibear traps, and steel-jaw leghold traps—are inhumane and inherently nonselective, meaning they indiscriminately injure and kill nontarget animals, including endangered and threatened species and even pets. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, nontarget species trapped on refuges include river otters, rabbits, domestic dogs and cats, and birds.
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What You Can Do:
In honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week, please ask your representative and senators to cosponsor the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act!
Be sure to share our Dear Humanitarian alert with family, friends, and co-workers and encourage them to email, too. Thank you for taking action on behalf of wildlife!