The environment committee held a public hearing today on a proposal to ban certain kinds of animal traps that are used to catch fur-bearing animals. Both trappers and the state’s environmental agency oppose the proposed ban.
For the past fifteen years animal protection groups have lobbied to get rid of what they call body-crushing traps and leg hold traps. Laura Simon of the Humane Society of the United States says they’re cruel.
“They slam onto the animal. The leg hold traps slams shut on an animal’s leg. The animal panics, experiences pain. Theyre very cruel by their very nature. Body crushing traps do just what the name implies.”
Trappers disagree. They say if used by an educated trapper both body-gripping traps, as they call them and leg hold traps are an efficient way to capture an animal. There are about 300 licensed trappers in the state. Ed Parker of the Department of Environmental Protection says trapping is a key part of managing wildlife in the state, including coyotes and beaver.
“Over abundant beaver population result in property damage, contaminated water supply wells, flooded septic systems, flooded roads. There are a number of problems and trappers provide a service to the public at no cost.”
The Environment Committee also heard testimony on a bill that would ban inhumane treatment of elephants in circuses and other shows.