Sunday, October 28, 2012

Born Free USA’s New Website Safe Trails Educates Public on Serious Dangers of Wildlife Traps and Keeping Pets Safe

Idaho and six other states targeted for much-needed reform

Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has launched a new website at in order to educate and warn the public -- especially outdoor enthusiasts -- about the dangers of hidden wildlife traps and how to keep their pets and family members safe. 

The new Safe Trails site contains information about the dangers of traps to companion animals and what people can do in emergencies, including how to release dogs from all types of traps
The site also highlights regulatory safeguards that could go far in protecting the public, pets and wildlife from injury, and focuses on seven of the worst states when it comes to trapping regulations that have the greatest impact on animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and public safety: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “Each year thousands of non-targeted animals, including domestic animals and protected wildlife species, are caught in traps throughout the U.S.  We developed this site to help hikers, campers, and others enjoying the outdoors, learn about trapping and what can be done to keep everyone, including animals and children, safe from the dangers of these contraptions. The barbaric trapping industry has changed little since the 1600s.  We do not want to see another person or pet become a victim.”

While many states allow the use of body crushing traps and snares on private and public land, Idaho continues to stand out among the worst states for failing to require that traps be checked at least once daily.  In Idaho, traps need only be checked once every three days/72 hours.  Trappers also catch non-target animals including endangered species, cats, and dogs. These animals have a better chance of survival if traps are checked at least once every 24 hours.

In addition, Idaho has no size restriction on Conibear kill traps. Like other body-gripping traps, Conibears are notoriously indiscriminate and pose a hazard to non-target species. Large-sized Conibears are particularly dangerous.  Twenty states limit the size of Conibear trap on land to six inches or less or prohibit the use of Conibear traps on land all together.

Like the majority of states, Idaho trappers are not required to post any warning signage that would alert the public to stay away from set traps. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game encourages trappers to use a warning sign produced by the Idaho Trappers Association but does not require it.   

Roberts says, “A majority of people surely visit Idaho public lands to observe wildlife, hike, walk their dogs, and enjoy nature. Most people would agree that Idaho public lands should protect wildlife and wildlife habitat and provide a safe opportunity to enjoy it.  But many are unaware that traps might be present where they recreate. It is a recipe for disaster, and we hope that if this brutal industry continues to exist, that we can at least inform people, even if it means teaching them how to attempt to free their companion animal (or child) should they fall victim to a body-crushing trap. No one should ever have to face that horror.”

Wildlife traps are not only found in the deep wilderness, but also near hiking trails, in national wildlife refuges, on public and private lands where children play and dogs are walked, and even in urban areas. They are indiscriminate and can inflict serious injury – or death -- to any animal or person who is caught.  

Born Free USA works to expose and address the dangers and cruelty of trapping by educating the public; encouraging legislators and policymakers to enact stronger laws; ensuring state agencies are enforcing existing protections; and championing humane alternatives of mitigating conflicts with wildlife.   Born Free USA maintains an online database of reported incidents of non-targeted animals by state.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to the United States the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will Travers, now chief executive officer of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

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