October 21, 2017

STATE NEWS: 14 States Earn 'F' Grade for Animal Trapping Regulations

After looking at animal trapping regulations throughout the country, an animal advocacy group found that while a few states received high grades, 14 states received failing marks.
By Kerry Lengyel
Born Free USA, a national animal advocacy nonprofit organization, released its 2017 Trapping Report earlier this fall. The report ranks the effectiveness of each of the 50 state’s animal trapping regulations on animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and public safety.

The types of animal traps that are legal to use is regulated through individual states but, according to Born Free, many state laws fall short.

To create this year’s report card, Born Free looked at each state’s trapping laws based on 4 categories: trap types and killing, trapper requirements, trap check times, and species restrictions.

Only 2 states (California and Hawaii) received an “A+” grade, 1 state (Colorado) received an “A-“ grade, 1 state (Washington) received an “A” grade, and the following 14 states failed, receiving an “F” grade:
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

Among these 14 failing states, 1 state stood out for what Born Free called an “epic fail.” Iowa has no prohibited animal traps, no restrictions against how trapped animals can be killed, no trapper education requirement, and no restriction on the number of traps, to name a few of the reasons for its failing marks.

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In defense, Iowa Trappers Association President Craig Sweet said the state’s rules do require traps to be checked every 24 hours. “The report says that animals are starving, dehydrated, bleeding to death. That's just untrue,” he said. “With the trap laws that we have, the animals are in there less than 6 to 8 hours.”

The superstars of the trapping report received their high grades for their strict and well-enforced trapping regulations. Hawaii proved to be the best of the best due to its rule against commercial or recreational trapping on public land.

California governs the ways in which trapped animals can be killed; it’s one of few states that have such regulations. Trapped animals in California can’t be drowned intentionally, injected with chemicals not sold for euthanizing animals, or killed by chest crushing.

Born Free hopes its report can be used to guide individuals and organizations to better protect animals from inhumane traps and bring an end to the fur trade. “States that received lower marks can find inspiration in what their neighbors have achieved and use this report to guide their next steps,” the reports states.

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