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More Humane Animal Traps?

Deer, raccoons and even pet dogs have suffered and died in traps set for predators in Oregon, and conservation and animal rights groups want that to change. According to Brooks Fahy, the executive director of Eugene-based Predator Defense, “Oregon is behind other states on a lot of issues, and the current regulations on trapping show very little concern for the non-consumptive use of wildlife.” 

The laws governing the placement and usage of wildlife traps in Oregon lag behind other Western states and need to be changed, according to a petition to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission from the Humane Society of the United States, Predator Defense, the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society of Portland and Eugene’s Cascadia Wildlands. 

The petition was inspired by recent incidents including traps set at OSU’s sheep farm that caught a fawn, a raccoon and family pets. And the petitioners say that according to information from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in the past two and a half months at least six dogs were caught in traps and snares in central Oregon. One Oregon family’s dog died after being caught in a Conibear trap set by the USDA’s Wildlife Services, Fahy says.

According to the petition, the goals of the proposed changes are to “help protect members of the public who recreate on public lands,” and to “reduce unnecessary animal suffering and the trapping of non-target wildlife.” The traps are set to catch and kill predators.

The proposed amendments to Oregon’s trapping laws require that all traps be checked at least every 24 hours — as it stands now, traps are permitted to go un-inspected for anywhere between 48 hours and 30 days, depending on the target species, leaving animals to suffer and die. Furthermore, trappers would have to attach tags to their traps with their names and telephone numbers and refrain from setting them anywhere on public land that is within 100 feet of trails and other public recreation areas. Trappers would be required to post clearly visible warning signs within a five-foot radius of their traps and snares on public lands.

Fahy says, “This petition only getting to the tip of the iceberg of inhumane hunting and trapping, but we are part of a movement that is going in the right direction.”