Born Free USA Commends Introduction of New Bill that would Prohibit Government Officials from Using Body-Gripping Traps and Would Ban Trapping on USDA and DOI Public Land


Third bill this month involving animal traps

Born Free USA announced its support for the introduction of the Limiting Inhumane Federal Trapping (LIFT) Act (H.R. 1727) in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). This bill would not only prohibit all officials and contractors of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using leghold traps, Conibear traps, and snares in the line of duty, but would also ban the use or possession of such traps on all land managed by the DOI or USDA. The bill includes limited exceptions, including for endangered species protection and invasive species control, but requires non-lethal management methods to be used and documented first.

The reintroduction of this bill comes within the same month as the reintroduction of the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (H.R. 1438, introduced March 8) and the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act (H.R. 1629, introduced March 20).

According to Jennifer Place, Program Associate for Born Free USA, “Steel-jaw leghold traps, snares, and Conibear traps are exceedingly cruel and dangerously indiscriminate. They have no place on land set aside to preserve our wildlife and vast expanses of wilderness. They also have no place in the wildlife management toolbox. These devices are archaic, brutal, and ineffective. While they kill tens of thousands of animals, they do not solve the underlying human/wildlife conflict, and instead frequently exacerbate that conflict. It is time to eliminate the use of these traps on federal lands and by federal employees.”

“In Oregon and across the country, pets and wild animals fall victim to the indiscriminate cruelty of inhumane body-gripping traps,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “I am reintroducing the LIFT Act to require federal agencies to prioritize use of humane methods, and to stop the use of cruel traps on public lands, including by USDA’s Wildlife Services.”

The LIFT Act would prevent USDA Wildlife Services from using any injurious or lethal trap in the line of duty. Wildlife Services routinely kills two million to five million animals annually in the name of “wildlife management.” In 2016, the agency reported killing approximately 2.7 million animals, more than 50,000 of whom first suffered in a crushing or suffocating trap.

This vital bill would also ban the use of these traps on the nearly 700 million acres of federal public land managed by the DOI and USDA. Overseeing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Park Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Department of the Interior manages more than 500 million acres, or approximately one-fifth of all U.S. land, and 75% of all federal public land. The other 25% of federal public land is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and equates to approximately 193 million acres.

“We thank Congressman Blumenauer for his leadership and urge the swift passage of H.R. 1727 to ensure that federal tax dollars are not being used to inhumanely trap wild animals, and that all of our public spaces are safe for people, their pets, and wildlife,” Place adds.

Born Free USA is a global 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 America the message of “compassionate conservation”: the vision of the U.K.-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. 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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