As I've been expecting for the last few months, and as if the recent news about calls for gun control legislation across the United States wasn’t enough, some members of Congress have introduced the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act. According to many of the animal rights extremist groups praising the bill’s introduction, H.R. 5560 seeks to ban import, export, and interstate commerce of animal traps. In particular, Conibear-style body-gripping traps and foothold traps.
According to Congress.gov, H.R. 5560 was introduced by North Carolina Rep Alma Adams (D-NC) and co-sponsored by New York Rep Nita Lowey (D-NY); two political representatives who, I would be willing to bet, have never handled these traps – let alone be a formidable voice to call for their removal from our wild landscape. The basic description of the bill calls “to restrict the use of steel-jaw leg-hold traps and Conibear traps on animals in the United States”.
You can always tell when someone doesn’t have any idea what they’re talking about in regards to modern fur trapping when they use the term “steel-jaw leg-hold trap”. I’m not familiar with the “leg-hold” traps these misinformed souls babble on about. The traps I use are in fact usually made of steel, but are designed to restrain an animal by the pad of their foot, rather than the bony “leg” portion of the animal; this is why they are dubbed “foothold traps”. “Steel-Jaw Leg-Hold Trap” is one of those dramatic terms that are three syllables too long and full of deceit – sort of like the term “Wildlife Protection”. I find it rather ironic that a few out-of-touch politicians (supported by an equally useless animal rights front) would describe their bill in such a way as to suggest they are “assisting wildlife”, when in fact, it is hunters and trappers who foot the bill for the majority of funding to assist our nation’s wildlife. This type of “faux-wildlife regard” is reserved for folks more suited to the concrete jungles from which they emerge; or in the case of here in New Hampshire, confused souls confined to their musty barn offices in Colebrook.
This bill, as with most anti-trapping and hunting legislation, seeks to reinvent the wheel (which is not currently in need of reinventing) and further restricts and hinders wildlife management practices, which can spell certain disaster for our current healthy wildlife populations. I’m curious to see where H.R. 5560 goes within the legislature. In the mean time, I encourage those of you on the sane and logical side of wildlife conservation to contact your state Senator and educate him or her on the benefits and importance these traps play in our modern ecosystem, and the integral role these tools play in our regulated consumptive use of our natural resources. We will continue to track the bill as information becomes available.