Trap policy needs change

Family pets are being killed in traps across British Columbia every year, but the government continues to ignore pleas for policy changes.

We at The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals (The Fur-Bearers) learned through briefing notes for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests that policymakers are aware that “since 2003 there have been over 85 reports of pets being caught in traps (approximately eight pets per year).”

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The note dated Aug. 12, 2013, also states the actual number is believed to be much higher.

Municipalities, recreational land users and taxpayers across British Columbia have asked for changes that can prevent the clear danger presented to family pets by legal traps. But since 2011, when these requests were formally launched by communities such as Sechelt, Surrey, Nanaimo and White Rock through bylaws and letters, the ministry has evaded and redirected any measurable changes.

Municipalities have attempted to outright prohibit the use of body-gripping traps in their communities, but the ministry has blocked them by stating provincial consent is required for such a bylaw, then never providing said consent. We have in the past requested required signage of traps in areas, identification tags (privately held by the ministry) on traps and greater setbacks for traps in multiuse areas including trails.

Every day more pets are at risk of excruciating pain and potential death in legal leg-hold or body-gripping traps, and the minister has done nothing to protect the families who elected him. Economically, ethically and ecologically, the priorities should be clear: there are approximately 70,000 trappers across all of Canada compared to hundreds of thousands of pet owners in British Columbia alone, all of whom contribute to the multi-billion dollar pet industry.

Since 2011, the minister has refused meetings with myself and our organization and has not given permission to any municipalities to control trapping activities; there remains no financial or legal recourse for family’s whose pets are injured or killed in traps.

It is time for the government to listen to the people who have the power to remove them from office.

Lesley Fox,
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals

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