Fur trapping has changed little from when it first began back in the 1600s. Around the world millions of wild animals, including bobcats, coyotes, foxes, possums and wolves, suffer and die in traps each year. In New Zealand we kill around 1.5 million possums specifically for the fur trade.
Traps used globally include steel-jaw leghold traps, body-gripping traps, and wire neck snares. The traps are designed to catch animals in a vice-like grip rather than kill them and can cause a great deal of pain and suffering. Some animals will chew off their trapped limb to escape. Some may die from blood loss or shock and many animals will be trapped for days before the trapper returns to kill them. (Although the law in New Zealand states trappers must return within a certain amount of time, this cannot be monitored.)
Traps are indiscriminate too, catching the first animal to step on them, which may be someone’s companion dog or cat, or endangered wildlife.
A 2011 investigation by UK group Respect for Animals showed horrific cruelty inflicted by trappers – both legal and illegal. The footage shows the brutal drowning of a raccoon, the chest-crushing of a fox, and the capturing and disposal of non-target animals.
Find out more about fur trapping.