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March 8, 2012

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Petitioned for Stronger Trapping Regulations

Sierra Club, Cascadia Wildlands, Predator Defense

The Humane Society of the United States, Predator Defense, the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society of Portland, and Cascadia Wildlands have filed a petition before the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to protect non-target wildlife species and family pets from cruel and indiscriminate traps and snares.

Drafted in part to address the alarming frequency of non-target animals and pets being the unintended victims of traps and snares, the rules seek to implement the following modest changes to Oregon’s trapping regulations:

  1. Require all trappers to check their traps and snares every 24 hours;
  2. Require trappers to attach tags to their traps and snares with their name and telephone number;
  3. Prohibit traps and snares on public lands within 100 feet of  trails and other premises used by the public; and
  4. Require trappers to post clearly visible warning signs within a five-foot radius of their traps and snares on public lands, stating that their devices pose a danger to the safety of humans and animals.

The proposal exempts trapping of gophers, moles, mountain beavers, rats and mice on property owned by the person setting the traps.

 “The petition reflects the wishes of the majority of Oregonians who want the state’s trapping regulations brought into alignment with our values of compassion for animals and respect for public safety,” said Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior state director for The HSUS. “Unfortunately, Oregon’s trapping regulations lag far behind some of our neighboring western states in this regard. It’s high time we impose some common sense on the use of these cruel and barbaric devices.”

“It makes no sense for fewer than 800 registered trappers in Oregon to be allowed to put the public, our pets, and our wildlife at risk with their traps and snares,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense.  “These proposed changes requires them to take some modest and common-sense steps to prevent animals from suffering interminably in their traps and snares, and to protect the public and our pets from being injured or killed.”

“Our members are particularly concerned about non-target animal species being caught in traps and snares.  Being good stewards of the land means making reasonable and responsible policy choices when it comes to wildlife management,” said Brian Pasko, chapter director for the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club. “The changes proposed in this petition will reduce the numbers of non-target animal deaths throughout the state, and we hope the Commission will acknowledge that as a worthy objective.”

"For far too long, Oregon has been at the back of the pack among western states in terms of implementing responsible trap check requirements,” said Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland. “There is no acceptable reason to leave any animal suffering in a trap for days on end. It is long past time for Oregon to step-up and ensure that trapping is done in an ecologically responsible manner."

“The public should be able to enjoy the beauty and wonder of Oregon’s public lands without having to worry about hidden traps or having to see animals that have been caught and allowed to languish and die,” said Nick Cady of Cascadia Wildlands, an organization that works to protect the forest areas along the Pacific Coast from northern California to south-central Alaska. “These regulations will finally impose some sanity in the trapping regulations in this state, and we’re confident the public will strongly support them.”

FACTS:

  • Thirty-one states require that traps be checked every 24 hours.
  • Current rules in Oregon allow for a range of trap check times, from 48 hours for traps set for furbearing animals to no check requirement for black bear traps.
  • With four different trap check times – all of which are too permissive – trappers may simply claim that they were targeting predatory animals, thus subjecting all animals to the least restrictive trap check intervals and leaving them to languish and die slow deaths. 
  • According to 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 family’s dog died after being caught in a Conibear trap set by Wildlife Services, the federal agency responsible for trapping and killing millions of wild animals annually across the U.S.
  • In late February, it was disclosed that Wildlife Services had set snares and traps at Oregon State University’s sheep research facility to catch coyotes, but neighbors reported that the devices caught family pets, baby deer, raccoons, and coyotes – and that these animals had been left to suffer and die in the traps without ever being removed.
  • According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are 766 licensed trappers in Oregon and 25,000 reported deaths of wild animals each year. That number does not reflect the “non-target” animals that are unwittingly caught in the traps and discarded by trappers, nor the “target” animals that are caught and never reported. 

 

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org

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