Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 8, 2016

Contact:  Amy Atwood, (503) 504-5660,

Bill Banning Body-gripping Wildlife Traps Introduced in Congress

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced a bill today to ban the use of body-gripping traps by Wildlife Services, the highly-controversial arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If passed, the bill would ban leg and foothold traps, Conibear and snare traps.

The Limiting Inhumane Federal Trapping (LIFT) for Public Safety Act would forbid Wildlife Services from using the traps, which are known to cause suffering to trapped animals. Wildlife Services routinely uses such traps to eradicate wildlife considered undesirable to agribusinesses, particularly livestock ranchers. The bill also bans the use of such traps on national forests, wildlife refuges, and other federal public lands managed by the U.S. Agriculture and Interior departments. The bill includes limited exceptions for invasive species control and protection of endangered species.

“The Center fully supports this long-overdue ban on these cruel, inhumane killing methods,” said Amy Atwood, endangered species legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These unforgiving traps have no place in American society, and this law will ensure that no more animals have to die an excruciating death on the taxpayer’s dime.”

Wildlife Services has come under increasing pressure to reform by scientists, members of Congress, wildlife-friendly livestock ranchers and conservation and animal welfare organizations, due to multiple incidents involving the use of body-gripping traps that have harmed people or their pets and have resulted in the trapping of non-target wildlife. At the behest of the livestock industry, the traps are typically used to target animals like wolves, coyotes, bears and mountain lions despite the fact that research has shown such species are critical to healthy ecosystem function and that eradicating them to protect livestock is ineffective.

Wildlife Services killed 3.2 million animals just last year, including 68,905 coyotes, 480 black bears, 385 gray wolves, 284 mountain lions, 731 bobcats, 492 river otters, 3,437  foxes, 21,559 beavers and 20,777 prairie dogs.

“This bill will help stop this unnecessary killing and trigger broader use of non-lethal methods that emphasize coexistence with wildlife, not persecution,” Atwood said.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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