Traps Legal or Illegal

The sad truth is most traps used to kill, catch, and harm wildlife and other animals are still entirely legal. In some areas of the world, some countries have banned specific traps.

What’s Banned

Leg hold, aka steel jaw traps are illegal and banned in 88 contries.

Spring powered, steel jaw traps (also commonly known as leg-hold traps) are banned in 88 countries. In Europe, the use of these traps is forbidden.  Importing fur from countries that use these traps is even prohibited.

In the United States, however, only a few states have banned or restricted their use. These states include:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

To see a thorough list of counties that have banned the use of these cruel traps, please refer to this link at the Library of Congress.

Why Are They Banned

Leg-hold (steel jaw) traps are very cruel. When an unknowing animal triggers the trap, the jaws (someone have teeth, and some don’t) slams down on the animal’s leg. It breaks the bones, rips into their skin, and hold them in place.

Any animal that finds itself in such a situation will panic from shock, pain, and fear. It will naturally try to force itself out of the hold—only to fail and cause more pain and suffering.  The unfortunate thing struggles for hours—if it’s fortunate enough—before it dies; succumbing to the pain and exhaustion.

Most animals don’t die from the trap within hours. For most animals caught in these traps, it will take takes before they finally collapse and stop suffering. During these several days of excruciating pain, they also suffer from hunger, dehydration, fear, and the elements. Some will burn under the blazing sun for days. Others will drown from the rain.

For the fortunate few that are rescued in time, most will either die from the damage that was done. Others will have to be put down because it is now the most humane thing you can do for it. On rare occasions, a few would survive the ordeal. But they are all left crippled, unable to live their lives the way nature intended for them to live.

Whats Not Banned

It’s sad to say that everything else is not banned. Common traps such as ladder traps, cage traps, and even sticky traps are not forbidden. Maybe some of them don’t cause quite as much physical damage as leg-hold traps. But they’re still cruel.

What You Can Do

Unfortunately, unless you can provide proof that a legal trap is being abused to harm wildlife intentionally, or that they are being used to target protected wildlife, there isn’t much that can be done. If you catch the person or know the person using these traps you can perhaps express your concern and try to enlighten about the harm they do.

We’ll be honest with you though, most people should not be approached. They can become angry, and they are a risk to your safety. If you have any concerns, you should contact your local authorities instead.

However, should you personally know someone who is using these traps, it may be possible to strike up a conversation with them and discuss the harm done by these traps. If they’re willing to listen, you can even bring up an alternative, more humane solutions.