About humane, live traps

Conibear Traps and Hancock/Bailey Traps

Using body-gripping traps without restrictions would effectively allow a return to the days of recreational trapping, something that 64% of Massachusetts' voters decried in 1996 when they voted in favor of a ballot initiative.

One of the major claims that proponents of trapping make is that conibear traps are more effective, less dangerous, and more humane than the Hancock/Bailey box and cage type traps. The MSPCA disagrees.

Claim:  Conibear Traps are Humane; Box and Cage Traps are Dangerous and Inhumane

·     conibear traps are “quick kill” traps - the animal dies instantly

·     box/cage traps are dangerous to trappers - they come with warnings to wear helmets

·     box/cage traps are dangerous to children and pets - they are big and have powerful springs

·     box/cage traps leave trapped animals exposed to the elements for long periods of time, which is inhumane

MSPCA Response

·     studies show the time to death or unconsciousness for a beaver in a conibear trap is too long to be humane -from 1 to more than 11 minutes (see MSPCA Fact sheet:  Regarding the Humaneness of the Conibear Trap for Capturing Beaver)

·     non-target animals, including family pets, are caught and killed or maimed in the conibear trap and cannot be released as they can if captured in live-traps

·     MassWildlife officials saw a sharp increase in beaver pelts taken in 2001 - 556 pelts as opposed to 98 pelts in 1998. In 1998 trappers were still boycotting the use of box and cage traps to protest the prohibition on the conibear; in 2001 the only legal trap to use for the beaver harvest was the box/cage trap, therefore they must work

·     beaver were reintroduced to Massachusetts by MassWildlife officials who live trapped them from other states and relocated them to Massachusetts

·     box and cage traps can release unintended captures of non-target species

·     box and cage traps are more highly visible to people and pets than the conibear because they are so big, making them less likely to be stumbled upon; there are no studies of which the MSPCA is familiar that indicate injuries have been caused by using this trap

·     box and cage traps are more cumbersome and expensive than the conibear; fewer trappers will use them for recreation, more will use them for their business

·     changes to the law in July 2000 allow trappers to transport animals for the purposes of euthanasia beaver can be dispatched humanely via gunshot or CO2 chamber

·     if trappers use the box and cage traps responsibly, the time in which an animal is caught in the trap should be limited, reducing stress and attempts to escape