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
- 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 bigger, 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
- 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