Bill Seeks to Ban Interstate Commerce in Cruel Traps

A horrific incident just outside her district, in which a young boy was seriously injured by a Conibear trap, motivated Representative Alma Adams (D-NC) to join Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) in introducing the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act (HR 5560) to prohibit interstate commerce in steel-jaw leghold and Conibear traps—barbaric body-gripping devices that are inherently indiscriminate. These traps injure not only wildlife species targeted by trappers for their fur, but also companion animals, endangered and threatened species, countless other animals (from raptors to ungulates), and even people. When triggered, the jaws of these traps slam shut with bone-crushing force. Victims can endure excruciating pain and extensive trauma.

Several states restrict or ban such devices. Over 80 countries have banned steel-jaw leghold traps. By prohibiting interstate trade in steel-jaw leghold and Conibear traps, HR 5560 would facilitate a phase-out of these two devices, thus making people, wildlife, and pets safer. Moreover, this bill would help fulfill a commitment the United States made in a 1997 bilateral agreement with the European Union regarding humane trapping standards, which called for phasing out of steel-jaw leghold traps.