March 20, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Humane Society of the United States in testimony today urged the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee to give a favorable recommendation to S.B. 822, a bill that will ban the use of cruel leghold traps and snares in the state, and to pass the bill on for a full vote in the Senate. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Gwendolyn Britt (D, 47).
"Two principles of hunting and wildlife management are the notion that there should be no commercialization of wildlife, and the importance of delivering a quick kill to the animals who are hunted," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS. "But leghold traps and snares – used to kill animals primarily for the commercial sale of their fur pelts – violate both of these principles. There is no quick kill with steel-jawed leghold traps or wire neck snares, which are left unattended and checked by the trapper only every 24 or 36 hours. The hapless animal languishes for hours and even days, with some animals twisting off or chewing off their trapped limb to escape the vise grip of the trap."
Steel-jawed leghold traps and snares are cruel and indiscriminate, catching wildlife and family pets in addition to their target fur-bearing animals.
In the United States—the world's leading supplier of fur from trapped animals—countless dogs and cats are injured and killed each year in indiscriminate steel-jawed leghold traps, Conibear traps and snares.
The exact number of American dogs and cats injured or killed in traps is unknown because most incidents likely go unreported. But dogs are caught often enough that a large trapping association recently advertised an insurance policy for its members, offering as much as $300,000 in protection from dog owners who sue after their animals are injured in traps.
Animals caught in these traps can suffer excruciating injuries in impact—and then often aggravate these injuries when struggling to free themselves.
Since trappers must only check their traps every 24 to 36 hours in Maryland, animals caught in traps can suffer for hours.
Leghold traps are already banned in five Maryland counties and snares are banned in seven.
Timeline of Maryland Trapping Legislation
March 2007 – Bills H.B. 1369 and S.B. 822 are introduced by Del. Barbara Frush (D, 21) and Sen. Gwendolyn Britt (D, 47).
May 16, 2006 – H.B. 465 banning leghold traps in Howard County (except on farm land and under water) signed into law by Governor Ehrlich.
February 23, 2005 – H.B. 372 sponsored by Del. Frush receives an unfavorable vote by the Environmental Matters committee.
2004 – H.B. 498 sponsored by Del. Frush receives unfavorable rating from House Environmental Matters Committee.
2004 – S.B. 279 sponsored by Sen. Grosfeld did not advance past committee.
2003 – H.B. 365 sponsored by Del. Frush did not advance past committee.
2003 – S.B. 272 sponsored by Sen. Grosfeld did not advance past committee.
2002 – H.B. 377 sponsored by Del. Frush did not advance past committee.
2001 – S.B. 543 sponsored by Sen. Sfikas receives unfavorable rating from Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee.