California is known for its beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife, yet for many who live here it is impossible to have one without the other. As a result, there is a high demand for the work of wildlife trappers, especially as neighborhoods expand further into territories inhabited by wild animals.
Yet some of the methods used by these trappers are controversial and inhumane, sometimes resulting in the severe injury or death of a captured animal. And though the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has regulations in place to monitor trapping methods, Assemblymember Das Williams is taking steps to ensure even greater protections.
Late last month, Williams announced the proposal of Assembly Bill 789 that would regulate “certain practices used by the nuisance wildlife trapping industry in an effort to protect California wildlife from egregious cruelty.” The bill aims to ban certain euthanizing methods as well as place stricter limits on the use of Conibear traps and other devices meant to kill.
Current regulations prohibit the use of traps with “saw-toothed or spiked jaws.” The rules — as listed in Section 4004 of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Trapping Provisions — also mandate that people maintain and label set traps and remove them at least once a day. Regulations note that “a trapper must either euthanize a trapped animal or release it immediately on site,” giving them few options for how to handle captured wildlife. Because of this, some have have turned to “the most heinous methods of animal killing, such as drowning, chest crushing, and injection with toxic chemicals such as nail polish remover,” said Williams. The bill would make such techniques illegal, he explained.
“These defenseless animals cannot speak for themselves, so it is incumbent upon us as compassionate people to speak for them,” he said in a prepared statement. “We must as a society take great care to protect our animals and avoid the cruel and inhumane killing of our wildlife.” In support of this bill, Monica Engelbretson of Born Free USA noted that “each year thousands of animals suffer and die needlessly at the hands of wildlife trappers. … Our organization has worked for many years to address this issue, and we are grateful to Assemblyman Williams for introducing this bill.”