The Humane Society of the United States and Predator Defense Institute Commend OSU
Decision to Deactivate Snares
Animal welfare organizations jointly call for comprehensive trapping reform
(March 1, 2012)--The Humane Society of the United States, Predator Defense and Oregon
State University alumni commended the decision by the university to deactivate a
number of lethal snares set around its sheep research facility in Corvallis, Ore.
The decision comes after several days of intense criticism by citizens and animal
welfare groups outraged that the snares had caught several animals, including a coyote,
raccoon and deer fawn. The animals all died after languishing potentially for days
or weeks in the devices.
The snares were set on the university’s behalf by Wildlife Services, the Division
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for targeting huge numbers of wild
animals throughout the U.S. with traps, snares, poisons and other means of lethal
Scott Beckstead, senior state director for Oregon for The HSUS, expressed appreciation
for the university’s decision to deactivate the snares, but said the OSU case underscores
the need for comprehensive trapping reform in Oregon. “Removing those snares was
the right thing to do, and we commend Oregon State University for acknowledging the
wishes of the public,” said Beckstead. “But, as this situation so tragically shows,
snares like those used on OSU’s behalf by Wildlife Services are unacceptably cruel
and indiscriminate, and there should be a more balanced approach to solving wildlife
Larry Peetz, DVM, an OSU alumnus, expressed concern about the danger inherent in
the use of snares and traps. “Not only did these terrible devices catch animals that
posed no danger to the sheep, but Wildlife Services failed to monitor them so that
nontarget animals could be released, and any target animals humanely euthanized,”
said DR. Peetz. “No animal, be it a coyote, deer, or family pet, deserves to languish
in terrible agony for days on end before dying of blood loss, starvation, dehydration
or exposure to the elements.”
While the decision to deactivate is commendable the university should do more. The
HSUS and PDI hope the university will take the next step and institute a formal policy
banning the use of traps and snares on university property, and adopting as a matter
of university policy nonlethal control methods, such as fencing, guard animals and
Unlike many other western states, Oregon has lax regulations governing how often
trappers must check their traps and snares to remove animals that have been caught.
Depending on the type of trap used and the species targeted, they may not have to
check the traps at all. For the type of snare used at the research facility by Wildlife
Services, trappers are permitted to wait 30 days before checking them. Animals may
struggle in the traps for days or weeks until eventually dying of blood loss, dehydration,
starvation or predation.
The OSU controversy comes on the heels of a large number of recent incidents involving
the tragic killing and maiming of family pets around Oregon after they were caught
in traps. Many of the traps were set on public lands close to trails and other sites
frequented by the recreating public.
“It’s time for comprehensive trapping reform in Oregon,” said Brooks Fahy, executive
director of Predator Defense. “Trappers, including those working for federal and
state agencies, are posing a deadly threat to our pets and wildlife, and also to
public safety. We call on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to immediately
institute new rules to safeguard the public and protect animals from the unnecessary
suffering that comes with these barbaric devices. It is patently unfair for the tiny
number of licensed trappers in this state to be allowed to endanger the people of
Oregon and the animals we love, both wild and domestic.”
A video showing a raccoon struggling to free itself from one of OSU’s traps can be
viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khCc-9ixgsE&feature=youtu.be.
The HSUS and Predator Defense, together with other Oregon-based wildlife and environmental
groups, are preparing a petition to be filed with the Commission to require trappers
to check all traps within 24 hours of setting them. The rule change would exclude
trapping for gophers, moles, and household rodents on the property owned by the person
setting the traps. The petition also seeks to require that traps be set a minimum
distance away from trails and other public facilities, and that trappers post highly
visible warning signs in the areas where the traps are set.
Media Contact: Heather Sullivan, 301.548.7778; firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection
organization – backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than
a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through
advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty
– On the web at humanesociety.org.
Founded in 1990, Predator Defense works to protect native predators and create alternatives
for people to coexist with wildlife. Our efforts take us into the field, onto America’s
public lands, to Congress, and into courtrooms-Visit us at www.predatordefense.org