Mr. Harry Staven, Administrator
Village of Corrales
PO Box 707
Corrales, NM 87048
January 25, 2004
Dear Mr. Staven:
Wildlife Watch, Inc. is an animal protection organization
that seeks to educate the public about the mismanagement of
wildlife by state and federal wildlife agencies, and the destruction
of wildlife and ecosystems in the name of sport hunting and
It has come to our attention that the City Council
of Corrales is considering a ban on the use of leghold traps
and snares within the city limits, due to reports of coyotes
suffering from trap-related injuries including mutilated paws
and broken bones. As an organization that represents the views
of over two-thousand wildlife advocates in New Mexico, we strongly
and respectfully urge the Council to pass the proposed ordinance
The most widely used device in the New Mexican
trappers' basket is the steel jaw leghold trap. This trap is
deemed inhumane by the American Veterinary Medical Association
(AVMA), and has been banned in over 88 countries and several
U.S. states. Its use has been known to cause broken bones, torn
tendons and skin lacerations in the animals unfortunate enough
to fall victim to its deadly steel jaws. Victims of these traps
are not limited to the species that the trapper is looking to
kill. Legally placed traps designed to attract other animals
have trapped companion dogs and cats, and endangered and threatened
species. Given the indiscriminate nature of trapping, no trapper
can prevent such occurrences from happening.
Animals such as raccoons have been known to gnaw
off their feet to escape the clutches of these barbaric devices,
often breaking off their teeth as they bite at the steel jaws
that hold with a vise-like grip. The animals who do manage to
gnaw off their feet and escape will often fall victim to infections
or predators who take advantage of their crippling injuries.
If an animal is unable to free herself from the trap, she is
shot, bludgeoned or strangled to death by the trapper upon his
Snares are arguably more cruel that the aforementioned
leghold traps and a plethora of wildlife experts have voiced
their opinions against these devices. Among those experts,
Dr. Paul Paquet, Professor at the University of Calgary, is adamantly
opposed to using snares to trap black bears. "(I have)
captured more than 1000 black bears, so am familiar with
trapping. Leaving bears in snares for any length of time
is cruel enough.
Prolonging the torture knowingly is inhumane."
Doctor Lynn Rogers, a Wildlife Research Biologist
with 35 years experience working in government, academia,
and private nonprofit organizations is also against the use of
snares share the same failing - they restrict the flow of
blood back to the heart through surface veins while the deeper
continue to pump blood into the foot or head. The result
is painful swelling. I quit using snares 30 some years ago. I
it just unbelievable that any state would condone recreational
snaring with all that is known about modern wildlife management."
In addition, Chuck Hulsey, one of Maine's seven
regional wildlife biologists recently wrote to his bureau
an animal by strangling it with a wire loop often results
in a slow, painful death, sometimes lasting days... It would
state humane laws to treat a domestic dog in the same manner."
Lastly, Wally Jakubas, Maine Department of Inland
Fisheries and Wildlife Agency's top mammal scientist became
concerned when he noticed a large proportion of snared coyote
carcasses with grotesquely swollen heads - "jellyheads," the
snarers call them. When the snare doesn't close sufficiently,
it constricts the jugular vein on the outside of the neck, cutting
off blood returning to the heart; meanwhile, the carotid artery
keeps pumping blood into the brain, eventually rupturing its
vascular system. In a memo to his supervisor, Jakubas wrote: "I
think it is also safe to say that [this] is an unpleasant death.
Anyone who has had a migraine knows what it feels like to have
swollen blood vessels in the head. To have blood vessels burst
because of pressure must be excruciating." Almost a
third of the animals Jakubas looked at were jellyheads.
third had been clubbed or shot, indicating that, contrary
to department claims, the snares hadn't killed them quickly.
Clearly, cruel and inhumane devices such as leghold
traps and snares have no place in modern wildlife management.
On behalf of our members and supports, we respectfully urge
you to do what is necessary to prohibit the use of these traps
as soon as possible.
CC: Mayor Gary Kanin
Councilor Walter Lucero
Councilor Laurie Rivera
Councilor Melanie Scholer
Councilor Benjamin Schwartz
Sadly, this vote was lost.