Ban Leghold Traps and Snares in Corrales, NM
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 game management.
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 return.
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
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. "All snares share the same
failing - they restrict the flow of blood back to the heart through surface
veins while the deeper arteries continue to pump blood into the foot or
head. The result is painful swelling. I quit using snares 30 some years ago.
I find 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 director: "Killing an
animal by strangling it with a wire loop often results in a slow, painful
death, sometimes lasting days... It would violate 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
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. Almost
another 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