When the New York Department of Environmental Conservation learned that one trapper had bagged a whopping seven bobcats this trapping season, they were shocked. The annual average of a successful trapper is just 1.5 bobcats per year, and this one man had beaten that average nearly five times over.
But while the Catskills-area man may have been proud of his haul, we are markedly less enthusiastic.
It is time to ban inhumane foothold and body-gripping traps in New York State.
Last trapping season, at least 145 bobcats were taken from the wild. One of the principle means of catching these beautiful big cats is by using foothold traps - cruel contraptions that snaps shut on the body of an animal when it is triggered. These atrocities catch indiscriminately, meaning they often ensnare non-target animals or even pets. No matter what animal becomes trapped, they suffer for hours or even days before they expire. Those that don't have been known to chew off their own appendages, left maimed and vulnerable.
Those unlucky enough to remain trapped and alive are killed and skinned. Their fur is used as lining for a coat, a decorative rug, or some other macabre decoration.
What's worse is that New York law only requires that these traps be checked every 24 to 48 hours. That means that a caught animal could suffer for up to two days before it is finally, mercilessly killed.
Since the early '90s, other states have taken aim at trapping altogether but specifically foothold traps - Arizona banned them in '94, Colorado did so in '97, followed by California in '98.
Allowing these types of inhumane traps is an ugly contradiction to New York's otherwise progressive values. It's time NY step up and join states like California and Arizona and end foothold trapping today.
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