Do Canadians believe trapping is humane?

A western coyote (Canis latrans) in a winter landscape.
Photo by wsebastian / Getty Images

Traps are known to cause tremendous pain and suffering to the animals who become trapped in them. Yet Canadians sometimes see narratives from the fur industry, governments, researchers, and companies that refer to traps as being “humane”. Are Canadians buying it?

In a recent example, The Fur-Bearers spoke out about the use of leg-hold traps and neck snares to capture coyotes in Stanley Park as part of a UBC research study. UBC and the research team have defended the use of these traps by stating that the trapping methods used in this study are humane. This perspective isn’t shared with the public, as most Canadians firmly reject the notion that these traps are humane.

A "soft-catch" padded leg-hold trap. Photo by Jenni Rempel

In 2023, The Fur-Bearers commissioned a national survey on Canadians’ attitudes towards various practices involving animals, including traps. The survey, conducted by independent polling firm, Research Co., provides important insight into what the public believes when it comes to trapping.

The survey found that the majority of Canadians disagreed with trapping methods commonly characterized as “humane”. Below are the results from the survey regarding the use of various trapping methods:

  • Killing traps (Conibears, killing neck snares): 67% of Canadians disagreed that killing traps are humane; 23% agreed; 10% unsure
  • Restraining traps (leg-holds, cuff/egg-style traps): 67% of Canadians disagreed that restraining traps are humane; 23% agreed; 10% unsure
  • Drowning animals (some traps are placed underwater to drown semi-aquatic animals like beavers and muskrats): 79% of Canadians disagreed that drowning animals is humane; 15% agreed; 6% unsure

These results demonstrate a disconnect between what is sometimes stated about trapping and what most Canadians actually believe. To read more about the results from this survey and a deeper look into the “humane” narratives around trapping, read our article published in Faunalytics: What Does ‘Humane’ Actually Mean?

Watch Trapped in the Past and Take Action!

Have you seen Episode 1 of Trapped in the Past yet? This 3-part documentary series, created by Exposed Wildlife Conservancy in partnership with The Fur-Bearers, exposes the harsh realities of the North American trapping industry.

Episode 1: The Truth About Snares examines the use of killing neck snares in Canada. Click here to watch the first episode and take action by using the one-click form on the webpage.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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