Under the Agreement for International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) trade agreement, Conibear-type traps are certified for use to catch and kill (within 300 seconds) beavers. We are regularly told that properly set, these devices will not endanger other animals and provide a quick, “humane” death.
The images captured by a Hamilton-area hiker prove that statement wrong.
In two traps set for beavers, an at-risk (special concern status) Snapping Turtle was caught and injured and a muskrat was caught – and clearly held by the tail until he drowned.
The trap was likely in a foot of water – as it did not close on the muskrat’s neck and spine, as designed, the poor animal was probably held just out of reach of the surface. For an indeterminate amount of time, that muskrat reached and grasped for air. It would only have been once total exhaustion set in that he eventually succumbed.
Online commentators stated that a large Conibear-trap would have killed the muskrat instantly; a review of the images shows that this assumption is wrong. Another commentator stated that ‘occasional’ non-target catch is inevitable. We agree – and the only way to prevent it is to end the cruel practice of trapping.
WARNING: Graphic Images
Photos provided by Alice Willems