Open Letter: Protect the public from the trapping industry

A couple walking with their dog in winter. Photo by SeventyFour / Getty Images.

The Fur-Bearers sent the following open letter to the Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, on February 26, 2024.

Open Letter: Protect the public from the commercial fur trapping industry

Dear Premier Eby,

Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a registered charity working to protect fur-bearing animals through conservation, advocacy, research and education. We represent the interests of thousands of British Columbians.

We are drawing your attention to the story of Pearl, a guardian dog who lost her leg after being trapped for several days in the Peace River Region. Pearl was caught in a leg-hold trap set to catch wolves. Until this incident in early February, Pearl protected her family’s farm from predators; but now she has a permanent disability and is unable to defend the farm. Pearl’s traumatic experience occurred within weeks of another trapping incident near Kitimat, where a woman’s dog was caught in multiple leg-hold traps set to catch wolves on Crown land.

These incidents highlight the systemic problems in British Columbia’s commercial fur trapping industry and the failure of the province to safeguard the public from this industry’s dangers. We are appealing to your office as the Ministry of Forests has failed to introduce common sense regulations that would protect public safety from trapping. This is despite the Ministry knowing the prevalence of the problem, including 74 reported trapping incidents involving cats or dogs from 2015-2021, an average of over 10 incidents per year.

The regulations in place for the commercial trapping industry are insufficient in protecting the public, as there are significant gaps in the law that result in harms towards British Columbians and their companions. This places a liability on the province for failing to protect the public from the dangers of trapping, a provincially licensed, commercial activity.

We are calling on the province to immediately introduce regulatory changes to improve public safety and mitigate the risks caused by trapping. These include:

  • Mandatory warning signs for active trapping
  • Mandatory notification of active trapping for nearby landowners
  • Mandatory ID tags on traps
  • Mandatory reporting of trapping incidents involving domestic animals
  • Setbacks of 1,000 meters from public areas and dwellings

As a licensed activity, the province has a responsibility to protect the public from the risks of trapping. The Government of British Columbia is failing the people of British Columbia by placing the interests of the trapping industry over public safety.

Updates to trapping regulations are reasonable and long overdue. Too many cats and dogs have been maimed and killed by traps in British Columbia because of industry recklessness and government inaction. How many more pets have to lose their limbs and lives until the province takes accountability and acts?

Please respond with the steps the province will take to introduce trapping reforms and protect the public.

Sincerely,

Aaron Hofman
Director of Advocacy and Policy
The Fur-Bearers

Take Action!

Use the form below to send a letter to BC Premier David Eby, Bruce Ralston (Minister of Forests), Nathan Cullen (Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship), and your MLA. Supporters outside of Canada can contact the BC Premier at premier@gov.bc.ca.

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About Us

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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