Senator Dawn Addiego has signed on as a co-prime sponsor of a resolution (SCR-175) opposing the New Jersey Fish and Game Council’s proposal to allow the use of enclosed foothold traps, as the new policy is in violation of the plain language and legislative intent of a 1984 New Jersey law banning animal steel-jaw leghold traps and similar types.
Household pets such as cats can become ensnared in foothold traps. (Flickr)
“These traps can snare household pets as well as local wildlife, causing serious injury, trauma and death,” said Senator Addiego. “The 1984 legislation is absolute and unambiguous in its intention to protect animals languishing in this type of trap.”
The resolution follows an announcement by the New Jersey Fish and Game Council that amendments to the 2015-2016 Game Code would legalize the use of exclusionary foothold traps, designed to clamp down on an animal’s leg as it reaches for the bait. These traps are almost identical to those banned in 1984, causing severe pain, fractures, lacerations, infection and amputations, according to a report by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI). Household pets, raccoons, and other wildlife caught in the traps often die of exposure to the elements or fall victim to predators.
The AWI noted that box traps, which have been used by New Jersey fur trappers since the 1984 ban, cause significantly less trauma and pain, protecting the animals from predators and exposure. Even without the use of steel-jawed leghold traps, New Jersey fur trappers continue to generate $576, 000 per year by using box traps, according to a report by the Asbury Park Press.
Under SCR-175, the Fish and Game Council would have 30 days from the signing of the resolution to amend or withdraw the proposed rules or regulations. If the Council fails to do so, the Legislature could exercise its Constitutional authority to invalidate the policy, ensuring that the traps are kept out of New Jersey.
Nearly 118,400 individuals have signed an online petition urging New Jersey legislators to stop the Fish and Game Council’s policy in its tracks. The resolution was introduced by Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) this June. The bill is also co-sponsored by Senate Republican Christopher “Kip” Bateman.