Washington, D.C. A bill in the U.S. House that would eliminate
steel-jawed leghold traps is now backed by a long list of sponsors,
but has come under attack from some sportmen’s groups.
The bill, introduced in March by Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., would make
it illegal “to import, export, or transport in interstate commerce
any article of fur, if any part or portion of such article is
derived from an animal that was trapped in a conventional
steel-jawed leghold trap.”
It also prohibits sale or acquisition of leghold traps, and
defines penalties for violating leghold trap laws. In addition, it
provides rewards for those who provide information leading to the
arrest of people in violation of leghold trap laws.
Two years ago, a bill that would’ve banned leghold trap and neck
snare use on national wildlife refuges was eventually killed by a
Senate-House conference committee. The trapping ban was passed by
the House, but voted down by the Senate, prior to the conference
House support is strong again regarding this trapping
restriction. Currently, there are more than 80 co-sponsors in the
House, including Minnesota Democrat Bill Luther.
Another Minnesotan who supports the legislation, Gil Gutnecht,
R-1st, defended his position in the latest edition of the Minnesota
Trappers Association News.
“H.R. 1187 also empowers law enforcement officials to detain,
search, and seize suspected merchandise and to make arrests with
and without warrants,” Gutnecht writes in a letter to the
“While experts from the Fish and Wildlife Service and the
(Minnesota) Department of Natural Resources argue that steel-jawed
leghold traps are an important tool,” he says, “I believe that
these traps should only be set by licensed experts. For both humane
and wildlife management reasons, we should enforce restrictions on
A House official said earlier this week that the bill “probably
won’t go far,” since the bill isn’t tied to a funding source or a
specific government agency. It likely would have to be passed
outright, by itself.
The Wildlife Legislative Fund of America also is moving to block
the bill. According to the WLFA, 14 of the bill’s cosponsors are
members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and seven are
members of the House Resources Committee.
To speak to your legislator regarding the issue, call (202)