Trappers frequently assert that conibear-style traps kill instantly. I am sure that the trappers who make this claim sincerely believe it. But sincerity doesn’t trump the facts. Just as I criticize animal rights activists for being loose with the facts, I don’t think trappers should get a pass just because I agree with the practice of trapping.
The fact is, conibear-style traps rarely kill instantly. Now there may be plenty of times when the animal is killed quickly, say in under a few minutes. But that is a far cry from instantly, and certainly doesn’t meet the high standard of euthanasia. Furthermore, there may be situations when the trap accomplishes technical euthanasia, meaning the animal is rendered instantly unconscious before death, such as could happen when and if the jaws strike the right spot on the skull. But again, these situations are rare.
Conibear-style traps may be a more humane capture method than others for a particular situation and thus are an important tool in wildlife control and management. But it is simply wrong to claim the animals die instantly and thereby suggest that such occurrences are common. The evidence that I have seen just doesn’t support that claim. But I welcome hearing from those who have it.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest book is the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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