Animal trapping, or simply trapping, is the use of a device to catch an animal. Animals may be trapped for a variety of purposes, including food, wildlife management, hunting and pest control. Each year, over 5 million wild animals, including coyotes, foxes and bobcats, are caught and killed in wild traps, mainly in the US, Canada and Russia, although trapping does occur in other countries too on a smaller scale. Traps are indiscriminate, catching the first animal to step on them. Countless dogs and cats, deer, birds and other animals—including threatened and endangered animals—are also injured and killed each year by the traps. Trap checking times range from once every 24 hours to once every 14 days. The regulations on trapping are weak and extremely difficult to enforce, which means untold amounts of animal suffering goes undocumented and uninvestigated.
Many animals die trying to free themselves, next to dehydration, blood loss and hypothermia. Often animals become so desperate, they resort to chewing or wringing off their own trapped limb in order to escape, breaking teeth and bones in the process. Some may die from blood loss or shock but most animals will be trapped for days before the trapper returns to kill them.
There are many kinds. For a deadfall trap, a trapper digs a deep hole in the ground and hides it so the animal falls in the hole and can not get out. A snare is a noose that tightens around the neck or other part of the animal.
Over 100 countries, including the EU and China, have prohibited the use of the steel-jaw leghold trap. But in the United States, steel-jaw traps are not only legal, they are the go-to tool for trappers who capture and kill millions of wild animals a year for the global fur market. In September 2019, California became the first state in the US to ban trapping for commercial and recreational purpose.