SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Leg-hold Traps

Animals in the Wild

SPCA advocates that only trapping methods that minimise the negative welfare harms caused to targeted and non-targeted animals be used for trapping.

If a leg-hold trap is used, it should be used with technologies such as remote sensing that alert an operator when an animal has been captured. If leg-hold traps are used without an alert system, then an operator should visit the trap more frequently than every twelve hours, depending upon the species targeted, the likelihood of catching a non-targeted animal, exposure to thermal extremes or inclement weather, the trap used, and its location. Non-targeted trapped animals must be released immediately after discovery. If the target species is caught and it is to be killed, the animal must be killed humanely as soon as possible. Traps should be set by a trained operated so that they do not cause further injury to the animal once captured.

SPCA opposes the manufacture, importation, sale, and use of all leg-hold traps due to the negative impacts to animal welfare they cause and the indiscriminate nature of the way in which they catch animals.

Leg-hold traps consistently rank lower as a humane method compared to other methods of control for many species, including feral cats and feral rabbits. Leg-hold traps for possums have been evaluated as causing moderate to extremely negative welfare impacts because of the injuries caused by these traps and psychological effects such as anxiety, pain, fear, or distress caused over the duration the animal is caught.

(see Trapping for more information)

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