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In 1995 the European Union banned the importation of wild fur products from countries using jaw-type leghold traps. Since the EU was one of the biggest importers of Canadian fur products, Canada worked quickly to have European markets open to their products again by joining Russia – and later the United States×in signing the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards. The objectives of the agreement are to facilitate and improve trade between countries while ensuring humane methods are used for trapping.
The Agreement outlines science-based standards for the trapping industry and applies to trapping for pest control, conservation, fur and food. The standards apply to 12 Canadian wild terrestrial and semi-aquatic animals: beaver, muskrat, otter, weasel, marten, fisher, raccoon, badger, coyote, wolf, lynx, and bobcat.
To ensure compliance with the Agreement, each country must implement a system to test traps. Those which meet the standards must then be certified and identified so trapping can be effectively regulated.
Certain types of both killing and restraining traps are permitted in the Agreement. Some key requirements include:
If traps do not meet standards by 2007, they will be permitted until traps have been designed that do meet standards.
Time between trapping and loss of consciousness or death for killing traps:
According to the Agreement, these times were to be evaluated after three years with the intent of decreasing the 5-minute time to 3 minutes.
Compliance with the Agreement is coordinated by the Fur Institute of Canada. Provinces and territories are responsible for the administration of the Canadian Trap Certification Program, and its regulation, in their respective jurisdictions.
While the Agreement is an important step towards humane trapping, CFHS… recognizes that the traps permitted are not as humane as they could be. Concerns include the following:
The Agreement is a good step in the right direction and CFHS… hopes that improvements will continue to be made for animal welfare in trapping.
For a chart of traps prohibited and allowed, see the government of Manitoba site here.Print this page