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B.C. pets rank among the most numerous victims of wildlife traps

The Fur-Bearers is calling for mandatory reporting of pets being caught in wildlife traps.
Domestic pets caught in wildlife traps do not need to be reported by licensed trappers, notes The Fur-Bearers group.

Animal welfare and wildlife conservation advocacy group The Fur-Bearers says there are more reports of pets in British Columbia being caught in wildlife traps than in any other Canadian province or territory.

Over a five-year period, between 2017 and 2021, there were 56 pets in B.C. reported to have been ensnared by a trap, whereas Albertan authorities reported 30 incidents and data in Ontario was unrecorded.

However, although fur trapping is licensed, the reporting of pet animals caught in traps remains unregulated, so the group suspects the incidents to be much greater.

“Companion animals have become the collateral damage of the commercial fur trade, where indiscriminate traps are set in our communities with no warning signs for the public. Governments across Canada need to take immediate action to protect the public from the dangers of trapping,” said Aaron Hofman, The Fur-Bearers director of policy and advocacy, via a statement.

The group relied on reports to government environmental officials, via access to information requests, as well as media reports, to get an indication of the problem, which Hofman says is growing.

The available country-wide data (excluding Ontario) show there were 26 incidents in 2017, 33 in 2019 and 40 in 2021 (when B.C. accounted for 15).

“The Fur-Bearers is providing numerous recommendations for governments to make changes to trapping practices and regulations. These include mandatory signage for traps, ID tags attached to traps, mandatory setbacks in public areas, and mandatory reporting of domestic animals caught in traps.

“The Fur-Bearers is also recommending that governments implement systems to track this data and proactively publish reported incidents of domestic animals caught in traps. Many of these updates have been proposed to governments in years past; none have been implemented,” the group stated.

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