Vermont’s Proposed Trapping “Best Management Practices” Would Still Allow Traps That Take Up to 5 Minutes to Kill

On January 15, 2023 the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife (VTFW) will report to the state Legislature on their progress to establish “best management practices that modernize trapping” and improve the welfare of wildlife taken with the use of traps. According th VTFW’s website, the process to establish these improvements was initiated June 1, 2022, and a first set of draft recommended regulation changes became available on November 22, 2022. (see below)

Most BMP approved body-gripping traps are tested via computer simulation, but final tests still require live animals according to AFWA.

In partnership with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, a pro-trapping organization that promotes best management practices in trapping through ongoing animal research on new and existing lethal traps, VTFW is proposing recommendations that would encourage the use of traps in Vermont that still take up to five minutes to kill, beavers, otters, fishers, mink and sometimes pets.

A BEAVER CAUGHT IN A BODY-GRIPPING TRAP FOR 65 SECONDS… VTFW RECOMMENDED “BMP” HUMANE TRAPS ALLOW FOR UP TO 300 SECONDS FOR AN ANIMAL TO DIE: 

“Body-gripping” styles of traps currently used in Vermont would still be allowed under VTFW’s proposed recommendations. According the AFWA’s furbearer specialist during a public presentation in South Royalton in November 2022, an improved humane lethal trap must be able to kill its victim within 300 seconds during 70% of the controlled animal tests conducted at a fur industry supported lab in Alberta, Canada. 

“Body-gripping” styles of traps currently used in Vermont would still be allowed under VTFW’s draft proposed recommendations. According the AFWA’s furbearer specialist during a public presentation in South Royalton in November 2022, an improved humane lethal trap must be able to kill its victim within 300 seconds during 70% of the controlled animal tests conducted at a fur industry supported lab in Alberta, Canada. 

According to a principal researchers conducting those controlled experiments, if a trapped animal shows signs of life after 5 minutes of being crushed in a body-gripping trap, it is euthanized. Anything less than five minutes means the trap adheres to AFWA & VTFW’s improved animal welfare standards.

VFWD Trapping BMP Draft Recommendations and Stakeholder Recommendation Synopsies

Modern trapping practices in use in Vermont include the use of body-gripping traps that take minutes to kill their victims. VTFW’s proposal is that these traps simply be placed 50 feet off of marked trails. Regardless of where they are placed, they will continue to cause unspeakable suffering to ecologically important wildlife and even Vermonters beloved dogs.

Vermont Wolf Patrol believes 5 minutes is too long for any animal to suffer in a trap in Vermont. 

Act 159 requires by law that VTFW “work with the Legislature and the Fish and Wildlife Board to establish best management practices that modernize trapping and improve the welfare of wildlife taken with the use of traps.” We do not believe VTFW’s current proposed draft recommendations to trapping in Vermont accomplished that at all. Any establishment of best management practices for trapping in Vermont should not include body-gripping traps or support for research into whether they can kill within 5 minutes.

Please contact the Chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and Vermont Fish & Wildlife and let them know you do not support the current proposed recommendations to improve trapping in the state unless they exclude the use of body-gripping traps.

To send comments to Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Christopher Bray please email: cbray@leg.state.vt.us

To send VFWD comments, please email: ANR.FWPublicComment@vermont.gov  subject line “BMP Trapping Recommendations.”

A trapper contracted by Vermont’s Agency of Transportation shows a body-gripping trap he uses to trap beaver for the state.