In June 2022, Act 159 An act relating to best management practices in trapping was signed into law in Vermont. Act 159 directed the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFWD) to “modernize” trapping in the state and improve animal welfare for the thousands of beavers, fishers, otters and other animals legally trapped each year in Vermont. In January 2023, VFWD presented its Report to the Legislature including recommendations to establish “best management practices” (BMPs) including replacing trappers traps with approved BMP traps.
The effort to establish BMPs for trapping has been the work of the fur industry for decades in an effort to minimize the suffering endured by hundreds of thousands of animals that are trapped for their fur each year. Faced with global opposition to trapping, organizations like the Fur Institute of Canada and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies were established to support research into trapping methods that reduced animal suffering. Ironically, this research involves using live animals in kill-tests where animals are intentionally crushed in traps.
VFWD’s recommendations to improve trapping in Vermont include support and funding for continued BMP research into every new model of trap produced on the open market, in order to determine its efficiency in “humanely” killing animals. Current standards for BMP body-gripping traps like those used by Vermont’s Agency of Transportation and recreational trappers in state are that they must kill an animal within five minutes in 70% of the experiments conducted with the same trap.
Act 159 also instructed the Commissioner of Fish & Wildlife to come up with a budget for replacing the traps currently used by Vermont’s 400 licensed trappers with BMP traps. In their report, VFWD says, “The total cost to provide reimbursement for replacement of current systems with BMP-sanctioned trapping systems for roughly 400 trappers is estimated at between $300,000 and $400,000.”
Act 159 began as a bill to ban trapping. It has now become a state funded effort to improve the public image of trapping, including using our tax dollars to buy new traps that will continue to crush and drown wildlife and occasionally someone’s pet. If VFWD has its way with the Legislature, the biggest improvement to trapping in Vermont to come from Act 159 will be that it will pay for thousands of new body-gripping and foot-hold traps that will be legally and illegally used in Vermont.
Please contact Vermont’s Senate Committee on Natural Resources and politely let them know you do not support the use of public funds to purchase traps designed solely to kill wildlife.
Chair, Senator Christopher Bray email@example.com
Vice-Chair, Senator Anne Watson firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Dick McCormack email@example.com
Senator Mark A. MacDonald firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Becca White email@example.com
Committee Assistant Jude Newman firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, Let VFWD know you do not approve their recommended improvements to trapping in Vermont!
please email ANR.FWPublicComment@vermont.gov subject line “BMP Trapping Recommendations.”
An illegally set foot-hold trap found five feet off the D&H Trail in West Pawlet, Vermont on 01/27/23.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Response to Act 159 Report to the Legislature