'Unethical': Call to ban device after animals found in 'agony'

·News and Video Producer
·3-min read

Foothold traps should be banned immediately, say animal welfare groups left angered by images showing a snared animals in distress.

RSPCA Queensland inspectors were called to a property north of Brisbane on Wednesday to attend to a cat with its foot clamped between padded, steel jaws.

Video from inside a veterinary surgery where the cat, named Harry Styles, received urgent care captures staff saying he was “in agony”.

Close up of cat with trap on its foot.
The RSPCA has called foothold traps "inhumane" after a cat was found "in agony". Source: RSPCA Queensland

With Harry now recovering in the care of the RSPCA, spokesperson Michael Beatty said the charity wants to see foothold traps banned.

“Even though they're soft-jawed traps, they can inflict quite a lot of damage on the animal, so it can be a very painful injury, as was obviously the case with this particular cat,” he said.

“If you think of yourself for a moment, and there was a larger trap that could catch humans, you can just imagine what sort of pain you could be in.

"Then being left there for days without any assistance.”

An RSPCA staff member holds the trap towards the camera
Traps could pose a risk to children and wildlife, the RSPCA warns. Source: RSPCA Queensland

Mr Beatty said along with the direct pain of the clamped jaws around their foot, animals can be left unable to reach water or food for hours, or even days if traps are not checked regularly.

Children, wildlife and pets are all at risk of being injured by the “inhumane” devices the RSPCA has warned, adding that cat owners should ensure their animals do not roam to prevent them coming to harm.

RSPCA calls for review of state trapping laws

Foothold traps are legal in all Australian states except for Tasmania, with some jurisdictions requiring they be checked every 24 hours.

Queensland and Western Australia are the only two states which permit the use of both padded traps and steel jaw traps.

Left - the trap moments after it was removed. Right - Harry Styles the cat lying down after having the trap removed.
Harry Styles had the trap removed by vets and he is now in care. Source: RSPCA QLD

RSPCA Queensland said an upcoming review of the state’s Animal Care and Protection Act should include a review of their use.

Activists outraged after dingoes snared by traps

Traps are commonly used on regional properties to snare dingoes, which although considered native to Australia, are targeted because they can attack sheep.

Images shared to Facebook showing three dingoes caught in traps, with one appearing to be howling in pain, caused outrage amongst animal welfare advocates this month.

Sources have indicated the native animals, which farmers often refer to as “wild dogs”, were killed within 12 hours of having been trapped on a NSW sheep farm.

Two images of dingoes caught in foothold traps.
Images of dingoes caught in traps shared to social media caused outrage online. Source: Supplied

NSW requires traps to be inspected every 24-hours, but Animal Justice Party’s Mark Pearson believes this is an unacceptable period of time for an animal to have its foot crushed.

“All the time that clamp on its leg is just digging deeper and deeper into the already traumatised flesh, tendons and bone,” he said.

“It's completely unethical to cause that kind of acute and chronic pain and distress to an animal, be it wild, be it unwanted, be it wanted.”

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Call for humane alternative to foothold traps

Mr Pearson argues that any “reasonable person off the street” forced to watch a trapped animal for 24 hours would not see the practice as “reasonable or ethical”.

“We have we have been trapping, poisoning fumigating, suffocating, crushing animals that are considered unwanted for 180 years and landholders are still saying they’re a major problem,” he said.

“Therefore, we have to look at the methods that have been used and realise they're not working.

“If it's deemed that it's necessary to reduce a number of animals, then the best way to do that is a sterilisation program.”

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