Written by Alisa Mullins
It was late at night, and the
homeowner heard a cat howling in agony. He went outside to investigate and
realized that the trap that had been set by a "nuisance"-wildlife trapper
for a groundhog had snared a different victim. When Paulette Dean, the executive
director of southern Virginia's Danville Area Humane Society, got the call
about a cat in a trap, she naturally assumed that the animal was in a humane box trap normally used
to catch feral cats, but when the animal arrived at the shelter, the staffer on
duty was horrified to discover that the cat was clamped in a barbaric
body-gripping Conibear trap.
internal organs were damaged, and there was internal bleeding. So the animal
was released from pain. "There was no choice," Dean says.
Conibear traps crush animals'
necks and bodies, applying 90 pounds of pressure per square inch. Animals
caught in these traps slowly suffocate or die of internal injuries, and those
caught in water-set body-gripping traps, such as muskrats and beavers, slowly
Dean says that the shelter also receives
dogs who have been caught in steel-jaw
traps. These traps,
which clamp down on animals' legs, cause excruciating pain as they cut into the
flesh, often down to the bone. Some animals, especially mothers with babies to
feed, may try to chew off their limbs in an attempt to escape. Dean wants to see both types of cruel traps
banned in Danville.
"We believe that
no trap except a live-capture or humane trap should be used within the city
limits," she told the
local newspaper. "The
steel traps, beaver traps and bear traps may be legal, but they are not humane
and place humans and companion animals at risk. We are also concerned about the
suffering the traps cause wild animals."
You Can Do
Cruel steel traps are just one of
the many dangers faced by stray, feral, and free-roaming cats. Keep your cat
safe indoors, and urge everyone you know to do the same. Catch strays in humane box traps and take them
to an animal shelter, where they will be safe until they can be adopted or claimed
by their guardians. If you are having conflicts with wildlife, visit our wildlife page for humane
Written by Jeff Mackey
Update: In one of the
pettiest pieces of pork-barrel politics we've seen in a long time, North
Carolina state Rep. Roger West, who just so happens to be a sponsor of
Brasstown's annual New Year's Eve Possum Drop, has introduced Senate Bill 60,
also sneeringly known as "The Opossum Right-to-Work Act."
At face value, the bill appears
to be simply a way to skirt a judge's recent ruling that outlawed the cruel
event. But it's actually far more insidious than that—it would also strip other
wildlife protections and would allow wild animals to be held in captivity
for unspecified periods of time, put on display for profit or publicity, and
exploited for some unspecified "other purpose." The bill even seeks
to exempt some activities from the state's anti-cruelty law. TV icon Bob Barker
has sent a letter to members of the North Carolina Senate urging them to reject
the bill, and if you're a North Carolina resident, we hope you will do the same and get all your
neighbors to weigh in, too.
Originally posted on November 14th, 2012:
After the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC),
despite an objection from PETA, issued a made-up permit to Clay Logan to possess an opossum for his cruel annual New Year's Eve "Opossum
Drop"—in which a terrified opossum is abducted, held captive, then
suspended and lowered into a horde of boisterous revelers—at his general store
in Brasstown, PETA took the matter to court. Now
the verdict's in, and the animal with the gray fur scored a victory over the
folks with the red faces—and necks.
That's right, y'all: Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred G.
Morrison Jr. ruled in PETA's favor, finding that in North Carolina, citizens "are prohibited from capturing
and using wild animals for pets or amusement" and that the "WRC
has no authority to issue any permit to Logan for the unlawful public display
of a native wild animal at the Opossum Drop Event." As a result, the WRC may not "issue any permit or license for possessing and publicly
displaying a live opossum for use in an 'Opossum Drop' event or for any other public display of a
live opossum or other native wild animal."
Each year, several weeks prior to New Year's Eve, Logan has captured
an opossum from the wild and confined the animal before hoisting him or her high
into the air on New Year's Eve, and then, with a raucous crowd cheering and the
noise of fireworks, live music, and the firing of muskets and cannons, lowered
the frightened animal into the fray. Opossums are shy animals who are terrified
of humans—their primary predator—and vulnerable to stress-related conditions because
of captivity, including capture myopathy, which can result in death days or
even weeks after release back into the wild.
What You Can Do
Causing animals pain or distress should never be cause for
celebration. Learn more about entertainment that doesn't harm animals as well as how to live in
harmony with wildlife.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
Steel-jaw traps don't discriminate—they'll snap their sharp
metal teeth shut on the limb of anyone who is unfortunate enough to step on
them. A raccoon in Portsmouth, Virginia, was one recent victim.
The innocent raccoon was scurrying through
the grass in a quiet neighborhood when he suddenly collapsed, his body racked
with pain. As the serrated teeth of a steel-jaw trap ground into his muscles,
he began frantically trying to escape, even attempting to chew off his own limb.
But as he thrashed, he became lodged in a resident's fence.
When the homeowners discovered the grisly scene, they
immediately called both animal control and PETA. Our Community Animal Project fieldworkers rushed to the home and helped
the animal control officer gently free the suffering raccoon from the fence and
the cruel trap. The officer then whisked him back to the animal control office and
quickly ended his misery. Unfortunately, none of the neighbors knew who had set
the trap, and our fieldworkers couldn't find the culprit despite canvassing the
Steel-jaw traps are some of the cruelest and most
ineffective methods of
wildlife control in existence. PETA offers
a wealth of information on how to easily and humanely keep raccoons and other animals at bay without endangering
other wildlife, companion animals, and people.
children aren't mature enough to see nude human bodies, are they really mature
enough to see people killing for "fun"? PETA has written to the CEO
of Hudson News, Joseph DiDomizio, to request that his retail outlets handle
hunting magazines in the same way that they would handle any other material that is inappropriate
for kids: Store
them out of reach and view of minors and allow only adults over the age of 18
to purchase them.
looking at pornography could encourage kids to become sexually active, as some
child advocates suggest, what could looking at magazines that portray killing
as exciting and rewarding do to them? We know that many of the school shooters
who killed their classmates first hunted animals. As our letter to DiDomizio points
out, "Like other forms of casual or thrill violence, hunting spawns a
dangerous desensitization to the suffering of others."
most children can't fully comprehend the consequences of hunting. For animals
such as wolves, who mate for life and live in close-knit family units, hunting tears apart not only
families but also entire communities. Baby deer are often
orphaned when hunters kill their parents. And many animals who are shot by
hunters are injured but not killed, and they are left to starve, die from blood
loss, or be attacked by predators.
WH Smith magazine
retailers in Great Britain have already implemented an age restriction on the sale of hunting
magazines. Impressionable children
in the U.S. deserve the same protection.
PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) fieldworkers are out and about in Norfolk
and the surrounding communities, helping animals hurt or stranded by Hurricane
Sandy. And it's not just dogs and cats who need help. Take, for example, this unfortunate
The exhausted fella was obviously worn out after being
tossed around by the storm. A kind soul who spotted him called PETA, asking
what kind of food she could give him, convinced that nobody would be able to get
out to help the grounded bird since her street had become impassible.
Well, CAP doesn't know the meaning of the word
"impassible." When local animal control representatives said that
they weren't sure they'd be able to get out there, PETA's staffers drove through
the gusty winds and heavy rains to get this big guy and transport him to the
Virginia Beach SPCA. Our good friends there will give him the needed rehab so
that he can be released once the coast is clear.
Stay tuned for more news from the front lines. And to help
keep PETA's work for animals afloat, make a donation today.
probably not too often that a first-date conversation turns to a discussion on various
types of mousetraps, but that's exactly what happened to me.
I met my boyfriend, he was in hot pursuit of a mouse who was taste-testing her
way through his cabinets. He said he was trying to catch her in a snap trap and
wasn't having any luck. He even surmised that the mouse was so crafty that she
was not only avoiding the trap but also periodically dancing a little jig
around it while pointing and laughing hysterically. (I maintain that the mouse
was too smart for that antiquated trap.) So there we were on our first date
talking about how the snap trap could injure his dog, may not kill the mouse
(at least not instantly), and could make a big mess, and somewhere between the
salad and the risotto, he agreed to give my Humane Smart Mousetrap a try.
after, we met for date number two so that we could institute Operation Mouse
Catch. A few days, a few dates, and a few dabs of peanut butter later, the
mousier Jesse James was in custody:
took her mug shot and promptly let her go in the yard. And contrary to his
misgivings, her cabinet renegade days seem to be over. Since then, our dates
have become a little more normal, and as for the mousetrap that started it all,
my boyfriend's parents have decided to try it out for themselves to nab their
own miniature house guest. And I did a little reading on mice. Turns out, they're
a lot like us: They love to learn new things, they're very social, and they are
loving companion animals.
is Rodent Prevention Month. As we've learned, the best way to keep from having
unwanted visitors is to store food in chew-proof plastic containers, keep trash
in lidded cans, and seal off any possible entry points. Just focusing on killing a mouse or rat who comes
indoors won't work because if the area is
still appealing and accessible, another animal will simply take the first one's
many rodent traps are not only ineffective but also cruel. Animals snared in glue traps, for instance, may
languish for days before finally dying of starvation or dehydration. During
that time, the animals' skin, fur, or feathers may be ripped off as he or she
struggles to escape. And like most "kill traps" and rodent poisons,
glue traps don't discriminate: Dogs, cats, other nontarget animals—and even
small children—can be harmed by them.
Rodent Prevention Month, show mice and rats some love with a Humane Smart Mousetrap. You never know where it
I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that PETA opposes hunting. After all, it's a no-brainer: Chasing and shooting animals (with a gun or a bow
and arrow) causes terror. Mates grieve, young animals can starve when their
mothers are killed, and hunting leaves wounded
but unrecovered animals to die slowly and wretchedly from blood loss,
infection, or predation.
PETA works to end efforts
to get ever-younger kids to take up this cruel blood sport because hunting teaches
them to see other individuals as objects to exploit and "things" to kill—a
very dangerous lesson. Every school shooter has been found to have hunted, and although not every kid who hunts will go on to
gun down human beings, people who fire weapons at other living beings destroy a
piece of their own heart.
In his article for Psychology Today titled "Do
Some People Simply Like to Kill Other Animals?" Dr. Marc Bekoff offers
some thought-provoking perspectives on the mind-set of hunters as well as on their
self-deceit. Here is an excerpt:
I see no reason to kill other animals
for a meal that isn't needed. Every time I read an essay about 'ethical hunting'
it makes me reflect on a number of different and challenging issues. One that
comes up time and time again is that maybe some people simply like to kill
other animals and then offer a wide variety of excuses about their lust for
blood (consider also the unrelenting war on wildlife including the wanton killing
of wolves, the man who used a trapped wolf for target practice, and the
egregious abuse of laboratory animals including chimpanzees). I can easily
understand why some hunters offer that 'getting out in nature' or 'getting in
touch with nature' or 'having quality family time' are important to them and
that's why they hunt. But one can get closer to nature without a gun so there's
more to it at least for some people, or so it seems.
I also don't understand how some people
can deny the suffering and death(s) for which they're directly responsible. I
find that when some people say something like 'Oh, I know they suffer, but I
love my steak' it nauseates me. And when they say they love other animals and
then kill them I like to say I'm glad they don't love me.
Many people want to rewild their hearts
- reconnect with other nature - and it's incredibly easy to do without causing
any harm. So, when will the unnecessary killing stop? I hope sooner than later
because it's just not necessary to cause harm and to kill to have a healthy
meal plan. So, do some people simply enjoy killing other animals? It seems they
do or else they wouldn't do it.
Help counter the cruelty of hunting in your area: Post "No
Hunting" signs on your land and that of sympathetic neighbors and friends,
join or form a local anti-hunting group, protest organized hunts, and spread deer repellent or human hair (from barber shops)
near hunting areas. Also, before supporting any wildlife or conservation group,
make sure that it opposes hunting.
When PETA learned that a Florida man was trapping (and
perhaps killing) squirrels directly under a bird feeder, a PETA cruelty caseworker jumped into action. While
the trapping was legal under state law—which meant that Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission officials couldn't help—the squirrels suffered
for hours from the intense Florida heat and from anxiety, especially since
squirrels prefer to burrow and minimize their exposure to humans and other potential
In addition to asking Fish and Wildlife to confront the man
trapping the squirrels, the caseworker called and e-mailed the man and encouraged
one of the man's neighbors to speak to the trapper, who ultimately agreed to
stop capturing the squirrels. The neighbor was also urged to stop feeding
squirrels, which attracted more of them to the area.
There's no need to resort to drastic measures: Learn how to live in harmony with our wild-animal neighbors. Even if you enjoy wildlife, please think
carefully before feeding them, as doing so can expose them to predators and other dangers.
When this orphaned baby pigeon was brought
into a parks department office, the woman who accepted the hatchling did the right
thing and contacted animal control—but unfortunately, animal-control officers didn't
do the right thing. Although they said they'd come get the bird, they didn't
show up. So the tenacious lady made another smart move: She called PETA.
The little one was lethargic, having been without his parents
for so long, so PETA's caseworker quickly called the agency responsible for
rescue and rehabilitation for animal control and had it expedite care. You'll be glad to know that the
pigeon was successfully rehabbed. His future looks bright—or, as the caseworker
put it, "He is going to be a rock star among pigeons."
If you want to be
a rock star among pigeons (or any other animals), all you have to do is be ready to offer assistance when they're in trouble—and don't give up until they receive the help they
A PETA staffer walking to the Los
Angeles office one morning spotted an opossum sitting in the middle of the road, bleeding from her mouth. Several men were
jabbing her with sticks.
Look closely: Even when injuries
aren’t obvious, an animal may be suffering.
With the help of several coworkers, the
staffer cleared everyone from the area. Then she gathered up the opossum and
drove to the nearest animal shelter so that the injured animal could be assessed.
Shelter staff determined that the opossum was a mother carrying a pouch full of
babies and that her injuries were quite severe: Euthanasia was deemed the most merciful option for
both the mother and her babies. The staffer's speedy response saved this opossum family from being hit by
another car, being further tormented by cruel people, or suffering and slowly
dying from their injuries or from heatstroke, dehydration, or starvation.
If you spot an injured animal on the road, please don't leave
the animal to suffer. If you can safely collect the animal, transport him or
her to the nearest animal shelter or vet's office for assessment and/or euthanasia.
If you don't think that you can contain the animal, call the police or animal
control, stress the urgency of the situation, and stay with the animal until
help arrives. If all local options fail, please call PETA.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.