Great numbers of Americans who buy and wear the furs of wild animals are unaware of the enormous cruelty and suffering that goes into producing them.
These animals are caught in a steel jaw trap which holds the leg in a crushing, painful grip. So intense is the pain and terror the animals feel that they often twist or gnaw off their own legs to free themselves from their nightmarish agony. After getting free at such a cost, many of the animals later die a slow death of gangrene, or in their weakness from shock, loss of blood and infection are preyed upon by other animals.
Those that do not escape usually die slowly, suffering hunger, thirst, pain, freezing and, always, fear. They often undergo this torment for days and, sometimes, for weeks.
This is the cruel method by which most trapping of furbearers is done in our country. Although there are comparatively few full-time trappers - about 2,000,000, of whom great numbers are men and boys trapping in their spare time -trappers estimate 30,000,000 furbearers are trapped and killed annually in the United States and the total may be as high as 100,000,000. And, worse, a large proportion of trappers are schoolboys.
The suffering is not confined to wild furbearers. The steel jaw trap does not discriminate. Reports flow into the offices of The Humane Society of the United States complaining of clogs, cats, clucks, songbirds, deer, domestic stock, and valuable (often imperiled) species of animals being caught and killed. There is even the danger that small children, unattended in an unguarded moment by their parents, might step into traps and become seriously injured.
"Special Report on the Cruelties Involved in Wild Animal Trapping" (1974). Special Reports. 13.