Group calls for the banning of animal snares

Mitch MacDonald
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Animal Justice executive director Camille Labchuk, right, and Atlantic Canada representative Elizabeth Schoales look over trapping regulations outlined in P.E.I.’s Wildlife Conservation Act following a meeting with Environment Minister Robert Mitchell on Monday.

A national animal rights group is aiming to make trapping in P.E.I. a practice of the past.

Camille Labchuk, a lawyer and executive director of the non-profit Animal Justice, said the group is pushing the provincial government to ban trapping and snaring on the grounds of being inhumane.

Labchuk and Elizabeth Schoales, Atlantic Canada representative for Animal Justice, met with Environment Minister Robert Mitchell, who is also responsible for wildlife, Monday afternoon for nearly an hour.

This year has seen some public outcry over trapping regulations after several incidents of pets being caught in snares.

However, Labchuk said the practice is cruel towards all wildlife and should be abandoned completely.

"It really is unacceptable in our modern society," said Labchuk. "It's heartbreaking... animals suffer painful injuries and die slowly."

While there was no resolution from the meeting, Labchuck said she and Schoales were glad to bring the issue to the forefront and will continue to pressure government.

"They know we're here to stay," said Schoales, who was also prepared with a list of trapping guidelines from the province's Wildlife Conservation Act.

Apart from the chance of family pets getting accidentally trapped, the two said that currently accepted snares can still see a wild animal stay alive for up to five minutes after being caught.

"And that's what is accepted," said Labchuk. "It's extremely inhumane."

P.E.I. has an active snaring season for coyote and foxes from the middle of November to the end of January.

While trappers can get permission to use private land, current regulations state that trappers must have baited snares on public land at least 300 metres away from the nearest home.

There were about 130 licensed trappers in P.E.I. this season, a number which is on the decline due to the low price of furs.

Mitchell said the issue has come to light during the past two months after several incidents of family pets being caught in traps around Christmas.

One of those incidents created a buzz of public reaction after a pet dog was killed in a baited snare in Riverdale on Boxing Day.

In early December, another dog died after being snared in Murray River.

He said Monday's meeting went well and that he believes any future regulations would come from a collaborative approach between the department, trappers and the public.

While Labchuk and Schoales were looking for a complete ban, Mitchell said department officials are already looking at possibly changing current regulations since the Boxing Day incident.

"To ensure they're as strong as they could be and need to be," said Mitchell. "I've asked them to look at other jurisdictions to make sure there's nothing else being done that we could implement. And, of course, they're looking at any access issues."

Mitchell said he expects to hear back from those department officials with recommendations within three to four months.

"Trapping on P.E.I. is very heavily regulated at this point in time," said Mitchell. "(Trappers) certainly don't want any conflict with pet owners .... Those situations are extremely unfortunate so we're looking at anything we can do to improve the situation.

In the meantime, Labchuk encouraged others to let the province know how they feel on the issue.

"Keep up the pressure and tell government we need to ban this."


Geographic location: P.E.I., Atlantic Canada, Murray River

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Recent comments

  • Penny Bunnell
    February 16, 2016 - 16:59

    Trapping and snaring of animals (not live trapping) is cruel and inhumane. Just like dog fighting, bull fighting etc. We as an advanced society need to except change and realize cruel patterns should be put in the past.

    • Squirrel
      March 01, 2016 - 13:53

      You guys really need to do some research be for you go after trappers and trapping, you have no idea why we do it and how it is done. You think it is inhumane? Did you ever watch a coyote kill a rabbit? Ripping them apart while there still screaming. And for people that say snares choke the animal out and suffocate them,they actually cut the blood flow from getting to there head and they pass out technically when it is done right. There are more pets killed from coyotes then the snares we are setting for the things killing your pets. Thank you for your time.

  • Sandra Reeves
    February 11, 2016 - 08:42

    I cannot believe we still have to deal with these issues. A true human disgrace.

  • david
    February 10, 2016 - 21:59

    A few tree huggers and people who can't follow the rules about keeping your dog on leash when NOT on your own property and we should end an industry right. It is obvious Labchuk like her mother will be chasing causes that don't need to be chased or changed. If people keep their dogs on the leashs when NOT on their own property this would never have happened.

  • Mike Mouse
    February 10, 2016 - 21:47

    I agree snaring is not a humane way to kill animals also do we really need to trap animals? Thank some unnameable deity these worry warts didn't have the audience they have today, they would have protested the railway, cars and the transCanada highway instead of pipelines, wait they did, Let's hope they don't get a foot hold.

  • April
    February 10, 2016 - 21:27

    Contact environment minister Robert mitchell at or call him 902 620 3646. Maybe send him some photos or videos of those innocent animals in those traps. These women are the kind of people who take time to iniate change. This would take a lot of courage and we need to support them. They did all the leg work, all we have to do is send an email. Anyone who agrees with trapping, I would be interested in knowing why you support it and how it's worth the animals suffering.

  • caringgal
    February 10, 2016 - 19:43

    I agree's terrible for any animal to suffer this way.It should be banned asap!!!

  • Jeff
    February 10, 2016 - 19:42

    Ban trapping but make abortion o.k. seems like the unborn would like the same protection maybe.

    February 10, 2016 - 18:47

    In particular it is sad to see the rails to trails being used to trap and kill wild animals . No one , especially children , need to see dead animals drug out of the woods while they are enjoying an otherwise lovely day on the trail . Puts a dent in the usual restaurant stop too , not much of an appetite after that .

  • You
    February 10, 2016 - 16:59

    "It really is unacceptable in our modern society," said Labchuk. "It's heartbreaking... animals suffer painful injuries and die slowly." This is how most millennials expect to go.

  • RJ
    February 10, 2016 - 14:36

    Agree 100%.

  • Concerned
    February 10, 2016 - 13:28

    I think we need a ban on groups trying to ban snaring....

    • Ty Savoy
      February 10, 2016 - 17:57

      Or maybe what we need is a ban on homocentricity. There is no hierarchy, there's no set rules in nature that says human animal lives are all that matter, and that we can do as we like to all the rest of the animals, 'Give a monkey a brain and he'll swear he's the center of the universe.'

  • Fur
    February 10, 2016 - 11:32

    Nope disagree ...trapping should be left alone. keep your pets on a leash and there should be no problems.

  • Unrealistic demands
    February 10, 2016 - 09:50

    More animals aren killed by motor vehicles than ACCIDENTLY killed by traps/ we ban automobiles also?? Hunting and trapping has been a part of human existence for thousands of years.One way of dealing with snares is to post a sign that snares are in the area.A complete ban seems fairly drastic then again you have to look who is dictating ,I mean promoting it.

    • April
      February 10, 2016 - 14:11

      Yes we have had hunting and trapping for years but it is no longer necessary. So why do it? For fun? For fur? Are the lives of innocent wildlife not worth more than that?

  • April
    February 10, 2016 - 09:38

    I agree trapping is inhumane and should be banned completely. There is no longer a need to trap these animals. How someone could do this is absolutely heartbreaking. The article should contain contact information for those who want to voice their opinions.

    • Ty Savoy
      February 10, 2016 - 17:52

      I agree with you 100% April. Like Justin said, this is 2016. Trapping and snaring animals and allowing them to die prolonged, cruel deaths --- this is just wrong. Dogs and cats are protected from cruelty by legislation. But other animals, not so much. Camille Labchuk, Elizabeth Schoales and Animal Justice are absolute heroes for speaking up for the ones who have no voice. I came across a snared animal one time, a pine martin, in the woods. It isn't something I will ever forget. He/she was going crazy, trying in vain to escape. There was no telling how long they had been trapped like that, how many hours, how many days. There is a very good reason why the price for a fur is down so low right now -- people aren't buying them.... the market is speaking. People still do some very sick and cruel things to animals these days, and get away with it. Shame on us for allowing it to continue.