Steel-jaw leghold traps are nasty, cruel mechanical devices designed to grasp an animal by the leg using spring-operated metal jaws.
In their desperation to escape the pain and terror of being trapped, the captured animal will sometimes bite off the limb that has been caught.
The traps often catch unintended animals, including birds, pets, and animals of rare species.
Trappers kill millions of animals every year, but many of those animals were unintentionally trapped. They’re often refered to as “trash” animals because their fur isn’t worth any money.
About 100 countries – excluding the United States, Canada and Russia – have so far banned the use of leghold traps on the grounds that they are inhumane and indiscriminate. Britain (where they are called gin traps) was one of the first countries to outlaw them in the 1950’s, and the European Union banned steel-jaw leghold traps in 1995.
There is ample scientific evidence to show that even if an innocent animal survives the trapping, it often ends up with damaged tendons or ligaments in its efforts to escape. Trapped animals suffer from torsion injuries, fractures, soft tissue damage and other limb injuries. Innocent animals caught by mistake often have to be euthanized as a result.