Trapping has been banned in over 85 countries in the world. But in the United States despite the fact that most Americans oppose its use, it is still largely protected by law with the exception of 8 states, which have prohibited or greatly reduced its use.
More than sufficient documentation proving that leg hold traps barbarically mutilate wild animals, are non-selective in what they catch, are a danger to companion animals and children. Nevertheless, countless trapping licenses are issued each year to families that not only expose their children at tender ages, to the gruesome acts, but indeed teach them to trap and kill animals as if they were mere inanimate objects.
Each year millions of animals are trapped in the wild for fur and also for penning which is a sadistic entertainment much appreciated among hunting crowds. The most common tools by fur trappers are leg hold trap, the body grip (Conibear) trap, and the wire snare. Traps used for beaver, muskrat, and mink are set in the water and are meant to kill animals rather then restrain them. It takes a beaver up to 20 minutes to die under water.
The suffering inflicted on trapped animals is intense. When the trapper decides to kill the animals on the spot, it is a blessing for the animal even when the killing is one of the most inhumane: Shooting to the head of the animal, stomping on their necks or breaking their skull with a stick. But many are dumped in cages with their open wounds and transported for many hours to be penned and finished off by dogs trained to tear fur bearing animals to pieces while still alive.
When trapped, the animal is surprised, painfully gripped and restrained alive. Not infrequently, the animal is clamped on a part of the body that is excruciatingly painful, such as on an eye, the muzzle, or the abdomen.
In an agony of pain and confusion, the animal struggles in a frenzy, often mutilating themselves, dislocating joints, breaking their teeth, chewing their leg or paw in an attempt to break free. If they succeed, the traumatized animal has scant hope for survival in the wild; death will come surely by infection, by starvation or by the animals being an easy prey to their predators. Trappers have a name for the phenomenon of animals chewing off their own extremities to escape; they call it "wring-off". To the trapper, it means they have lost a pelt.
For the animal unable to break free, death is no kinder. Exhaustion is the kindest possibility, but there are other, grimmer modes of death in the trap. The laws pertaining to checking the traps vary from place to place and most require trappers to check their traps within 72 hours. However, the law is not enforceable and many trappers do not check them regularly. An animal who does not die quickly is faced with excruciating pain and panic-filled wait while they die of a painful death by starvation and lack of water.