Today, California became the first state in the union to outlaw animal trapping for pelts. The new law banning the cruel practice was signed into effect by Governor Gavin Newsom. The legislation was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego.
The Wild Animal Protection Act, which bans trapping animals for fur commercially or recreationally on both public and private lands, is by and large an expansion on an earlier piece of legislation that outlawed the trapping of bobcats.
In 2013, it was discovered that trappers were snaring, killing, and skinning bobcats in Joshua Tree and selling their pelts to fur markets overseas.
While animal trapping for fur was once a major industry in California, it has dwindled in recent decades. Still, the practice is brutal as wild animals can suffer for hours or even days in traps. They are ultimately killed by being strangled, shot, or beaten to death. Undercover video taken by activists have shown animals trying to chew off their own limbs to escape the pain of being caught in traps. More than 1,500 wild animals in California were killed by trapping in 2017.
Historically, trapping is also largely responsible for the local extinction of California’s wolves and wolverines. It also contributed to the massive declines in populations of sea otters, beavers, and other fur-bearing animals.
California is currently considering other animal protection bills, including a ban on the sale of fur throughout the state and outlawing the use of wild animals in all circuses.