Trapping continues to occur in all parts of Canada (and around the world) for many reasons:
- to protect natural habitat, farmland, roads and other property from wildlife damage;
- for disease control (such as rabies or beaver fever);
- to maintain or improve biodiversity of both animals and plants;
- to protect vulnerable species from over-abundant predators or competing species;
- for public safety;
- to safely remove wildlife in urban and suburban areas;
- for reintroducing species to their historical territories;
- for conservation research;
- for environmental and wildlife monitoring;
- for furs and food.
Trapping would continue to occur whether or not the fur and meat is used.
1. Animals, such as raccoon, skunk, coyote and other species are typically nocturnal and difficult to locate so traditional hunting methods cannot be used. Trapping is often the only practical way to capture them.
2. Furbearers can cause flood damage, harm livestock and pets, spread disease such as rabies and increase risks to human health, all of which lead to significant costs for taxpayers and property owners. Trapping is an important wildlife management option used to prevent or to stop such damage and risks. While a variety of options currently exist for dealing with problem wildlife, such as poisons, altering wildlife environments or introducing predators, in many cases trapping animals can be the most effective and sustainable option for maintaining biodiversity and protecting property.
Regulated seasonal fur trapping is a consistent way to manage populations at no cost to taxpayers. Trapping fees and royalties paid by fur trappers also contribute to government revenues, helping to offset tax dollars needed to fund government conservation efforts. Without fur trapping, municipal and provincial taxes would have to be raised significantly to pay professional licensed trappers for wildlife control services, and to cover damage claims and more costly alternative management methods.
Properly conducted, trapping has immediate results in reducing over-populations and the lingering animal suffering that can result from hunger or disease. While alternatives such as chemical birth control or vaccination baits can be effective in certain circumstances they can also take several seasons to have effect.
For some species, such as raccoons, trapping is preferred over catch-and-release relocation programs. Such programs often lead to starvation for relocated animals unfamiliar with their new surroundings or create nuisance problems in the relocation areas. Catch and release also increases the risk of spreading wildlife diseases. It is for these reasons that in some Canadian jurisdictions it is illegal to relocate wild animals outside their immediate territory, making it impossible to effectively remove problematic animals.
Wildlife management programs that include selective commercial trapping can help to reduce the need for wasteful ‘pest’ trapping. For example, while several European countries no longer permit trapping animals for their fur, trapping for other purposes still occurs. European countries collectively trap five times more wild fur animals, such as muskrats, for ‘nuisance’ or ‘pest’ control than Canadian trappers do for fur. Unfortunately, these animals are not allowed to be used and are disposed of as waste.