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What is trapping law?

Trapping laws regulate the trapping of animals for the purposes of fur, food, conservation and pest control.

Such laws are mandated to ensure the humane trappings of animals, although it has been recognized that even the traps used under the regulations are not as humane as they could be.

One of the reasons that Canada has set out strict guidelines for trapping is because it is party to the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards.

Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards

Canada is one of the biggest exporters of fur to the European Union. However, the European Union banned fur from countries using jaw-type leg hold traps in 1995. After the banning of these traps, Canada quickly joined the agreement in order to continue having a trade relationship with the EU where it concerned fur.

As a result, Canada agreed to abide by certain standards, such as certain types of restraining and killing traps which include the following stipulations:

  • That at least 80 % of trapped animals must not show any signs of poor welfare;
  • Steel-jawed leg hold traps are forbidden but other leg hold traps, such as padded and offset traps, are permitted;
  • Power and common neck snares are forbidden with the exception of them being underwater;
  • Body grip traps were permitted until June 2007;
  • Traditional wooden deadfall traps are permitted.

There are also standards that outline the time permitted between trapping and loss of consciousness or death of animals caught in traps.

The Fur Institute of Canada ensures that there is compliance with the agreement by the provinces and territories but provinces and territories are themselves responsible for the administration of the Canadian Trap certification program, jurisdictional issues and regulations.

What are the laws around trapping?

Every province or territory sets out their own trapping laws although they have to follow the guidelines set by the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards.

For example, British Columbia has set out its own rules, regulations and standards for trappings under such headings as: trapping near a dwelling or on private property, removal of edible portions and hide, bait for trap lines, and collared, implanted or ear-tagged furbearing animals.

In the 2018-2020 Trapping Synopsis, published in 2018, the British Columbia government reaffirmed its commitment to the international agreement and its intention to comply with its requirements: ‘In order to comply with the Agreement, BC has made numerous regulatory changes and will make further regulatory changes to ensure that only certified traps will be legal for those species listed in the AIHTS.’

Other provinces and territories also have specific rules, regulations and laws around trapping while adhering to the international agreements.

To learn more about the rules and regulations for trapping, you should consult the applicable act for your province or territory.

Read more:

Trapping standards

AIHTS - Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards