Letter: Falling into the cute, furry animal trap

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Sir: Richard D North's well-researched article (5 December) is a most welcome contribution toward finally having a balanced debate on fur and the trapping of wild animals.

We never seem to get beyond looking after cute furry animals in far-away countries, though less than 10 per cent of wild-caught animals end up in the fur trade. Several million animals (including many fur-bearers) are trapped and killed in Europe each year, yet their plight is largely ignored. A fox trapped in France deserves to die as humanely as a furry muskrat in Canada.

One might well ask why Peta's campaign against the leghold trap ignores its use in Europe. There is no EU-wide ban on leghold traps. Toothed, steel-jawed traps (banned in Canada!) are sold in Belgium, with Germany being an important manufacturer. Steel-jawed leghold traps are also used in France, yet we see no massive advertising campaigns by animal rights and welfare groups.

With or without a fur trade, trapping will continue. It is about time that the animal welfare groups moved on from publicity gimmicks against fur and used their resources constructively by supporting research into developing the best possible traps. That would indeed represent real progress in animal welfare.